Ballpark Village now stealing tenants from Downtown

Someone in City Hall must have flunked basic math. Spending money to move jobs from one office tower to a new office building doesn’t equal more revenue. In fact, all it does is piss off the property owners of the tower- who have been dutifully paying the Downtown Dayton Partnership a tax premium to help retain jobs downtown.

Now, it seems the City is going to spend millions to move Thompson Hine out of the Mead tower and out of the Special Improvement District- to a new building, to be built where a perfectly good building is already standing.

Someone needs a reality check.

Law firm intends to lease space at Ballpark Village
The law firm said it is the largest tenant to agree to take office space at the development.

By March 2009, the firm would occupy the entire top floor of a new office building at Ballpark Village. The firm would also occupy part of the floor immediately below, taking a total of 45,489 square feet.

That building will have five to seven floors, depending on commitments from tenants, Curry said. The village will offer firm employees free parking and views of the Great Miami River and Fifth Third Field, home of the Dayton Dragons, he said.

The move also means Thompson Hine will leave the former MeadWestvaco Tower — recently renamed 10 West 2nd Tower — which the firm has called home since 1976.

But Curry said the firm remains committed to downtown Dayton and to the clients it serves.

“We are proud to be a leading tenant in this exciting new development and hope this will serve as a catalyst to attract other businesses to downtown,” Curry said.

Ballpark Village is a 300,000-square-foot mixed use complex that will feature entertainment, retail, office and housing. The office building will be the development’s first project.

In June, the Dayton City Commission secured one property needed for Ballpark Village, with a $3 million option-to-buy the Dayton Career Academy on Corridor Drive from the Dayton City School District. Then in September, the city snagged a second option to buy the Woolpert Building on Monument Avenue from Dayton Office Properties LLC.

Of course, when 2 of the commissioners are running unopposed, they must feel like they can do whatever they want. If I was the owners of 10 West 2nd Tower- I’d be suing for my Downtown Dayton Partnership money back – at a minimum.

We already have too much office space- and too many vacant homes in Dayton. Why should we build Ball Park Village?

How about adaptive reuse of the old Delco plants- currently owned by Mendelsons? How about investing some of that 3 million in services- like the DDP Clean and Safe program- instead of charging a premium SID tax?

Or- how about 3 million into a Sportsplex for everyone in Dayton- not just the uber rich?

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14 Responses

  1. PhotoJim October 4, 2007 / 8:05 am
    David – Out of all the law firms in town, Thompson Hine is by far the most “political.” There is always much more than meets the eye as far as this firm is concerned. Besides, do lawyers really provide a positive economic impact to any community ???

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  2. gene October 4, 2007 / 9:40 am
    At least they are not planning on a move to say – CENTERVILLE. Maybe they already have offices there.

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  3. Bruce Kettelle October 4, 2007 / 9:45 am
    Business retention is just as (or possibly more) important than new business attraction.

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  4. Phillip Ranly October 4, 2007 / 10:58 am
    Exactly, at least they’re staying. And is it not possible that the energy and momentum created by BPV and Brown St. will eventually overflow into the rest of downtown?

    Let’s just say for argument’s sake that BPV isn’t needed. Is it not possible though that it’s needed for perception? The city is becoming progressive and back with its biggest development ever! Developer’s have enough faith in downtown that they think something this big can actually work! What’s going to happen when suburban people start hanging around before and after Dragon’s games? Mindsets slowly start to change. That classic negative Daytonian thinking may start to become positive. It’s pretty desolate around the stadium now, but that can change.

    Your headline almost sounds as bad as one straight from the DDN.

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  5. PhotoJim October 4, 2007 / 11:56 am
    Not to worry Gene. I will not be staying in Centerville too much longer. In fact, I will be moving in the very near future. But not to Dayton or any of the other suburbs. I’m outta here, so that should make you happy. I’ve finally had my fill of the gossipy, nonsensical garbage that goes on around here.

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  6. David Esrati October 4, 2007 / 2:58 pm

    Phillip-
    If it’s needed- the private sector can fund it.
    If we’re looking for things to attract people downtown- and keep jobs, and make it a point of pride- Sportsplex is for everyone- not just law firms and baseball team owners.
    Retention of business comes with great services- and great amenities- like white water parks, bmx tracks, ice rinks, softball fields, etc.
    Not with competing with the private sector.
    Ask Hara arena how they feel about the Nutter Center stealing the Dayton Bombers from them?
    And PhotoJim- that’s the saddest thing I’ve heard. I’ll miss having you around.

