The undeveloper.

Paul Hutchins of the eponymous Hutchins Commercial Realty is proving to be worthy of the title of “undeveloper.”
A few years back, Hutchins picked up a package deal of properties downtown from Marv Felman including The Fidelity Building at 5th and Main, and practically the whole block between E. 2nd and E. 3rd between Jefferson and St. Clair. They also took over Parking Management Incorporated- making them the largest operator of surface parking lots in Downtown Dayton.
When they made their move- they trumpeted loudly their plans to move the old Gem Savings clock tower from the Reynolds & Reynolds building to the corner of Third and Jefferson. When they realized no one would give them the money to do it- that plan quietly faded away.
They also ran Boston’s Bistro out of the Eva Felman apartments- along with Sir Speedy- with their grand plans of building competition to the Oregon District centered around Masque. Masque was a joint deal with Luke Liakos, owner of Diamond’s Cabaret. With their big rush to get Boston out- they seemed to overlook putting someone back in.
Next we had them tear down the former home of WTUE and WONE on Wilkinson at Third- to put in yet another parking lot. This building was formerly home to Architects Associated– who then moved to Suburbia. Boston’s moved to Harrison Township- Sir Speedy was the only business that actually stayed downtown, moving around the corner to Jefferson St.
Now we have Seattle East and the Upper Kut being forced out- so they can tear down yet another building in the name of progress. Not that there aren’t entire city blocks of surface parking lot available to build on (look just West of 111 W. First Street- where there are lots the size of a small farm plot).
Seattle East will not relocate downtown- and so another independently owned place to eat, drink and employee people in Downtown Dayton is being pushed out.
What will replace the Seattle East building? More than likely it’s the new building for CareSource- although officials aren’t saying anything. No mention has been made of the 2 amazing buildings to the East of Seattle East- one a vacant law office that is a phenomenal piece of architecture- and well preserved- the other a very old house that had been converted into 3 very rich condos.
Needless to say, Hutchins is a major player in Downtown- and the fate of the Downtown Dayton Partnership– it seems he is nothing but a profiteer, buying low and either selling high- or working on building a monopoly on parking in Downtown. The problem is- without showing some skills at developing his holdings- there won’t be anyone coming downtown to park if he keeps closing businesses- even if they are small.

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18 Comments on "The undeveloper."

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Has there been any update on the proposed caresource tower? Do we know if they plan or building it or not? Everyone seems to be hush hush on the subject. . .


The Upper Kut building and the back part of the house at 1st and Jefferson (not the foursquare front part) are the two oldest buildings in downtown Dayton Both date to the 1820s I think, before the arrival of the canal. The Upper Kut place has been severley altered and added to, though.

So it would be a shame if they are torn down. There is one other old house left, from 1827, on St Clair, I think.

Daniel Greene

Apparently the people running the city have no respect for history. I find this tragic, but I don’t really see how anything can be done at this point. I am just waiting to see what happens if they start using eminent domain to deal with all the empty homes.


Several months ago, after hearing about about the CareSource project, I checked with the city’s economic development office about the plan for the two beautiful, historic buildings adjacent to the Seattle East building (35 and 41 E. First). I was told they would not be demolished for the project and that a new office for Avis is planned for the Seattle East spot. 35 E First is a fantastic building, demolishing it would be criminal.

Paul Hutchins
Paul Hutchins

You do not even know me! I have worked with the city and tried to get more things going in downtown. Lack of community respone, Economics in the Dayton area, and people who do not know all the facts, make it tough in Downtown Dayton. I do see how you have become so negative!

David Esrati
David Esrati

Hi Paul,
Welcome to the community online. We have met- and I’m well aware of how difficult it is to get things done – but, it can be done.
Step out front, build relationships, challenge the people in charge- publicly. It may seem like it’s not worth it most of the time, but it’s the only way we can move Dayton forward.
How about stepping forward on a unified parking rate and signage program? With a 3-hour visit for $1 like downtown Cincy?
How about trying to convert some of the empty space over your commercial space on E. 3rd into housing?
Downtown is hemorrhaging commercial tenants because of lack of places like Seattle East and Boston’s. Yesterday Robbins and Meyers announced they are moving their HQ to the Greene. What happened to your clock tower proposal?
Maybe you do have a vision- but need better PR to showcase it?
Pretty soon you are going to have all the parking lots but no one to use them if you don’t get involved.


