DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Construction on the old Dayton Arcade building is well underway, and as Phase I is moving along, the City of Dayton is working on financing Phase II.

“The collection of the arcade buildings is the most beloved collection of buildings in the region,” touts Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein.

Wednesday city leaders announced the continuation of the development agreement for the arcade.

“The New Community Authority is a quasi-governing body put in place that allows us to fund part of the community benefits agreement, which is the process of some of those services in the arcade going out into our neighborhoods, and it also allows us to — it’s a revenue generating structure so it helps support the sustainability of the development project,” explains Dickstein.

Phase I is underway with the restoration of the rotunda, as well as low income apartments, an innovation hub, and an artist center. The city is working on leasing right now.

“It’s generated a great deal of excitement from the folks who have personal connections to the folks who had never stepped into the arcade until it was open for some of those events,” describes Dickstein. “When we had the last downtown housing event before it got under construction, for two hours plus, there were people in the line that almost went halfway around the block at one point in time to just go in and see the rotunda.”

Bustling with activity in a past life, city officials are hoping to bring some of that life back. The arcade shuttered its doors 28 years ago. Five years ago, a task force formed to re-purposed the building.

Legislation, property tax incentives, and energy improvements helped the city get there.

“There’s been a lot of activity, and the developer team is focused right now on the retail/restaurant space,” states Dickstein.

Leaders hope the revitalization will bring an energy and connectivity that downtown hasn’t seen in years.

“It has been a barrier or a separating vacancy between north and south downtown really, because it is a whole block almost of darkness that will come to life, and that should provide a lot of energy in that area of downtown,” says Dickstein.

The city is hoping to be finished with Phase I between July and September of 2020. They hope by that time, Phase II will be financed and underway.