Roly Poly rolls out of Downtown: DDP #FAIL

The Roly Poly sandwich shop in the old Elder Beerman/Reynolds and Reynolds call center- now Area Agency on Aging – rolled out of their downtown location over the weekend.

The building which is owned and managed by CityWide Development (which means it’s your tax dollars) now only has two ground floor tenants- the CVS which moved from across the Street from CityWide’s main building at the corner of Main and Third (believe it or not- it’s a separate building from the PNC bank building) and the Boston Stoker.

Even the food vendor cart population is down from around 10 in previous years to two or three.

And while the Tea Party Exchange got busted for outsourcing its services, no one has questioned why the Downtown Dayton Partnership has to hire an outside firm to staff its “Ambassadors program”- yep, those people in green shirts aren’t hired by the Partnership directly- they outsource them from: Block By Block out of Louisville KY.

Is this an indication that we should outsource everything? Trash, police, fire, why not even hire a Mayor- it’s a part-time job, maybe we could get someone much better. Dayton Public Schools uses a PR Consultant out of Cleveland too.

If we didn’t have business owners paying a premium tax – the “Special Improvement District” tax- and the city actually provided the services it’s supposed to, maybe businesses could afford to stay in Downtown. Or maybe, they could at least spend their money with a local firm for their “ambassadors.”

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8 Responses

  1. bill August 17, 2010 / 9:30 pm
    Could anyone define “Urban Flight” as it relates to the city of Dayton…..lol
    It is highly evident that greed and self preservation, are the main ingredients in most of the offices of Dayton and Montgomery County. There is a distinct odor in the office of the Montgomery County Sheriff and most of the judicial system.
    Our Dayton city schools are some of the worst in the nation! City school scores are so embarrassing, someone got caught trying to modify achievement ratings a couple of years ago….
    How can this be with Dayton City  income tax rates equal to most and higher than many…….
    When city of Dayton is willing to sacrifice the futures of our children, and the well being of our citizens,  for the benefit of self preservation……What will it be next? Implosion……
     

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  2. truddick August 18, 2010 / 9:44 am
    On a related note, I wonder why my City of Dayton supplemental income tax payments get mailed to Cincinnati?  Nobody in our own tax department able to open an envelope and frank a check?
     
    Bill: Dayton Public Schools also has created some of the best public schools in the nation; ref. Stivers and DECA (which has now transitioned to a charter).  DPS has been on an improvement curve for the last several years; in 2005, for example, they first met state standards for the third grade reading tests.  To the best of my knowledge DPS has never been involved in undue test score manipulation (unlike several charters which have been caught cheating outright).
     
    You do understand, I hope, that the Ohio Department of Education “report card” grades on schools–as well as the OGT/OAT scores–were based on criteria developed AFTER the fact; schools did not know what a passing score on the OGT/OAT would be until after students completed it, and the criteria for the state report cards changed yearly.  This is why DPS has supplement the state tests with the Terra Nova test; it’s scored consistently year after year and so allows the district to track trends with confidence.
     
    Until the state BOE is sorted out, we’ll continue to compound inner-city problems with clumsy meddling and useless grading from Columbus.  I’m encouraged by the Strickland administration’s initial plans to fix education; already higher ed. has seen a number of changes that will make it easier for students to earn a degree, and the proposals for K-12 (including requiring all students to take the ACT as a high school graduation requirement.  High-stakes testing isn’t the solution to all problems, but I support achievement tests so long as they’re valid, reliable and consistent.  ACT is well established; OGT/OAT were amateurish, expensive and foolish.

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  3. Erg August 18, 2010 / 6:09 pm
    I think I missed the connection between Roly Poly leaving DT and the DDP?  IMO, that Roly Poly was not very good so who really cares if a mediocre sandwich joint leaves town?
    RE:  outsourcing the street-maintenance to Block-by-Block, this is very common among corporations and cities.  It’s cheaper to contract the management of that program to a company.  IIRC, the SID property owners have the right to vote for or against that.  It’s the same as companies contracting out linen services, F&B services to groups like Sodexho.  It’s just cheaper and the people they hire work and live locally so it’s not like you’re sending all your money to some village in Southeast Asia.
    There are stronger arguments to make than ‘outsourcing’ jobs to Louisville, KY……that’s just weaksauce.

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  4. Brian August 19, 2010 / 12:01 am
    @Erg, you’re making some good points, but here are some clarifications.   SID property owners vote to have the SID or not to have it (in total), but don’t technically vote on any of the specific expenditures of the SID.   The DDP Board of Directors, of which I’m a member, doesn’t even vote on those items.   The decisions are made by the Executive Board of the SID, a much smaller group.
    Block-by-Block was not the only vendor who answered the RFP for the Ambassador’s project, though they had the most experience and have done a fantastic job.   There was at least one local company that bid on the job, but they were not selected.   You are correct that most of the money is still being spent locally, though, because Block-by-Block hires locals to do the work.
     

