As the years go by, the Dayton region has become a major contender for new investment, sparking interest from both in-state and out-of-state residents and businesses. One of the region’s top ten largest municipalities is set to see a host of major development projects come online while keeping the future project pipeline strong.
The City of Xenia City Manager Brent Merriman sat down with DBJ to paint a picture of in-progress and soon-to-come development projects across the city as well as attraction efforts to combat labor challenges.
Are there any projects that will be opening for bid soon?
“The city will be reviewing bidding opportunities for a couple of projects in the immediate future: a utility extension project in support of the Wooden Family Fieldhouse at Athletes in Action; services for environmental remediation project at 249 Sycamore Street that is expected to aid in the redevelopment of the historic Eavey Exchange warehouse building. Xenia recently awarded bids for three major roadway rehab projects set to be undertaken in 2023.”
What makes your area good for development?
“Xenia is a well-kept secret we hope gets out. We enjoy a very high quality of life and yet the cost of living is substantially lower than competitor communities in our region. Available and affordable land that is shovel-ready with utilities in place and due diligence completed help position our community very competitively for various types of new development. We have high quality utilities with excess capacity, at very affordable and competitive rates. We are now offering customer-responsive and timely building inspection services paired with zoning assistance and other services to promote ease of building and doing business in our community. Finally, location, location, location… Xenia is right in the middle of major interstate highways (I-70, 71, and 75), close to Dayton and the Cincinnati and Columbus-metro areas, and within a day’s drive of more than half of the US population.”
What are some new initiatives your department is implementing?
“Among several projects, our major economic development initiative is the redevelopment of Xenia Towne Square. Working in partnership with Dillin Corp., this multi-phase redevelopment of an old strip shopping center in our historic downtown will create a dynamic destination point. This planned development will include new multi-unit and walk-up townhome housing options, retail and restaurants, along with a new hospitality center, all focused around unique outdoor venues and amenities designed to infuse vitality in our community core while also promoting connectedness to the historic downtown we know and love.”
Is there anything else you’d like to note about upcoming or soon to be completed developments, projects, etc.?
“The Xenia Gateway retail project on West Main Street is in full construction and will include new healthcare services from Premier Health, retail offerings, and new food service options including Popeyes and Dunkin. Other new-to-market food service providers at some stage of development in Xenia include BW’s, Dairy Queen, Don Petron’s Mexican, Troni’s Italian Restaurant, and O’Neal’s—a unique venture being pursued in the historic Carnegie library in downtown Xenia. As mentioned above, Athletes in Action has broken ground in a major expansion—the Wooden Family Fieldhouse—which will add enormous indoor sports capacity to their athletic complex and increase unique visitors to Xenia by the hundreds of thousands.”
“There are several major housing subdivisions planned or under construction, which at completion will add more than 500 single-family housing units to the city. Xenia has been approached by other major development firms, evaluating additional projects which are not yet ready for public announcement.”
What are the biggest needs in your city? How is your department meeting these needs?
“Presently, and as with many other communities, availability of qualified labor force continues to be among our greatest challenges. We are working closely with community partners, including the Greene County Career Center and Clark State College, to make students aware of opportunities and employers aware of training programs that can benefit their companies.”
“We are also working with local developers to ensure there are a wide array of housing options available to attract new employees into the community. The limited number of available housing units on the market combined with a less-than-optimal diversity of options is a correctable problem we are actively addressing.”
What is your favorite restaurant to take clients/visitors to in the Dayton region? What is your personal favorite?
“Nick’s Restaurant on north Detroit Street is a regional (and personal) favorite and is a must-visit when we entertain clients.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Xenia had a 2021 population of about 25,500 – which is 2.3% decrease from its 2010 population at about 26,100. With more than 10,600 households, the city has a median household income of about $48,900.