Dayton leaders look to breathe life into vacant buildings

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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A new restaurant is getting ready to open in the Oregon District and business leaders say it’s part of a growing trend.

What were once empty storefronts are being revamped into active spaces.

In 2014 the central business district, which includes Key Bank, and the Schuster Center, saw a 12 percent increase in building occupation.

This year, Downtown Dayton Partnership president, Sandy Gudorf says to expect more shops to pop up.

“Most of that activity are locally owned, homegrown businesses that decided they want to be a part of this downtown revitalization” said Gudorf.

One of those new places to come includes a diner going in at the corner of 5th Street and Wayne Avenue. Owner Natalie Skilliter is calling it Corner Kitchen and hopes to officially open the doors in July.

“We’re calling ourselves a ‘finer-diner’, so we’re serving comfortable dishes that updated and sophisticated” said Skilliter.

Skilliter says its the perfect middle between the districts fine and casual dining scene .

Investors have put in more than $400,000,000 into our downtown since 2010. Another $200,000,000 is coming down the pipeline for new projects.

But that is not all.

“Dayton Beer Co. just opened last month, Warped Wing, Toxic and others – The Barrel House” said Gudorf.

Plus, Snap Fitness, The Water Street project and speciality shops like Sew Dayton.

“We are almost completely out of space in the Oregon District” said Gudorf.

Space is limited for residents too. The downtown apartment market occupancy rate is the highest in the region, more than 96 percent.

Which is why the old Hughes Supply Building is being refurbished into housing.

“Residents will be very pleased as to the progress that we’re making” said Gudorf.

Mayor Nan Whaley has a team working to figure out how to utilize the block long arcade building.

Also, River Run, an outdoor recreation area, is set to get started this summer.

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