Many years have passed since Manhattan Harbour was first announced as a potentially transformational project at Dayton's riverfront.
And after many of those years without any movement at all, 2019 proved to be the river city's biggest yet in terms of new housing projects at Manhattan Harbour.
In addition to several high-end single-family homes selling, two large apartment communities are in progress, with one already occupied by some tenants.
"We're seeing a lot of influx of people moving to Dayton, so it's a very exciting time for us because those folks are not just going to live here, but they are going to contribute to our community when they are shopping at our shops, eating at our restaurants, putting their kids in our schools, and participating in our volunteerism throughout the city," said Mayor Ben Baker.
Tapestry on the River is a four-building apartment development on the eastern edge of the city's riverfront and is poised to have 270 new units rented at market rate. The rent ranges from $1,100 to more than $2,300 per month for 1- to 3-bedroom apartments.
One building is mostly finished with tenants already living there. Two dozen apartments have been rented.
"It's been a long time coming, but I think we're finally at the point now where we're moving downhill and we're starting to gain a lot of momentum," said City Administrator Michael Giffen.
That momentum extends beyond the riverfront area where, in addition to Tapestry, a project called Gateway Flats is expected to bring 74 new apartment units when it comes online in 2020. Riverfront condos are expected to follow.
More housing is on the way in the form of nineteen single-family homes on O'Fallon Avenue. Pottebaum Point features modern architectural design for the homes which will range in price from $500,000 to $750,000.
The city center is seeing new retail and restaurant opportunities open up thanks in part to Dayton's incentive program, called the Commercial Community Advantage Program (CCAP), which provides rent subsidies and facade improvement grants to new businesses.
"The timing couldn't be more perfect in that we revitalized our business district at the same time we're going to have an influx of new residents coming to town," Giffen said. "We're starting to see the rewards of that hard work."
"You're seeing a lot of buildings in the neighborhood being rehabbed," Mayor Baker said. "Dayton is becoming a very popular place to live for single families who want to raise their families in a place like Dayton. You're going to continue to see the uptick."
Meanwhile, back on the riverfront, the Ohio River trail system that is designed to connect Ludlow, Covington, Newport, Bellevue, and Dayton, saw its first Dayton phase open this year with work to begin on the second phase in 2020.
Walkability and proximity to downtown Cincinnati are selling points for Dayton, Baker said.
"Dayton is very close to downtown Cincinnati," he said. "From our center of town to home plate at Great American Ballpark is two miles. So, that's extremely close to downtown. It's a very walkable community."
Other projects on the horizon with less certainty are a planned new city building and an ongoing effort to find a new grocery to replace Riverside Market, which shuttered in 2019.
But as the city moves forward on those efforts, it also prepares for an increase in population due to the new apartment communities.
"What that means for Dayton is a 20% boost in our population," Giffen said. "We're just over 5,000 residents here, so when have a project of that magnitude, it really means a lot for the community."