Reynolds bails on downtown

Sprawl will kill us all.

In the final act of a three act play, orchestrated by corporate chieftains and played out by foolish bureaucrats, the series of tax breaks and “development deals” finalizes with the CEOs laughing- and the taxpayers not getting what they were promised.

Reynolds & Reynolds used to be entirely in Dayton. Then a rift between then CEO Dave Holmes and then Dayton Mayor Mike Turner started Holmes on a shopping trip for a new location. Kettering offered a great deal- and Reynolds first spun off “Relizon” (now “WorkflowOne”) to Kettering- then got a deal from Dayton to move them back to the old Sears location across from Riverscape (2 tax break deals and counting) – then the deal with Dayton Public Schools to buy the HQ and the buildings on Washington Street (Deal three) so that they could then move everything to Kettering. The city begs- and gets a bone thrown to them- the former Elder Beerman store will become the TAC- funded by CityWide (Deal four)- only for Reynolds to now bail on location- figuring that paying lower income taxes in Kettering- not having to deal with parking- or the City is cheaper than staying the course. 400 jobs move out- and the city stands with yet another empty building with almost new class A space (maybe CareSource will sublet it- if their building isn’t done on time).

Reynolds and Reynolds Co. told Dayton city officials Wednesday morning that it is leaving downtown Dayton, moving 400 jobs to its campus in Kettering.

The company intends to relocate its Technical Assistance Center (TAC) operations from leased space in downtown Dayton to the Reynolds and Reynolds headquarters at the Research Park in Kettering.

The move will occur gradually during the next several months. Dayton city officials did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The move will bring the total number of employees working in Kettering to about 1,500….

In February, Steve Budd, CityWide president, said that Reynolds still has 11 years left on its lease at Courthouse Crossing and would more than likely try to sublease it if it decided to move operations to Kettering.

Otherwise, Reynolds would have to continue to pay for the space, Budd said.

“It’s the energy the employees project that makes the downtown vibrant,” Budd said. “If they were not in the space, that would have repercussions.”…

Courthouse Crossing is owned by New York-based ACG Equities LLC, which bought it from CityWide Development Corp. in 2004 for $16.2 million dollars.

CityWide still manages the property, which also houses a CVS Pharmacy, the United States Postal Service, Boston Stoker and Roly Poly sandwich shop.

Reynolds to move 400 jobs out of downtown – Dayton Business Journal:.

The zinger on this story- maybe if the City had spent as much time and money on the basics: schools, streets, safety, recreation- and found ways to live on less than the 2.25% income tax- maybe companies would want to locate in Dayton.

An architect/builder told me long ago- “you can’t build anything good on a bad foundation.”

Dayton’s problems aren’t going to be solved by “economic development”- they’ll be solved when we take care of the basics better. It’s time to shut the slush-fund CityWide Development down, and work on doing government 101.

Reynolds & Reynolds TAC: 2001?-2008 R.I.P.

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46 Comments on "Reynolds bails on downtown"

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David E. Bowman

I can’t believe that this is just being reported. I thought this has been common knowledge for months. I have known about it for at least 6 months.

You think this is bad? Just wait until they move the company to Texas.


David, could you give us some background on the descion to relocate to suburbia. I recall R&R spent did a good job restoring the buildings on Ludlow and Fifth, and then did that R&R job It looked like they were committed to staying downtown (esp with Holmes being a booster behind Riverscape)

So the trend looked like to stay in the city for this company. Was it Holmes who pushed the relocation or was it his sucessor, becuase I find it tough to believe that it would be the CEO who was making decisions beneficial to downtown (both with his company & with his work on Riverscape) to do such an about-face.

David Esrati
David Esrati

There was a blood feud between Turner and Holmes. Holmes backed Capizzi big in his run against Turner. I’m not sure what made the whole thing turn- but, it wasn’t pretty.
Holmes was also the power that put the “Kids first” team into office- the same people that overpaid for the Reynolds HQ.
None of this hurt Reynolds in the smallest way- they made out like bandits.
Someday someone will break the whole story. I wish I knew more.


It never ends with downtown.

