L eaders: Library land price too high
New West Dayton branch could go on old Wright Co. factory site.
Dayton Metro Library Executive Director Tim Kambitsch says the main problem with the Wright Co. site is the asking price. COR NE LI US FROLIK / STAFF
By Cornelius Frolik StaffWriter


The Dayton Metro Library wants to build its new West Dayton branch on the old Wright Co. airplane factory site.

But library officials say they will not overpay for the land, which is listed at $50,000 an acre.

Community leaders “fully understand we are not going to spend excess money on acquiring the land because they want us to put the money into the building — not into the pockets of the property owner,” said Tim Kambitsch, Dayton Metro Library executive director.

The library also has no intention of moving to the site on its own, because that would put it at risk of having incompatible uses move in next door or nearby, Kambitsch said.

A group is working to acquire the remaining Wright Co. factory buildings with plans to turn some of the space over to the National Park Service.

More than 20 months have gone by since the Dayton Metro Library announced plans to build its new West Dayton branch on the Wright Co. Factory site near West Third Street and Cowart Avenue. The library would want about 7.5 acres of the roughly 55-acre site.

The Dayton Metro Library still hasn’t selected where it will put four of its branches: West Dayton, Northmont, Huber Heights and East Dayton/Riverside.

But negotiations to acquire the West Dayton site have been unsuccessful. Kambitsch said the main problem is the asking price.

Home Avenue Redevelopment LLC owns the roughly 55 acres. The property, the former Delphi plant, is located between U.S. 35 and West Third Street.

Commercial real estate broker JLL is marketing the property locally, regionally and nationally and has been encouraged by the interest it has received from end-users and developers, said David Lotterer, JLL’s vice president .

The property offers the rare opportunity for a large infill site in close proximity to the city center and a strong labor pool, he said.

“With direct access to U.S. 35 and connection to I-75, the site is ideal for a wide variety of uses,” he said. “Because of its prior use, it has excellent utility infrastructure already in place.”

Kambitsch said purchase talks do not appear to be at an impasse and the library still has time to work out a deal.

There are alternative site locations for three of the branches if the first choices are unavailable or cannot be acquired, he said.

But West Dayton community members have said they want a central location for the West Dayton branch, between the two libraries it will replace (Westwood and Madden Hills branches), and the Wright Co. site is in an ideal spot, Kambitsch said.

The library needs to get a fair price on the land, said Kambitsch, but it’s equally important that the National Aviation Heritage Alliance move forward with its project to preserve and restore the factory site.

The National Aviation Heritage Alliance has been negotiating to try to buy the property, with plans to restore the Wright brothers’ airplane factory buildings.

The alliance’s plan was to sell the 7.5 acres to the library and sell buildings 1 and 2 to the National Park Ser vice.

In June 2016, the alliance said it hoped to acquire the property within about six months.

If the library and the National Park Service have a presence at the site with millions of dollars in investment, that hopefully will attract other amenities and projects to that part of West Dayton, Kambitsch said.

“Our intention is to turn that from an industrial site into a series of community assets,” he said.

Contact this reporter at 937- 225-0749 or email Cornelius.