Church turning former Sears at Dayton Mall into first permanent Dayton area location

MIAMI TWP. — Crossroads Dayton has launched construction on its new location at the former Sears at Dayton Mall.

The site in Miami Twp., which will be the first permanent Crossroads location in the Dayton area, will include a 1,560-seat auditorium, a smaller youth auditorium, meeting rooms, space for children and students, and more, spokeswoman Erin Caproni told this news outlet. Crossroads’ buildings are designed to serve the community with atriums that have free coffee, Wi-Fi and coworking space during the week and community gathering spaces, Caproni said.

The completion date is “in flux” based on materials, weather and other factors, she said. “We’re likely looking at the end of 2024 or early 2025,” Caproni said.

Crossroads Dayton is one of eight physical locations of Crossroads Church, which was founded in Cincinnati’s Hyde Park neighborhood in 1996, she said.

Crossroads began meeting in a middle school and has grown to include locations across the region from Columbus to Lexington, Caproni said.

“We like to say we’re a church for people who may have given up on church but not on God that connects them to a growing community of Christ followers who are changing the world,” she said. “Everyone is welcome no matter where they are in their belief about God or the church.”

Crossroads Dayton also got its start in a middle school and has been meeting at Bellbrook Middle School for several years now. During that time the Crossroads Dayton community has been partnering with local nonprofits and schools to serve those in need with initiatives like its annual Thanksgiving Food Drive and Christmas Gift Drive that provide thousands of meals and gifts in areas surrounding the site, Caproni said. Many of those partnerships will continue in the new location, she said.

Credit: Lynch, Gregory

Credit: Lynch, Gregory

“The community has experienced incredible growth that has led to outgrowing the space for Sunday services and these types of projects,” Caproni said.

Matt Castleman, who previously was the community pastor at Crossroads West Side in Cincinnati, became community pastor for the Dayton area location in 2022.

“We’ve seen lives transformed here in Dayton all while being in a rented facility with limited capacity,” Castleman said. “Our amazing community of volunteers has set up and torn down our Sunday experience for the last seven years at Bellbrook Middle School. We’re so excited to see the impact we can make in our city and how God will move once we have a larger, permanent space to welcome everyone in.”

Alex Carlson, Miami Twp.’s development director, said, “Beyond the revitalization of vacant space, a thriving Crossroads Church will attract visitors from around the region and contribute to increased foot traffic in and around the Dayton Mall.”

Dayton Mall has several anchors, including Macy’s, JC Penney and Dick’s Sporting Goods, according to Dave Duebber, the mall’s general manager. The former Elder Beerman site is owned by Washington Prime Group, Dayton Mall’s previous owner.

Credit: Lynch, Gregory

Credit: Lynch, Gregory

Duebber said Crossroads Dayton will draw from a multi-county area and be “a fantastic addition not only to the mall, but also to the whole community.”

“The investment that they’re making into this area, this region of the Miami Valley, is going to be huge,” he said. “I think it just shows their belief in the area, that it’s strong, it’s vital, (and this) is just more proof that this is a very, very vibrant area of our community and we’re so looking forward to this.

“They’re so much into families and promoting goodwill and just being a good citizen (and) community member. We’re very excited about partnering with them on a lot of events.”

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