Greg Hunter
Greg Hunter

I would swear it was a backroom deal to break DPS and the City. I can still see Gail Littlejohn and Phil Parker sitting in his office and one can only assume the Chamber got the 2001 levy passed so DPS could overpay for the buildings. I am beginning to think the Paul Leonard was only good politician ever to be elected in the history of Dayton.


Paul Leonard screwed up too, with the Arcade.

Historically there are political figures who would have been good mayors but where defeated at the polls.

Pat Roach (ran against Leonard)(this was well before my time, but Roach seemed to really “get” things that are current nowadays, like stopping sprawl and mass transit, among other things).

Tony Cappizi (ran against Turner)

David Bonhart (ran against McLin)

David Esrati
David Esrati

re: Paul Leonard: and you can’t forget the Arcade tower boondoggle- where the “architectural review board” stopped the arcade tower so Danis could be first with what was the CitFed tower- now the 5/3rd tower.


Back to this R&R move.

Note that they say R&R has to pay on a 10 year lease so theres’ incentive for R&R to find a tenant.

Unless ACG/Citywide gives them a break and lets them out of the lease? (that would look too fishy, though).

greg hunter
greg hunter

Thanks for the history lesson. Now I have no hope :(

Donal Phillips
Donal Phillips

But those are low-paying jobs, as I cited (edited by esrati- since donal is a poser).Commedy. We need more never-open-for-business art galleries. Notice how they’ve “livened” things up in the BoringAgain District.


Downtown tries their absolute hardest to make it a pain in the ass to relocate there – I know of a business trying to do so know and they just make it hard. I am sure they pissed off R&R, or perhaps it made better business sense to move them to Kettering. Either way Downtown has an obligation to do it best to attract and keep businesses, yet they do a bad job of this.

This is not 1950 – we need to understand that the suburbs are in competition for business relocation, plain and simple. Kettering vs Dayton, Mont Co. vs Greene County, Miami Valley vs Greater Cleveland, etc. These are the facts, they will not change, they can not change, so therefore the ideas and thoughts that surround any Downtown need to change.

We keep wanting businesses Downtown, yet they rarely relocate in such areas. Ask yourself why, and be honest, and then you will realize that the ‘burbs are friendlier, safer, more positive, have more parking, the city government is easier to get along with, has nothing to do with shity schools, etc. We need to rethink what a small Midwest Downtown is in 2008.


“Sprawl will kill us all.”

What does this mean? At some point we must consider that places like Kettering are no longer sprawl. This is an established city with old homes and everyting else that makes this place no longer “sprawl.”

Also, it seems to me people that are building new places out in the “Springboros of the world” are really happy and doing really well. It will not kill them. It may hurt a Downtown and may hurt Dayton, but the sprawlers seem to be happy, have money, and have no real interest in a Center City/Downtown. Sprawl will not kill us all, but just kill downtowns. That is why we need a new idea of what downtown should/could be. Downtown can go bye-bye, and the “Sprawled” areas will be just fine.

BTW David, you own a business. Why not locate it in the Central Business District if you are so Pro-relocation. Is it a money thing?

Greg Hunter
Greg Hunter
What does this mean? At some point we must consider that places like Kettering are no longer sprawl. This is an established city with old homes and everyting else that makes this place no longer “sprawl.” The question is whether sprawl is sustainable in a resource constrained environment. My contention is that it will not be, but hey Gene give it shot. While theoretically suburbanites could start gardens and have chickens to support some of their nutritional requirements, I just do not see it happening as people like you Gene do not get the seriousness of the situation and our leaders (except for Jimmy Carter) are just now coming clean. Let’s quote Henry Paulsen “Producers, unfortunately, have not made the investments necessary to keep pace with this growing demand. Because production capacity and investment has been curtailed over the last decade, supply now barely offsets declining production in older fields, let alone meets new demand.” Sprawl= Urban sprawl, also known as suburban sprawl, is the spreading of a city and its suburbs over rural land at the fringe of an urban area.[1] Residents of sprawling neighborhoods tend to live in single-family homes and commute by automobile to work. Low population density is an indicator of sprawl. Urban planners emphasize the qualitative aspects of sprawl such as the lack of transportation options and pedestrian friendly neighborhoods. Conservationists tend to focus on the actual amount of land that has been urbanized by sprawl.[1] The term urban sprawl generally has negative connotations due to the health and environmental issues that sprawl creates.[2] Residents of sprawling neighborhoods tend to emit more pollution per person and suffer more traffic fatalities.[3][4] Sprawl is controversial, with supporters claiming that consumers prefer lower density neighborhoods and that sprawl does not necessarily increase traffic.[5] Sprawl is also linked with increased obesity since walking and bicycling are not viable commuting options.[6] Sprawl negatively impacts land and water quantity and quality and may be linked to a decline in social capital.[4] Now if you put sprawl with increased energy costs; the ability for the average Kettering family to earn a living,… Read more »
David Esrati
David Esrati