The rent for the “dead” spaces for “Dead Town Dayton” makes it hard for any business to want to locate downtown. What really is there downtown? Can’t find a place to eat, no major business is conducted down there, a bunch of greedy lawyers run the show, the ARTS sceen is starving for money, and the ARTS sceen thinks everybody should just automatically support them rather than promote and advertise their events. People are scared to go to a city where no business takes place, bums are seeking handouts and lone-rangers in the active sections believe they should win by default. This is 2007, you must move in a positive direction or you are left behind. The Green, Dayton Mall and Fairfield all came about b/c the city of Dayton lacks real vision, and people are tired of the ghost town mentality.


In 2010 nothing has changed. Let me repeat that…NOTHING HAS CHANGED.

paul hutchins
paul hutchins

We have rented 2 storefronts in our building at 124 east third street!  Also have cleaned out the second floor to make Loft offices!  about 10,000 Sf.  lower rent space from $3 per sf. and up.   This is the only building That I own.  I am doing my part to rent up Downtown, helping small business.    The city and other developers need help!     Thanks for reading .

Robert Blevins
Robert Blevins

Mr.Hutchins, I am a resident at St.Clair Lofts and I rent two parking spaces in your lot. On September 23, my wife had her car window smashed in and she was robbed. While I understand that PMI is not liable for any damage to cars in your lots, I asked for a refund for our November/December lot fees in order to pay for this broken window. I was told on September 23 that the refund would be sent to me. On October 12 I called again to ask where my refund was and I was told I could pick it up this Friday. This Friday I called and was given the run around the entire day. I have left messages with your office manager and received no call. I was treated so poorly that I notified the Better Business Bereau and the State Attorney General of the situation. All I want is my $120 refund so I can replace a window that was broken in your parking lot. Why is this so difficult?

Bubba Jones
Bubba Jones

>>> While I understand that PMI is not liable for any damage to cars in your lots, I asked for a refund for our November/December lot fees in order to pay for this broken window. <<< Robert Blevins
If you know that it’s not PMI’s responsibility to pay for your broken window, WHY are you insisting that they give you a refund to pay for the broken window?  Isn’t it YOUR responsibility to pay for it?  Do you not have insurance?  And then, even after admitting that it’s not PMI’s responsibility, you drag them through the mud on this site and then “sic the dogs on them” by calling the BBB and the AG?   You seem like a swell guy!!


Ummm….that he needed the money back that he had paid in advance for the parking to pay for the window? Sound like he needs the money? Apparently PMI is not good on their word they will pay the refund. The insistence isn’t for paying for the window, it’s for the refund that was promised and never given. Read carefully what is being said.


Getting things back on track. What’s happening downtown Dayton? It used to be a city to be proud of and boast about. Things have been so covered up with the “makeup” used to make it appear to be a prosperous city that it comes across as a “octogenarian” dressed up as a “teeny-bopper”. Would it not have been better to spend the money on the safety and well-being of the businesses and residents of the city rather than on, what looks to be frivolous spending, making Dayton appear to be on the cutting edge?
Personally, I don’t feel safe downtown, period. I find every reason not to go downtown if I don’t have to. My experiences entail being pan-handled, watching someone going up and down the street screaming to no one in particular at the top of their lungs to seeing a man relieving himself on the side of a building! All on separate occasions. It makes it frustrating, scary and revolting and no amount of artwork or “make-up” has been able to take those images out of my memory of Dayton. Put all the businesses you want in Dayton, but until those negative elements are out of the picture Dayton will never be a place I want to go to.
I wish their could be more police and security in the downtown area but I understand it takes money to run a city and money is a shortage for everyone in these times. It always comes down to money or the lack thereof.