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  5. David Guehl August 24, 2010 / 11:10 am
    NEWS RELEASE 8/20/10
     
    Contact: David Guehl (937)478-5389
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Roly Poly Sandwiches, 33 North Main St. Dayton Ohio, has closed its doors after 5 years in business on Courthouse Square.  David Guehl, the owner, alleged in recent litigation that Citywide Development, the original owners of the Reynolds and Reynolds Building, misrepresented economic conditions and development plans to induce him into a lease for his Roly Poly Sandwich shop.

    Citywide Development is the development branch of the City of Dayton, with a stated focus on the development of businesses downtown.  Guehl states that he trusted Citywide Development to give him accurate information about the development of Courthouse Square; that did not happen.

    The dispute began over the real estate taxes.  Just one month after the Roly Poly business opened in 2005, Citywide delivered a real estate tax bill that was over 6 times the estimates given to Guehl before signing the lease.  Guehl paid the first payment with the understanding that the taxes would be contested.  The value of the building jumped 7 times more than its value at the signing of the lease, and it is now taxed at 19 million dollars.

    In the last 5 years, major buildings in the area have sold for less four million dollars, with most of the buildings with 5 to 10 times the leasable space of Courthouse Square.  In investigating the situation, it was discovered the building was redeveloped with tax payers’ money under tax incremental financing (over 14 million dollars), and over $200,000 of these tax payments are kicked back to the landlord. CityWide sold the building to the current owner ACG, a financial commercial real estate firm based in New York City.

    The City of Dayton also guarantees these payments.  In other words, Guehl feels the value of this building is appraised artificially higher in order to continue to collect the additional taxes. The land on which the building sits is owned by the City of Dayton and leased to the current owners for $1 a year, with the building taxed based on a valuation over $17 mil. 

    Even with lease language that specified procedures to cure the disputed figures, Citywide and Montgomery County stonewalled Guehl on the information, refused to discuss or negotiate, forcing Guehl to hire attorneys and to litigate the issues.      
      
    Citywide Development also breached the lease in regard to placement of independent  food vendors on Courthouse Square.  CityWide allowed vendors in direct competition with Roly Poly, resulting in losses of over $30,000 for Guehl.

    Given Citywide Development’s refusal to meet or discuss the issues, Guehl attempted to contact other local government agencies supposedly involved in the development of Downtown Dayton. Guehl contacted former Dayton Mayor McLin, The Downtown Dayton Partnership, County Commissioner Dan Foley, Asst. County Administrator Joe Tuss and Rep. Mike Turner’s office, and explained the situation.  Only one of these contacts attempted help resolve the issues. The Downtown Dayton Partnership, after agreeing that they may be able intervene,  called back and stated they looked into the situation, that Guehl had some legitimate  issues but they could not intervene because they would have their funding cut off.  Citywide Development blamed the County, and Joe Tuss from the County blamed Citywide for the breach. (Mr. Tuss sits on CityWide’s Board of Directors.)

    Guehl was forced to hire attorneys in order to try to resolve these issues.  After tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, Guehl states he has depleted his reserves and is now forced to close down his business. The economic imbalance of a small business attempting to litigate against a government development agency such as CityWide ironically results in the elimination of the small business. The lawsuit against CityWide was dismissed without prejudice to refiling within one year. Guehl still reserves the right to reinstate the lawsuit.

    Guehl states that he is disheartened with the treatment by development officials from the City of Dayton and Montgomery County.  Millions of tax dollars are given to this area for development, passed around to the City, County, and at least 10 other “non-profit” development organizations, which organizations pay substantial salaries to many of the responsible officials, seemingly without any accountability for their performance.   They show an untouchable arrogance toward the people they are paid to serve, advise and help. Small businesses are recruited to the downtown area with false promises and lack of support in their continuing financial viability. Their efforts are undermined by the very agencies tasked with helping them succeed.

    Most disconcerting to Guehl is the loss of his employees’ jobs.  They have worked loyally and diligently from the opening day and are like family to him.  He appreciates the hard work and loyalty they gave to the business. They will be assets to their next employers..
     

     

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  6. David Esrati August 24, 2010 / 11:59 am

    Thanks for posting the press release Mr. Gruehl

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  7. Steve August 24, 2010 / 1:29 pm
    Your lawyer should have probably advised you not to publicly comment on any pending litigation.

    I must say my experience with Citywide has been completely opposite. They are great folks who will do anything to help. Let’s hear both sides of this story…

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  8. Greg Hunter August 25, 2010 / 9:33 am

    Do not worry Turner is working like a dog to make sure your antique auto does not have to meet standards. We get what we deserve…..

    Steve Budd, president of Citywide Development, said Citywide officials had no way of foreseeing the recession or the departure from downtown Dayton of MeadWestvaco and Reynolds and Reynolds jobs, among others.

    Ha now thats a laugh….everyone knew what was going on….. Austin Road was the focus and everything else was lies.  Downtown….Inventing Flight restoring west third.  How is that working out.  Probably good for Tuss and the gang but Dayton, not so much.

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