Downtown housing surge continues

Dayton Daily News (OH), 2014-08-17


Aug. 17 -- Downtown Dayton's hot housing market shows no signs of cooling off, with already half of the Patterson Place townhomes and Rubicon Square condos sold, according to homebuilder Charlie Simms .

Strong demand for urban living should result in the remaining townhomes and condos selling out either later this year or early 2015, said Simms, the owner of Charles Simms Development , which developed both projects.

Simms acknowledged he is considering several sites for another downtown housing project within six months to a year. More downtown residential real estate is in the pipeline and could materialize soon.

"These (units) are going go sell out soon, and we'll need another site," Simms said. "We plan to build downtown as long as the demand is there, and I think long term, it's going to be there for the next 20, 30 or 40 years."

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said the city has been working with Simms to help identify locations that fits his building needs.

"Charlie was the first one in," Whaley said. "They've been successful in that model, so we want to continue that model."

The Rubicon Square condo project near the University of Dayton broke ground in 2012. Since then, buyers have scooped up eight of the 14 condos. Simms said he believes the rest will purchased before the end of this year.

The groundbreaking for the 31 Patterson Place townhouses took place in June 2013 .

Eleven units were presold in 2013. Five more sold this year.

Some one-bedroom units are available immediately. Two-bedroom units will become available in the fall. The homes, which are reminiscent of 19th-century brownstones, are being built near East First Street and Patterson Boulevard .

The housing development is wedged into a 1-acre plot next to the colorful Litehouse homes. To the south of the development are the Cooper Place homes.

Across First Street , to the north, are the Patterson Square brick townhomes, which Simms also built.

The 18 Patterson Square units sold out just a little more than a year after the project broke ground. Simms said that was the first major signal that downtown housing was highly desired.

Simms said the ballpark district is an increasingly attractive place to live because of infrastructure improvements and other development projects that have better linked it to the Historic Oregon District .

"It makes perfect sense for housing to be coming back to the urban cores all across the country because the infrastructure is all there," Simms said. "It's too expensive to build new now."

Optimism about downtown housing continues to build.

The McCormick housing units at 434 E. First St. by Fifth Third Field are being turned into condos, said Steve Sebolt , a Realtor with Sibcy Cline Realtors who is the listing agent for the properties.

Two of the condos have contracts that are ready to close, and three other condos are actively listed, Sebolt said. The five other rental units will be converted sometime after the tenants move out or their leases terminate.

Sebolt said people have latched onto traditional housing products available downtown produced by well-known builders, such as the brick townhomes. But also he said there is a strong market for urban lofts and condos that provide open living spaces.

Sebolt said downtown's diversity of housing options, both for sale and rent, appeal to a wide range of people.

"There's a pretty good-sized market of people wanting to buy and people wanting to rent and people just wanting to live downtown," he said.

More housing projects are proposed or about to get underway.

Within the next two months, developers hope to break ground on the residential component of the $33 million Water Street project, located near Fifth Third Field, off Monument Avenue , said Shelley Dickstein , Dayton's assistant city manager.

The project will create 215 rental units in two buildings, slated for completion in August 2015 , she said.

Developers increased the number of units based on interest and demand for downtown living, officials said.

"Our housing market has maintained its mid-90 percent occupancy over the last five to seven years," Dickstein said.

A Kentucky -based developer wants to create about 40 rental units by restoring and adaptively reusing an old manufacturing facility at 210 Wayne Ave. The developer's larger plan is to build new structures and create an active-lifestyle district that builds on the success of the Oregon District .

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