DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The former Lotz Paper building on Third Street has been brought back to life as a new hub for businesses and restaurants.
The building is now known as The Avant-Garde. It is located at 607 E. Third Street next to the The Steam Plant.
The building itself is more than 100 years old. The renovations take advantage of the building’s original wood floors, exposed brick walls and a top floor with 30 foot ceilings.
The first tenant to move into the building was a computer science research and development company known as Tangram Flex. The company moved into a nearly 7,000 square-foot space on the fifth floor of the building.
JJR Solutions occupies the third and fourth floor of the building.
According to their website: the company supports government and private clients through a variety of technologies, the best project and business management services.
The company gives a space for growing businesses to plan, meet, and collaborate. The spaces are designed to encourage fun and creative brainstorming while also being a functional office.
The office space takes full advantage of the historical aspects of the building. Exposed brick, pipes, wood flooring, and archways are used throughout.
According to building officials, the building was once used as part of a coffee bean business before becoming a paper company. In their space, JJR Solutions found the old chute used to transport beans to the levels below.
Instead of tearing the chute out, the company transformed that chute into a slide that gives employees and guests the opportunity to slide down from the fourth floor to the third.
Images of that slide, game areas, and more can be found in the photo gallery below:
JJR Solutions chief operating officer Carly Cox said that moving to downtown Dayton was an important decision for the company.
“We have a passion for Dayton,” Cox said. “We really wanted to be part of the downtown revitalization. We wanted to be down here, involved and giving back to the community, but also doing business from a renovated building.”
Roughly two years prior to moving in, the company came to visit the vacant building, and said the space was a “disaster” before moving in. Moda4, the design firm behind the renovation, convinced the company that the space could be completely redone.
“I think what I love most about this space is how much of the old we were able to use again,” Cox said. “They were able to use a lot of the old in unique ways. They built desk and tables for us with old flooring. I think it’s really cool to keep that history.”
In the WDTN.com Web Exclusive below, view a full walk-through of the JJR Solutions third floor:
The second level is a new office for Business Furniture. The company plans to open the office in the upcoming weeks.
The company specializes in decorating and redesigning spaces to create positive workflow from new businesses.
The first floor will be occupied by the upcoming Sueno.
Sueno is a high-end authentic Mexican restaurant set to open in the fall.
The Avant-Garde building is the result of almost 16 months of work from Moda4 Design.
The company is responsible for a string of projects that have grown in the downtown area including the upcoming Dayton Arcade and The Steam Plant.
The company said that being a part of helping Dayton businesses grow has been a major part of their mission. They continue to plan renovations of upcoming business spaces in the area and have been a major part of growing downtown Dayton as the “innovation district.”
Moda4’s founder and principal architect Jason Sheets said that working in historical spaces like the Dayton Arcade and The Avant-Garde are a passion for his firm.
“We do specialize in adaptive reuse enviornment and historic projects,” Sheets said. “Every project we walk into, it just shouts at you. You couldn’t recreate this within a realistic budget anymore.”
For growing businesses, retaining talent and attracting new clientele is key. Moda4 believes that creating new workspaces in historical areas helps make the areas more appealing. Modern workspaces in a growing business area help attract even more new businesses and growth.
“Dayton has a lot of young talent,” Sheets said. “For the longest time we’d see that talent leave the area. That tide is turning now. You can see the evolution in the spaces we’re doing and the development we’re doing.”
Four of the five businesses operating in The Avante-Garde have held open houses for their spaces.
Upcoming businesses like Sueno are expected to announce more information and details in the near future.