Multimillion dollar makeover of Dayton Convention Center begins

DAYTON — Local leaders are celebrating the start of a multimillion dollar makeover at the Dayton Convention Center.

In March 2021, News Center 7 previously reported that the city estimated the convention center needed as much as $28 million worth of improvement.

Officials with the Montgomery County Convention Facilities Authority said thanks to inflation that price tag is now around $35 to $40 million.

The convention center takes up an entire city block, but there are sections of the 49 year old building that have seen better days.

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“We believe at some point in time in the future, you’re all going to be very proud of the facility that will be created here,” Walter Reynolds, Montgomery County Convention Facilities Authority chair of the board said.

Last year, the city of Dayton said it could not afford the tens of millions of dollars worth of needed improvements.

Selling the convention center was its best option.

The buyer was a new, independent public body -- the Montgomery County Convention Facilities Authority.

The MCCFA will oversee construction.

Previously, the city said the convention center needed a partial roof replacement and a new heating and air condition system. Leaders say new escalators are also among some of the new improvements.

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“Infrastructure is about 40 percent of the project,” Pam Plageman, president and chief executive officer of MCCFA said.

The project will not impact city of Dayton or Montgomery County sales or property taxes.

Instead, leaders came up with a plan that added an additional three percent hotel room sales tax in Montgomery County.

People who work near the convention center said they are excited to see the improvements.

Lisa Wagner with Levitt Pavilion hopes it will anchor revitalization for part of downtown.

“. It’s that ripple effect which also brings a lot of people and foot traffic downtown and helps business owners. So I think when you’re looking at the bigger picture, it was the right thing to do for the investment,” Wagner said.

Phase one of construction has already started. The MCFAA expect the first phase to wrap up in the summer of 2024.

They said the expect two to three phases of construction, with the other two not being as expensive as the first.

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