Robert Blevins
Robert Blevins

At least someone read what I wrote. My problem is consistent with this issue. Why can PMI send attendants around in the middle of the night to give people tickets or have them towed, but they cannot have someone watch their parking lots? Instead of just complaining I propose a solution. Secure parking is quite possibly the EASIEST solution to make downtown Dayton more attractive. There are so many things to do here: Fifth Third Field, the Victoria Theatre, Riverscape, and the Oregon District to name a few. The vast majority of people don’t visit downtown because they don’t feel that their vehicle will be safe in any parking lot here. They would be correct in assuming this. From my living room window I have seen hit and runs, cars being broken into, and cars being urinated on. If PMI would employ someone to sit in their empty parking booths, they would attract more customers and the sense of security would encourage more patrons of downtown Dayton.

paul hutchins
paul hutchins

While it is easy to sit and watch the problems, I deal with them everyday!   Pmi patrols its lots, but we cannot control crime, vandals or public pee or people being people.    There is no free parking anytime on Pmi lots,  so if people do not pay, we ticket and tow, its just business.     Safety is a job for the police and goverment,  we need more police in downtown!    If you see a problem, you should report it!  

Bubba Jones
Bubba Jones

>>> If PMI would employ someone to sit in their empty parking booths, they would attract more customers <<<  – Robert Blevins
How much more are you willing to pay for a parking lot that has a person sitting in a booth 24/7?  Do you have any idea how much it would cost to staff a lot 24/7?  Assuming you’re paying that person the Ohio  minimum wage of $7.30 per hour.  Once you add in payroll taxes, the additional overhead of processing payroll for all of the extra employees that PMI would need to hire, etc., you’re looking at a cost of AT LEAST $10 per hour to have that person watch the cars.  At 720 hours in a 30 day month, that equates to an additonal $7200 of additional costs to PMI for just one parking lot.  I don’t know how big the parking lot is, but for argument’s sake let’s say that it holds 150 spaces.  That means the monitoring that you think is such a good idea works out to $48 per space per month.    I’m guessing that you and your wife each have a spot in that lot, so that’s another $96 per month expense that PMI would have to pass on to you or go out of business.   So, when Mr. Hutchins raises your parking fees by $96 a month are you willing to pay it without complaining about the increase?  I think I already know the answer to that question!
By the way, since the compassionate but business illiterate voters of Ohio decided that it would be a good idea to increase the minimum wage in Ohio every year based on inflation, the labor costs associated with the monitoring of the lot will increase every year.

Bubba, Since you seem to be very adept at bashing I wonder how good are you at coming up with solutions? I for one would gladly pay the higher parking price if I was assured my automobile would not be vandalized! I know my husband would. He works downtown occasionally but will not leave his vehicle unattended for fear of losing his equipment. Therefore, any jobs he has to do downtown, he has to be accompanied by someone who will guard the vehicle. For no other reason than vandals or thieves does he have to do this! As for your quotes of the cost to the business man who owns the parking lot. Just how much do you think the automotive companies are making from it?  I would much rather pay for the extra security for the parking rather than having my auto torn up and have to pay some auto repair to fix it! Plus not having to turn in a claim to my auto insurance company is a big factor! Wouldn’t that money be better spent protecting the autos and keeping the parking, people and traffic downtown rather than turning a blind eye and letting that money get out of the parking lots hands, and out of downtown? It just makes sense that if the parking areas protected their lots and people felt safer being downtown wouldn’t their be more traffic for downtown businesses? Would that not help businesses consider moving back into downtown? I don’t know how all people would react to the higher parking prices, but think about this, people buy all types of insurance to protect almost everything they have. One can hardly buy anything without a cashier asking if you would like to buy extra insurance for a brand new item! And people do! For a lot of people their automobile is their biggest asset or something they take a lot of  pride in! It would be interesting to see what would happen if just one lot raised their prices and put in a security measure of some type and advertised it as a… Read more »
Brian West

@Robert, your car isn’t really safe anywhere.  All of the things you mentioned happen at the malls around town, too.   They might even happen more often at Dayton Mall than they do Downtown, but Downtown gets all the (bad) press.     Cars in driveways in Englewood and Kettering get broken into on occasion, too.
On the other hand, 1000’s of cars park safely downtown every day.  I’m sorry that your experience was different, but incidents of vandalism or theft are very rare.