Historic Wright Dunbar District in Dayton plots next project

There’s still opportunity – just not much – for business owners and investors to enter an historic Dayton business district booming with development.

Erica Hubler, director of real estate and property management of Wright Dunbar Inc., said the next project to bring another chance to join the district will likely be the Marietta Flats Building at 1148 W. Third St.

The three-story building hasn’t seen any activity since probably the 1980s, Hubler said. It was last a pawn shop. The building has eight apartments on its top floor and two retail spaces on the first floor.

Wright Dunbar has restored the windows on the second and third floors, as well as the attic that faces Third Street. The door to the apartments also has been replaced.

“The apartments are really important for Wright Dunbar Inc.,” Hubler said.

The one-bedroom apartments are about 800 square feet and will be market rate.

“It’s stepping back in time,” Hubler said. “You walk in and it’s 20-foot ceilings, the windows, the mantles on the fireplaces, jack-and-jill bathrooms with clawfoot tubs.”

The first step for this project will be finding tenants for the first floor, which has been undergoing interior work for about two years, and then turn to renovating the apartments.

Hubler recently met with CityWide Development Corp. to get a better understanding of First Floor funding and how it may benefit Wright Dunbar’s tenants as well as Wright Dunbar, Inc.

“If we had tenants for the first floor, they could get funding and we could get funding,” she said.

The purpose of the First Floor Fund is to activate storefronts in vacant or underutilized spaces along neighborhood, commercial corridors and the Greater Dayton Area. For more information and/or to apply go here.

Two business owners with plans for spaces on West Third Street have applied for the First Floor Fund. Anthony Thomas is opening a yet-to-be-named restaurant and speakeasy, and Philip Morgan is opening Morgan’s Fine Cuisine.

Thomas already owns Taco Street Co. in W. Social Tap & Table, and just marked the official grand opening of Lux Barber Lounge that he and his son own. The lounge is across the street from W. Social.

Wright Dunbar is low on inventory Hubler said, but the Midget Theater at 1019 W. Third St., is still available for purchase. The building has an apartment on the second floor.

Hubler also said the owner of the Chase Bank Building, 1158 W. Third St., would like to reactivate the second floor of the building, but wants to have a tenant before doing so. She said the space looks like the set of “Mad Men,” complete with marble floors, mahogany, and seated walls.

“It’s beautiful,” she said.

The activity in the district includes the opening of W. Social Tap & Table at 1100 W. Third St., which bills itself as a “six-restaurant collective as well as a bar.”

The Wright Dunbar Business District is recognized by the National Register of Historic Places for its historical significance and is located west of downtown Dayton. It is best known as the home of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Orville and Wilbur Wright.

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