Gene- I am in Downtown- it’s just our “visionary leaders” define “Downtown” in a way that is stupidly small.
I walk farther in NYC for a bagel than what we call “Downtown”

Why do you have to drive to every location in Kettering. Most live within walking distance to most everything they need. Why not make areas like Kettering and centerville leaders in new age/green transportation. Your thinking may be limiting area like Kettering and Centerville. The FACT is these places are not going away. I can understand not wanting NEW areas to grow and keep building, but Kettering and Centerville are no longer NEW, therefore we should be looking for ways to maximize their potential. We say SPRAWL is bad – but where the hell do you want to put all of these people. We currently have no real housing in Dayton. Why would people like my parents want to live in Dayton when they have a Half a million dollar house, which is bought and paid for, in Centerville? Why would they want to live on top of other people? The fact is the areas that we live in are somewhat needed to sustain our current population. We should have a some control of sprawl, but when you say Kettering and centerville are still sprawl, well, I have to disagree. We have a lot of people. We need these areas. People like a little bit of land. Is that a crime? They can afford it. The city of Dayton needs to court property investors to destroy dilapidated neighborhoods and come up with new/mix use/green ideas to entice people to move back to the CENTER (if you will.) But they can’t do their jobs and the frickin’ poor ass Dayton WT will just continue to shit on their own lawns and destroy new shit bc that is what they deem as fair. Why in the world do we expect people to move into city limits when houses are too small, dated, old, broken down, not up to date with current lifestyle trends, dirty, etc. I am not talking about historic homes, rather the OLD BUT NOT HISTORIC HOMES – which are plentiful in Dayton. Why do we expect people to move here? We need to Build new houses with new ideas… Read more »
Drexel Dave Sparks

What Greg said.

Papa Ubu

If all of you devoted as much time to Dayton as T.Gasper devotes to flipping houses in South Farce, we would have at least two more never-open-for-business art galleries in the SnoreAgain District! And what about ForeverLow!



I live in Kettering, between Town & Country/Kroger, the Meijer area shopping centers, and a 20 minute up-hill bike ride to The Greene (which is not part of Kettering, I know).

If trees weren’t in the way, I could basically see everything I’d need to survive (if survival = consumerism. Ha. I do love the Greene’s movie theater…)

Anyway, I bought a bike for $70 off Craigslist, invested in a comfortable helmet and a heavy duty bike lock, and now I bike to places as much as I can. Because I can’t put $200 worth of groceries on my bike, I spend less and buy only what I need. It’s healthy, economical, etc. etc. (I still need to lose 20lbs.)

And the sprawl of Kettering isn’t really sprawl. Kettering can’t go anywhere else – the giant grid of streets can’t expand anywhere, really.


The Oregon District IS Downtown?

South Park is Downtown?

Is UD Downtown?

Why are you comparing NYC to Dayton? Compare Dayton to Grand Rapids or Chattanooga or Toledo or even Fresno or Boise or Raleigh or Little Rock or Topeka or Bismark or Tallahassee or Harrisburg or Santa Fe or Lansing or Omaha or Des Moines……………..BUT NOT NYC. Not even close. This is why we never get shit done, bc we say ,” Hey, look at Chicago and New York…………”


Stop this please. This is Dayton. We are Dayton. Get used to it.

