Imported from Dayton? An arcade exposition?

Fact: no one knows what to do with the Arcade.

Reality: no one knows how great this city is.

Let’s steal a few ideas- mash them up- and show some pride.

First- let’s gather up one each of everything we make in Dayton. Because everything doesn’t really come from China, the United States is still the world’s leading manufacturer.

Then- let’s take a straight shot through the Arcade- and  forget about the areas that need work- and just build a glass observation wall for the dome- and line it with an exhibit of “Made in Dayton” products- from Buckeye Vodka to Dayton Wire Wheels to the Las-Stik Gitum cloth (the longest continuous part number in the GM catalog) etc. Make it so you can even buy some of the things- like the vodka and Mike Sells potato chips.

Make sure there is free parking for those coming to the exhibit- with well marked signs.

Inspirations for this post:

Made in NYC

SF Made

The Future of Manufacturing is local

We’ve got enough monuments in this town to what we did- let’s have one to what we do.


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15 Responses

  1. Gary April 3, 2011 / 12:11 pm

    Didn’t two brothers buy the Arcade a couple of years ago?  What are they going to do w/ it?  I liked it the way in was in the late 90’s with Charlie’s Crab, B.P. Goggs and many other restaurants, etc.
    The rotunda was nice, too!  Since the economy is picking up some, I think it would be worth the business risk to remodel it back to future!  Hope the brothers read this!

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  2. Thomas April 3, 2011 / 12:24 pm

    I always liked the Arcade back in the late 80s, before moving away – where I remember Dayton as a VERY different place than it is now. What IS happening with that place?

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  3. truddick April 3, 2011 / 12:31 pm

    Three observations:

    (1) If you don’t fix up the entire arcade–or at least the first floor/basement/rotunda area–then the building isn’t really a showcase and anyone going in to see Dayton Made will be impressed by shabbiness.  Moreover, the HVAC would be prohibitive without improved insulation–and it would be impossible to heat/cool only a section of the place (glassed-in rotunda?  I’m no architectural engineer but I’m skeptical) without some major renovations.

    (2) If visitors have to walk past a lot of boarded-up spaces with “this space available” painted on, it will suggest that another thing Dayton makes is downtown vacancies–an impression that, given present conditions, will be reinforced by seeing the rest of downtown.

    (3) If the goal is to increase tourism (a worthy one), or to promote Dayton as a place of business, or both–then there needs to be enough dollars not only to make the place classy but to market it well.  I’m thinking back to the Centennial of Flight celebration, which pretty much died due to neglect of advertising and a generally cheapskate approach.

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  4. David Esrati April 3, 2011 / 2:24 pm

    @Ruddick- go take another shot of liquid negativity.

    I was proposing a straight shot- from Third to Fourth- not including the rotunda-but having a glass observation area-

    the spaces on the Third Street Side aren’t in bad shape- and back toward Fourth temp walls- and some paint solve the problem. As to HVAC- We’re talking a corridor- it’s not any harder to do than the 2nd Street market- with one long- inflatable duct or two.

    The ownership- it was purchased by a German developer and his partner. As to status- I think the recession has set them back a bit in their plans- plus getting to meet the locals with attitudes like Truddick- has probably taken the wind out of their sails.

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  5. Jeff Dziwulski April 3, 2011 / 3:38 pm

    Sort of like a trade show of sorts?

    The NYC and San Francisco things are interesting.   Pushing manufacturing in places we usually think don’t have it anymore.   Dayton is probably in better shape than we think when it comes to small and mid-range manufacturing still going on here.

    I’m burned out on the Arcade.  Ultimately it’s going to Sheriff sale. Again.   Not sure what happens after a Sheriff sale and no bidders.  I can see maybe some bidders who would buy the site on-spec.  Not because of the property but because its downtown. 

    But, yeah, the Arcade.  Its like a very big version of the Ecki Building, (or you name your favorite vacant retail or industrial buidling).  Another fragment of obsolete building stock. 

    The paradox is it costs too much to fix up (and wheres the market for what you put in it) and it costs too much to tear down.  Maybe if things start falling off the Commercial Buidling onto passersby then a safety issue will drive a push to demolish.

    I bet, when push comes to shove, the incessant whines and handwringing from local officialdom of “no money” will be forgotten, and they will find the money.  To demolish it.

    As for Sturtz and Berg.  The guys from Wisconsin who bought the place.  I feel sorry for them.  They didn’t know what they were buying INTO, not that they didn’t know WHAT they were buying.   What they bought was something nice, something that would be a treasure in any other city.   But this isn’t any other city.  This is Dayton, and that’s that.  Fini.

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  6. Barbara April 3, 2011 / 8:18 pm

    We just spend our first weekend in Cleveland.  The Hyatt Hotel in the Arcade there is amazing.  That’s my wish for our Arcade.  Perhaps even enough room for your idea, too.

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  7. Bob from the Boro April 4, 2011 / 6:47 am

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  8. Allison April 4, 2011 / 8:05 am

    I stayed at the Hyatt at the Arcade in Cleveland last August. The concept is genius.

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  9. Bruce Kettelle April 4, 2011 / 11:50 am

    To all the above that say tear it down I suggest you try to use your energy to promote new energetic ideas. In this day and age it is far too easy to say no new taxes, smaller government, or tear it down. The hard work is building things up. The future can be an exciting place if you take the time to be a visionary.

    Suggesting it will take too much public money to turn it around is like saying we shouldn’t pitch in for Riverscape of 5th/3rd Field before we’ve heard the plans.

    Please keep an open mind.

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  10. Gary April 4, 2011 / 12:10 pm

    Correction: Yes, it was the mid- to latter-80s when Charley’s Crab and B.P. Goggs were there, not the late 90s … I worked for Goggs (the owener’s name was Goggins), but we had to close shop because he was over his head w/ expenses and overhead …
    But people, please, Dayton is never going to be an Atlanta nor a Chicago, nor a Cleveland–but it would be cool to see the Arcade rennovated again–not only the big glass front, but the entire inside–it can happen, if only some rich folks would invest!
    I’d be willing to pay a little more city taxes, we only have to pay around 2% now, which is nothing compared to income and sales taxes (7%) we pay Washington, DC–although I’m not a taxman so I could be mistaken.

    The Arcade was mostly a day gig, I don’t think many folks would come down at night unless there was a nightclub in there and better parking–unless CareSource would share theirs (parking garage), they owe Dayton big time!

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  11. Donald Phillips April 4, 2011 / 12:43 pm

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  12. Bunch April 4, 2011 / 1:24 pm

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  13. David Esrati April 4, 2011 / 2:28 pm

    I don’t claim this proposal as a savior of the city- or the arcade- just something fun, quick- easy- not too expensive.

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  14. Nathan April 5, 2011 / 10:44 am

    I believe what Dayton needs is a squad of “Tactical Urbanists”.  The article below illustrates how depressed/vacant areas were transformed with some creative ideas and very little money.  This allows a city/developer to “test drive” an idea/concept without spending tons of money.  Seems to me, this would be the perfect thing for the Arcade.  We have a tech startup campus down the street, a hacker startup is taking shape, why not let some artists, chefs, or other creative types with something to sell take up space in the Arcade?  Which, I think what David was stating in his post?  

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  15. David Esrati April 5, 2011 / 11:49 am

    @Nathan- nice link.

    I think UpDayton and Generation Dayton are already on this track with “Activated Spaces”

    I’ve talked about food trucks- and block parties- and other ways to engage people in a vital downtown.

    We do it at Urban Nights- John Drake did it with his boxing in the street Fight Night-

    Why does everything have to be so well planned in this town?

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