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  7. Phillip Ranly October 4, 2007 / 3:56 pm
    I’m cool with the idea of the sports center but it doesn’t attract everyone. I doubt I would step foot in it—I’m just not a sports kinda guy.

    Undoubtedly, I feel the benefits of BPV are greater than they really are but I think the same might be said of your idea of the sports center. Both good ideas, but not going to turn the city around on a dime.

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  8. David Esrati October 4, 2007 / 4:46 pm

    Phillip-
    As to a “sports center”- you can also think of it as a park-
    which is what we have now- only with a lot more going on.
    Have you ever been to Venice Beach? The walkway by the basketball courts, volley ball courts, beach, outdoor weight room- becomes a huge gathering place- with street vendors, musicians, etc.
    It’s about making a place where people go to play- people watch, hang out- relax.
    BPV is about trying to compete with things that are already done- The Greene- and downtown- I want to add to the mix- not duplicate.

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  9. Brad October 4, 2007 / 5:04 pm
    Just wanted to put my two cents in….

    True, it’s unfortunate that 10 W Second is losing Thompson Hine. That tower is pretty dark and dreary these days. But I’ve gotta agree with those on here who say that it’s better than losing them to the suburbs. For god’s sake, we’re all sick enough of the “leaving downtown” headlines in the paper. And I absolutely think that if BPV goes through, it will spur additional good things for downtown. People will come downtown more often, and stay longer. If we don’t build on the single biggest strength we have in terms of bringing suburbanites downtown (the Dragons) then we’re nuts.

    Sorry David, but an entertainment/bar/resaurant/riverfront/shopping area appeals to a wider audience than a Sportsplex.

    I personally live on the outskirts of the city limits, but go downtown all the time. Am I gonna call up my buddies from Beavercreek and say “hey lets go get some food, go to the Dragons game and hit a few bars afterward” or say “hey lets go play some raquetball.” ?????? Think financial impact to the City of Dayton and downtown……

    I hope BPV happens, and happens quickly, and happens in a big way. And then we all go out and watch them implode The Greene.

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  10. gene October 4, 2007 / 6:13 pm
    The Greene won’t implode…… but it would hurt them a bit. The BPV thing will attract Daytonians – especially from the East and North side. MANY MANY MANY actual Daytonians don’t go to The Greene – it is too expensive, among other things.

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  11. Pedro October 5, 2007 / 8:14 am
    Gene, what do you base your Greene assesment on? I see all kinds of ‘Belmont’ folks at the Greene. It is closer to the lower-east-side than any other mall and gives parents a completely secure place to let their kids roam while they shop, eat, ect. I also see a whole lot of C-J, Carroll, St. Anthony, ICS t-shirts and hoodies amongst the young kids. Admittedly not empirical data, but no one can ever give anything more than anecdotal evidence when bashing the Greene. I wouldn’t paint with a broad brush for all areas of Dayton.

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  12. Jeff October 5, 2007 / 12:25 pm
    “David – Out of all the law firms in town, Thompson Hine is by far the most “political.” There is always much more than meets the eye as far as this firm is concerned.”

    Sounds like this might be why they made the move. The city needed a prospective tenant to help the deal move forward? Just speculating….

    $$$$$

    There is a similar discussion in Cinicnnati around the Banks (a big riverfront development), with downtown business interests concerned that proposed higher densitys would cannibalize downtown.

    In Dayton’s case what is there downtown to cannibalize? I am curious who or what kind of business is left in the office buildings.

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  13. David Esrati October 5, 2007 / 12:59 pm

    I just was reminded of a plan that was 5 years old- private sector- to build an office building and a garage over on the corner by the Riverside Bridge- across from Riverscape.
    Dayton Hydraulic (owner of the Woolpert building) was ready to invest- the hang-up was Gail Littlejohn and the DPS. Even though they were building the new career academy on the West Side- they didn’t want to part with the current building (with its deed restriction) for a reasonable amount- which included free rent as long as they wanted.
    I’ll have all the details and the drawings before long.

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  14. John Ise October 6, 2007 / 2:03 pm
    It seems to me there’s a coulple of unknowns that will determine if this is a good move for downtown or not. First, whether in the absence of BallPark Village, the law firm would probably have relocated out of downtown, not wanting to be the line tenant in the Mead Tower. Second, will BallPark Village act as a catalyst for more development (a big “if” in a weaker market like Dayton)? Certainly a couple of hundren extra yuppies with steady income living at Deeds Point would be a good thing for downtown. Finally why can’t there be Ball Park Village and Sportsplex and more services? Get it all if you can.

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