Downtown Dayton, OH

Downtown Dayton is probably one of the better mid-sized American Downtowns thanks to its extensive remaining historic fabric, good transit network, great bike infrastructure, and quality parks. Downtown also holds a large college population attending school at Sinclair Community College (18,000 students) and is a major employment hub for the Dayton Region, even with the departures of several major fortunate 500 companies to the south.

I find that its easiest to divide Downtown Dayton into two halves. West and East of Ludlow Street. West of  Ludlow is  where the majority of Downtown’s urban renewal efforts occurred. It includes Sinclair Community College, the Montgomery jail and court complexes, some bland modern office towers, and a lot of surface parking lots. Not a lot of life and vitality on this side of Downtown. East of Ludlow  holds the bulk of Dayton’s historic fabric and architecture along with its better modern high raises, theaters, bus hub, public library, Riverscape Park, and the Courthouse Square. It is the more interesting and vibrant half of Downtown, seeing the bulk of new housing and development. Main Street forms the main spine of Downtown Dayton where the convention center, historic arcade, Courthouse Square, several theaters, and Dwtn’s best skyscrapers  are all locate.

My hope for Downtown Dayton is continued civic focus and investment as this could be a very special urban environment. Blight and dead space is what is holding Downtown back the most. It will be interesting to see if the opening of the renovated Dayton Arcade is the spark needed to set this all in motion. 
Click here to view my Downtown Dayton album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Dwtn has a good public transit itself. But transit service is a bit disappointing across the City of Dayton. Decent  service to many of the Dayton  suburbs depending on their age.
* Great bike infrastructure including a bike share system dwtn and to surrounding inner city neighborhoods and wonderful bike lane coverage within Dwtn and connecting to Dwtn throughout the City and region.
* Generally good racial and economic diversity dwtn both represented in its residential and daytime population.
* For sale product is a bit  limited and concentrated along the eastern edge of Dwtn near Webster Station. Good diversity of price points. 1-bedrooms range from 100K-350K. More 2-bedrooms available ranging from 125K-400K. 3-bedroom condos go between 400K-650K.
* Great of array of quality historic architecture.
* Over quality parks in Dwtn Dayton including the new Riverscape Metro Park, Courthouse Square (a decent well programmed civic plaza), and several other decent plazas spread throughout.
* Excellent ADA infrastructure throughout Dwtn.
* Good array of public & private elementary and high schools in and around Dwtn.
* Great college population dwtn with 18K students enrolled at Sinclair. 
* Pretty good streetscaping especially along the more investment parts of Dwtn. Helps that the City has streetscape guides for Dwtn.
* Pretty impressive employment hub with around 50K jobs. Generally positive outlook for Downtown with recent job growth but still low rents and high office vacancy rates.
* Cultural amenities include: a modern &  historic theater, two specialty movie theaters, several local museums (and the art museum across the river), a couple live music venues and nightclubs, and cultural amenities of Sinclair College.
* Other important amenities dwtn include the Dayton Convention Center, concentration of courthouses, City hall, Dwtn post office & library. 

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Dwtn rentals are a bit limited but modest price point. 1-bedrooms lease in the low $1,000s and 2-bedrooms anywhere in the $1,000s.
* Decent skyline but certainly nothing spectacular.
 * The majority of infill is ugly 60s-80s bldgs on Sinclair College. Some decent modern skyscrapers and newer apartment in-fill.
* The western half of Dwtn where Sinclair College is located was part of a pretty extensive urban renewal campaign. This part of Dwtn is pretty lifeless, uninspiring, and filled with lots of surface parking lots.
* Tree canopy is ok. Dwtn could use more street trees.
* Dwtn residential density is pretty low. Plenty of room for an expanded Dwtn population.
* Downtown Dayton still seems to have an image problem even with its quality form and decent amenities. This should continue to get better especially with the opening of the renovated Dayton Arcade.
* Some bars, restaurants and cafes dwtn but pretty limited for a Downtown. Only a handful of art galleries. The only major sports arena is the minor league ballpark in adjacent Webster Square district.
* While dwtn hosts a small discount grocery store and CVS pharmacy retail is pretty limited to a handful of boutiques, a couple bookstores, and neighborhood retail. 

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