There are a number of projects that are being planned, underway or completed in downtown Middletown.
Here’s a quick recap of the investment into the downtown area:
Middletown City Building
Over the next few years, 1 Donaham Plaza will undergo an exterior makeover. The project is expected to begin sometime this summer when the north promenade driveway will be closed to vehicular traffic, according to City Manager Doug Adkins. The project will also include improvements to the building’s south plaza and the south promenade.
Cost for renovations to the building’s south plaza are estimated at between $1.69 million to $2.01 million. The projects planned for the north portion of the building will cost between $427,500 and $495,900, according to Adkins.
The renovations will address security concerns as well as eliminate the deteriorating walkway pavers around the building and water runoff that leaks into the Middletown police headquarters, which is directly below the north promenade driveway. The project will take five to seven years to complete depending on city finances.
Downtown public wi-fi
The first phase of a project that would give Middletown a “Smart Cities” network is underway.
City Manager Doug Adkins said the city will be reviewing earlier discussions about a proposal from Cincinnati Bell on the project. He said the cost to create the downtown public wi-fi network could be less than $30,000.
Goetz Tower redevelopment
A nearly 90-year-old Middletown building is expected to transform into office and residential space that officials say will help that area of downtown. Steve Coon, president of Canton-based Coon Restoration and Sealants and the Historic Goetz Tower LLC are already working on the $3.5 million project. City officials said the interior demolition work is done and workers are finishing the interior mechanical, engineering and plumbing work.
Coon said plans include 2,000 square feet of office space on the first floor, a second-floor mezzanine and 16 market-rate apartments ranging from 800 to 1,100 square feet inside the seven-story, Art Deco building. The building was constructed at 1000 Central Ave. by the Middletown Building and Deposit Association in 1930.
Plans also call for the Middletown Economic Development Department and the the Small Business Development Center to occupy the first and second floors of the building. The new office also would provide space to Middletown Moving Forward or other city partners.
New townhouse development
A proposed $2 million townhouse development in downtown Middletown is in the works.
Construction on the project is expected to begin this spring near two adjacent houses on Clark Street, which will remain as part of the project. Last July, developer Brett Oakley announced his company, Oakley Property Group LLC, was planning to build 16 townhouses and rehabilitate two existing homes as part of a gated development on 1.3 acres it owns in an area bounded by Clark Street, Plum Street and Reinartz Boulevard. He said it will be the company’s first project in Middletown.
Middletown’s Carnegie Library is long overdue for a renovation. The 105-year-old public library, neglected since it became vacant about 15 years ago, was purchased by a preservation architect from Glendale.
Dan Mayzum, 49, owner of Architecture Renewal, purchased the building and land at 1320 First Ave. last June for $5,000 — or $90,000 less than it was appraised in 2017 by the Butler County Auditor’s Office.
Mayzum has estimated the cost of renovations of the library at just $4 million. He plans to stabilize the roof and install two elevators in the buildings to allow guests entrance into the second floor. Mayzum envisions four businesses operating inside the 17,000-square-foot building. He’d like to open a cooperative brewing company, a restaurant and 120-seat reception hall and a business incubator. The goal is to have the building open by the summer of 2020.
Central Avenue buildings
A Springfield man recently received a 10-year, 100-percent Community Revitalization Area tax abatement to renovate eight properties in downtown Middletown by remodeling and updating the residential and retail spaces.
Todd Fisher, who is originally from the Dayton area, has purchased the properties for $360,000 last summer and has already started working on improvements such as new roofing at one address on Central Avenue. Those properties are also located on First Avenue and on Curtis and Clark streets, according to city and county records.
New boutique hotel
Indigo Pass is a new boutique hotel in downtown Middletown. Kevin Kimener said the new lodging will occupy about 3,500 square feet on the fourth floor of the 38,000-square-foot building at 1131 Central Ave. Indigo Pass will have six rooms, five of them with a king-size bed and one with a queen-size bed. All rooms will have an additional sitting room with a fold-out full bed.
Kimener is the husband of Ami Vitori, a member of Middletown City Council since December. The couple co-founded Torchlight Pass, a multi-tenant “dining, wellness and more” building in downtown Middletown that once housed JCPenney and TV Middletown.
Swire Inn opens
A new restaurant is working to draw people to downtown Middletown with pub food, creative cocktails and live entertainment.
The menu at The Swire Inn at 64 S. Main St. features sandwiches, pot roast, Chicken & Waffles, Fish & Chips, Bourbon Salmon and Shepherd’s Pie.
The building in which the Swire Inn is located was constructed in 1861. Langhorne renovated the restaurant’s formerly run-down interior, adding a brick and wood decor aimed at evoking a sense of cozy, comfortable warmth.
BMW Motorcycle dealership
The $1.27 million construction and renovation of the former senior citizens center at 140 N. Verity Parkway has transformed it into a BMW motorcycle dealership. Mike Allen Real Estate Holdings, LLC, doing business as BMW Motorcycles of Greater Cincinnati, updated the building that has been empty for more than a decade since a new senior center was built on Central Avenue in 2007.
The company created the BMW dealership that would sell new and used motorcycles and parts, general merchandise and offer service for customers as well as create at least 12 new full-time jobs and create $375,000 in new payroll. The building was constructed at the same time as the Middletown City Building in the mid-1970s and required separation of utility lines from the city building.