David Esrati
David Esrati

Gene- NCR, UD, MVH, The Dayton Art Institute, Wright Dunbar, Grandview are all Downtown to me.


OK – just trying to clarify what is and what is not Downtown.

Then how do we save Downtown and Dayton?

How do we get businesses there?

You say we gave deals to R&R but they would have never located downtown to begin with if they never had a deal. I think we should have a business TAX FREE zone in the Central Business District of Downtown Dayton.


Papa Ubu

I like this Gene guy! He’s obviously not a part of the Daydream Creative Crass. Let Dayton be Dayton–warts and all!

David Esrati
David Esrati

We get businesses to locate downtown through the free market system.
We provide value that they can’t resist.
That means government does its job- safety, clean, functional- and the private sector does their job.


Papa, there is no reason to candy coat the truth. Dayton is Dayton. It could be better, but we need to realize that growth of a city is measured in a lot of ways, quality being more important the quantity. We are sometimes concerned with the number or people and businesses downtown, which is important, but we fail to capitalize and improve on what we do well. A Tax Free Central Business District would not only attract business but create a buzz of doing something different, perhaps even better.

We do have a lot of Daydreamers in Dayton. And art galleries are not the answer. Real business with real people and real money who do real things is what we need. Not more second hand shops, porn shops, bs marketing shit, art shops, hand holding businesses. We need real growth with real leadership and real ideas. Not another coffee shop.

Papa Ubu

I couldn’t agree more with Gene. By my green candle!


I think they need more cheap apartments for gays and lesbians.


Gene hits the nail on the head more often than not. He’s on target about comparisons and he’s on target about dowtown (tax free CBD sounds good)

He’s also right about whats do-able here due to fundamentals of size and economic activty, that half of whats proposed is just not viable as the place isn’t big enough or economically healthy enough to support it….champagne taste on a beer budget.

And this is excellent as well…spot on:

“Why do you have to drive to every location in Kettering. Most live within walking distance to most everything they need. Why not make areas like Kettering and centerville leaders in new age/green transportation. Your thinking may be limiting area like Kettering and Centerville. The FACT is these places are not going away. I can understand not wanting NEW areas to grow and keep building, but Kettering and Centerville are no longer NEW, therefore we should be looking for ways to maximize their potential.”

I’d add places like the Dayton Mall area to that. You already have business and retail out here, time to make it work better. People dont just live out here, they work and shop out here. That’s reality. Gene gets it.

David Esrati
David Esrati

Before you give Gene too much credit- no one was saying tear down the Mall or the Suburbs- it’s just about making things work.
The Dayton Mall could be improved with a 6 lane traffic circle running around the whole thing-
The Greene shouldn’t have had to be built- but, the reality is- the road blocks of redevelopment make things like this much easier to do on a cornfield.
Change that- and then everything changes.

Papa Ubu

The most active of Dayton’s boosters have subscribed to an ideology that has yet to “save” any urban core, but has sold books and collected fees for the “great helmsman”. This self-proclaimed “urban vanguard” acts like a Red Guard cell c.1968. Anyone who doesn’t agree with them is a rogue element in need of reeducation.
If history repeats itself twice, first as tragedy, then as farce, guess what phase they’re in?

David Esrati
David Esrati

Why don’t you just say Richard Florida and his “Creative Class” dogma?
Why speak with a veil?
Why not sign your real name?

Papa Ubu

Dear Mr. Esrati,

Papa Ubu is my humble alter ego; his first word to the world was ‘Pschitt’. It created an uproar in fin de siecle Paris, and based upon my monitoring of other forums (the most prominant from which I’m banned for life), it’s still upsetting urban nabobs. I use the language of the mountebank because it is their lingua franca.

Otherwise, the only way to communicate with them is down on my hands and knees.

