The vision for Dayton’s Tech Town has shifted from a suburban-type office park to a development that tries to capitalize on its urban setting with new amenities that appeal to young creative professionals.
Future buildings on the Tech Town campus could have a restaurant, drinking establishments or retail space on the ground floor, and a new project seeks to better connect the campus and surrounding area with the Mad River and bike paths.
The campus originally was intended to be a suburban-style business park with offices only, but an updated master plan calls for a more urban, mixed-use approach to redevelopment that seeks to encourage pedestrian activity, said Steve Nutt, senior vice president of CityWide Development, which oversees Tech Town.
“Young workers today don’t want to be in a suburban-style campus,” Nutt said. “They want to be in an exciting environment, where they can walk out their door, grab a beer, grab a coffee, grab lunch, without having to get in their car.”
Tech Town, located at East Monument Avenue and Webster Street, has three buildings housing tech and other cutting-edge firms. The first building, the Entrepreneurs Center, opened in September 2000. The third and newest building opened in 2011.
Tech Town is now 97 percent occupied, and the plan has always been to open 10 or 15 buildings on the campus. The main Tech Town site is about 24 acres.
Next month, work is expected to begin on what’s been called the Webster Station Landing project, which will soften the levee just north of the Tech Town campus. The slope of the levy will be smoothed, and new bikeway connections will be added to the Mad River Recreation Trail and the path that runs in front of the Water Street Flats apartments and leads to RiverScape MetroPark, Nutt said.
The roughly $1 million project is fully funded. It was awarded $250,000 in state capital funding, and the Miami Conservancy District will be contributing money as well.
A new bikeway will go to the top of the levee and connect with the campus and Webster Street, Nutt said.
Nutt said officials are raising funds for a second phase of the project to create an open space at the top of the levee, with walkways, bikeways and possibly benches.
The empty property around the green space will be targeted for redevelopment. New buildings would have river views with a goal of attracting some new amenities, like restaurants, brew pubs or recreational retail, he said. The upper stories would be office space.
The levee work and bikeway additions are intended to improve riverfront connections and access and help boost Tech Town’s appeal, officials said.
The plan was always to have a mix of uses around the Tech Town campus, but now that’s changed to bring them into the campus, Nutt said.