When I first looked up
When I first looked up at the stunning glass rotunda in the Dayton Arcade, it gave me goosebumps.
This is a glorious space, historic space. Less than 2 miles from campus and smack in the middle of the city sits an extraordinary place for students, faculty and staff to make their mark as innovators.
Perhaps UD’s presence as a cornerstone tenant could help community leaders and developers restore this crown jewel of our city, an icon that has stood vacant for more than a quarter of a century and fallen into disrepair. And, just maybe, the building’s redevelopment could further accelerate the rebirth of Dayton that is occurring downtown.
This is exactly what’s happening, thanks to creative thinkers on campus, in the community and beyond who want to see the historic Dayton landmark bustling again, serving as a central hub in a city that will again be known as an innovation engine (see the story on the Dayton Arcade by following this link).
As anchor tenants, we celebrated the long-awaited closing in April after signing a lease with The Entrepreneurs Center for the building’s Innovation Hub — nearly 96,000 square feet that will be devoted to academics, experiential learning, artist studios, affordable loft apartments and co-shared co-working spaces for budding and established entrepreneurs collaborating on new ventures.
No one is happier about this pivotal moment than Vince Lewis, director of the L. William Crotty Center for Entrepreneurship on campus and one of the project’s most energetic, ardent supporters. A native Daytonian, he has seen his share of fits and starts, hopes and dreams, for the building’s renaissance, only to see plans dashed time and again because of the sheer cost of renovating more than 420,000 square feet stretching over nearly a city block.
Vince fondly remembers taking the bus downtown as a young boy to have lunch with his father at the Dayton Arcade. When the $90 million first phase renovation is completed, UD students from a variety of disciplines will hop on The Flyer shuttle bus to take classes in a building expressly transformed for innovation, creativity and collaboration.
Here in a city where dreams take flight, why can’t we imagine a rebirth for this grand building in the heart of downtown Dayton, a rebirth that gives UD, our students and our community some unprecedented opportunities?
Why not, indeed.