David Esrati
David Esrati

Thank you for your explanation.
This is the most prominent forum for discussion in Dayton.
Some people on that forum are freaked out about a letter sent via snail mail to one of their group- with the signature Papa Ubu.
They saw it as threatening.
If you indeed did send it- I find that behavior a bit wacko- but, of course, it may just have been the person who has been sending me wacko mail for years:

David Esrati
David Esrati

PU/Doanl Phillips/Alfred Jarre/Bill Pote
This isn’t a playground for schizophrenics. Please pick one nom de guerre and stick with it.
And- no more threats or slams on others – or you will be blocked from this site as well.


“This is the most prominent forum for discussion in Dayton.”

…I do believe the DDN has even referred to Esrati as the Uberblogger!

(although, strictly speaking, this is a blog not a forum)


“We get businesses to locate downtown through the free market system.
We provide value that they can’t resist.
That means government does its job- safety, clean, functional- and the private sector does their job.”

This applies to the suburbs – who do a better job of attracting business. You really don’t want the free market, you want BS government restrictions to not allow sprawl. If I am farmer Joe and I want to sell my land to develop houses and the area I am in permits it, well then that falls under free market. Your ideas limit growth and sprawl, therefore not making it a true free market but a controlled market by the government. FREE is FREE, not restrictive.

Government can’t and won’t do their jobs. We need to focus on making our current suburbs the best they can be with proper businesses and residences so sprawl does stop. But we still need the FREE MARKET – ie no laws against sprawl, rather good old fashioned persuasiveness to stop this from happening. Also, “in the city limits of Dayton” is not the answer, unless we are willing to redevelop whole neighborhoods all over Dayton, like the Fairgrounds, and not THAT SLOW, but way more aggressive. Not the little slow Libby growth, but the “move the F*CK out of the way, here I come, I changing SH*T” attitude that really gets things done. This city loves to sit on it hands, spin its wheels.

I know you don’t want to give me any credit. You are one of those liberals whose is jealous when someone has good ideas that are not your own. What have you really accomplished besides “talking about it.” You don’t not have all the answers, a lot of other people do, and like any typical liberal you claim you are open minded and love to hear other people’s opinion so long as it is the same as your opinions. Liberals are the most close minded people anymore.

Papa Ubu

Trouble in Purgatory. Oh dear… Okay, my name is Donald Phillips. I grew up in the ‘terrible suburb’ of Hills & Dales in Kettering. My family were principals in NCR going back to the 19th century, but liquidated their holdings in 1991–just in time. I have not lived in Dayton since I left to attend college on the East Coast in 1979.

I did mail the Papa Ubu missive. I apologize to all of the recepients who cannot take a joke; no threat was intended. I live far away from Dayton and have no plan to ever go back in this lifetime. Depending on the state of my karma, however, I might get reincarnated in Dayton, though that will be in the form of a straw dog.

I hereby retire all of my personas. Adieu Dayton.

P.S.: I am not the source of your wacko mail.

Greg Hunter
Greg Hunter
Well we obviously have different things we think are important in the development of a City, but my contention is that the primary motivators are a sense of community where everyone’s choice of lifestyle is tolerated and all have an opportunity to fulfill their talents. From my perspective the earth can only support so many (2 Billion) and that rational human beings, if they are actually sensible, will realize that they cannot live independently of their neighbors. It is that simple, we need less people but as Gene says “quality not quantity”. I agree the Kettering is walkable and some parts of C’ville as I have a sweet bike setup for getting around and have been able to use it as my primary transportation during the daylight hours. That being said, this idea that the “free market” is the best solution to our housing and growth problem is just plain wrong and the train wreck that is the housing market is proof positive that free market only applies to decisions made the poor, but not to those on Wall Street. We have more important problems impacting the Region that includes energy and food security. These two items are combining to make people realize that “sprawl” was a dumb idea and merely an aberration unique to cheap energy. As energy becomes constrained then people will look to consolidate households, build things locally again and grow our food locally. There will be no other way and the sooner we get over the hump the easier it will be. I went to the Art District last night and walked around, but it is not all about Art as there are some people trying to start community gardens, which is great, but more participation is required and the area needs to have more population density than is currently available or all of these efforts are for naught. Gene, Jeff, David, Papa – Business as Usual is dead and if we cannot get alone now, it will be much tougher as things get constrained. Let’s see how the budgets for Kettering and C’ville look after… Read more »
David Esrati
David Esrati

