Those restaurants “never had the capital needed to make some of the hood improvements that were necessary by code,” Smith said. “We have a lot of buildings that were built well before certain fire-suppression standards were in place. That can get very costly.”
At the former Ohio Casualty complex, now rebranded as the Third + Dayton apartment-and-retail complex, owners have slowly been installing fire-suppression systems that likely will cost more than $1 million, Smith said.
“It gets pricy,” Vanderhorst said, noting that at the Davis Building, at 302 Main St., home to the Village Parlor of Hamilton ice cream shop, it was necessary to install a wheel-chair ramp for customer access.
“This is modeled after the upper-floor residential program that’s currently being administered by the Community Improvement Corporation,” Vanderhorst said.
According to a report to council, the program would be aimed at restaurants, entertainment venues and mixed-use projects “that have large investments required to meet today’s building codes.”
The report did not identify the proposed source of the funds.
“This is really to help accelerate people’s ability to get into some of these buildings,” Smith said, so rather than being empty with weeds growing outside, “we’re trying to help people find that path forward.”
Exact details of the program, if it is approved by council, have yet to be worked out.