Now that Papa Ubu has taken off the mask- that’s one less bit of psychodrama amongst the people who are trying to make something happen in Dayton.
Gene- there are HUGE costs to all of us when Farmer Greenjeans wants to sell his land to pop up McMansionville- extending services like roads, power, police protection, schools etc- that the Farmer doesn’t have to pay for.
We give farmers tax breaks on their land for tilling it for food- as opposed to charging them on the inflated “Developable” value for good reason. Instead of making downtowns tax free- maybe we should make farming tax free.
Greg is right about how GM closing will affect Centerville and Kettering- and esp. Moraine, which may be no more- rather soon.
My views aren’t liberal or conservative Gene- they are rational.
Check yourself, hombre.


“What have you really accomplished besides “talking about it.”

Well, he did buy and restore a house in South Park and keeps his business in the city, so there is something concrete. More than I can say.

In reality blogging or posting on internet forums is pretty pointless in affecting change. No one really pays attention unless there is an actual political movement that surfaces from this talk. Or an economic one, but thats a tougher nut to crack.

I know that Esrati and the people at Most Metro and maybe even OS have this illusion that their online presence changes things, or creates change.

I really doubt it. I don’t think this place is wired enough for netroots to work.

But Im willing to be proven wrong.

David Esrati
David Esrati

As more people look to candidates sites for information in the future- at least I’ll have a body of work/ideas/thoughts for them to look at- compared to the mindless liars we tend to hire- I mean buy- I mean elect.
Grassroots efforts take time- do you think the American Revolution just happened overnight?

J.R. Locke

Kettering is hardly walkable to work in that research park area. I had to pick up a lady friend there and from third street in Dayton it took almost 30 minutes to get there amongst the weaving roads where all those lower taxed companies went up.

Grassroots efforts cease to be grassroots efforts when they go into the public conscious….people need to understand this. Once in the other arena a new ballgame is being played. Just like marketing a small insulated group to marketing to a whole city.

What I think these sites do promote is a little faith that at least someone is thinking about these things and in the least it brings up morale of like minded individuals.

Gene !!!

Farmers do not need tax breaks – they are the ones succeeding in our current economy.

Downtown Dayton needs a Tax Free Central Business District.

Kettering is walkable, you guys must be lazy. If I lived Downtown where do I walk for groceries……. suburbs have that.

Grassroots efforts are nice, but if you really want to get shit done you need the backing of guys with big bucks, and guys with big bucks love tax breaks. But keep spinning your wheels hoping rich people pay for poor people’s stuff.

Suburbia is safer, cleaner, and overall run much better than Dayton. I wish Dayton well, but we need tax breaks to get businesses to relocate, not taxing suburbia to help Downtown. Suburbs do well by themselves bc they have people who care and who take care of each other and their properties.

David Esrati
David Esrati

Please move to the suburbs.
Then when the central city fails- see what you have left.

Gene !!!

It has failed, yet the burbs thrive. We just need a better plan than to hope and wish.

The ‘burbs have it going on. D-town Don’t!

I say get the **** out of the way, here we come.

You like the (smoke) grassroots effort. As of now nothing works.

Why should I move? I have lived a lot longer in Dayton than you. You are not even from Dayton, and we are almost the same age. Another “SICK BIRD” trying to run MY town.

Again, if it is not YOUR WAY then you cry. You go to TANKS and change the MY WAY GRILLED CHEESE…… are just like that.


Jeff, it’s funny you mention more gay apartments downtown. I was out with a friend one night downtown and we were walking by the Eva Feldmen Apartments (they are above what ‘use’ to be Bostons) He said, that if he had the money he would love to buy those apartments and turn them into upscale/chic yet affordable apartments for the gays. He said, just look where we are, you can spin around and see 4 different gay bars. I thought, what a great idea. . .I think he might be onto something. I wish someone with the $$$/capital would come in and do that. I think every unit it that building would be sold if they marketed it to the gay community as the place to be where all the action is.