A developer with multiple projects near downtown Dayton wants to rehab an empty church and parish hall in the Oregon District to create a new boutique hotel.
Weyland Ventures, a Kentucky-based real estate development firm, wants to refashion the St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church and parish hall at 239 Wayne Ave. into new hotel product and possibly a restaurant and event or gallery spaces.
As part of this project, the firm wants to construct a new three-story boutique hotel building on a parking lot just north of the church.
“In a neighborhood like this you don’t want a chain hotel,” said Bill Weyland, chief strategy officer with Weyland Ventures. “We’ve been doing boutique hotels that restore and maintain historic streetscapes.”
Local business leaders say downtown is in desperate need of new hotel rooms, in part to support the Dayton Convention Center, which is undergoing major renovations to better attract events and conferences.
Weyland Ventures already has made considerable investments near downtown, and this project would be another step toward the firm’s vision for a new vibrant area called Oregon East.
Weyland Ventures recently went before the Dayton Landmarks Commission for a concept review of a proposed site plan for the St. Paul church and parish hall.
Weyland Ventures, through a limited liability company, purchased the property in 2018.
Conceptual plans shared with the Landmarks Commission show a new, three-story hotel building with 45 keys (rooms) being constructed on a parking lot just north of the St. Paul church building.
The site plans call for the first floor and the lower level of the parish hall to be converted into about 27 hotel rooms, while the second floor could be used as an events space or temporary gallery.
The church sanctuary could become a new dining establishment or event space.
“We’ve done a series of churches, but this is really a beautiful church and we see it as being a restaurant,” Weyland said.
Weyland Ventures has done a variety of boutique hotels in Kentucky, which typically offer food options.
The hotel will be boutique and independently owned, managed and operated by Common Bond Hotel Collection, said Jessica McCarron, historic project manager for Weyland Ventures.
“The Oregon District is an entertainment destination in the Dayton area, which we feel will be a draw for hotel guests, she said. “The look and feel is still in development, but we plan to use the interior design to enhance the historic architecture.”
Weyland Ventures has applied for $2 million in state of Ohio historic preservation tax credits for a $22 million project to rehab the church and parish hall, according to state records.
The state will announce tax credit awards later this year.
Weyland Ventures already has made major investments in Dayton, most of which have been aided by state historic tax incentives.
The company created the Wheelhouse Lofts, located across the street from St. Paul church, which has 45 apartments and ground floor commercial spaces and is home to the Troll Pub restaurant.
Weyland Ventures also rehabbed the Motor Car building into new offices, which are located nearby at 15 McDonough St.
The firm is building about 158 new apartments just north of the Wheelhouse, on the former Garden Station site. The apartments, called the 503, remain under construction.
Weyland Ventures also is a partner on the proposed renovation of the Longfellow school campus, which is located along lower Salem Avenue in northwest Dayton. Plans for the school property includes more than 120 new apartments, a new theater and dining hall.
Local leaders say that downtown Dayton needs many new hotel rooms, especially within a short walking distance of the Dayton Convention Center, which is at 22 E. Fifth St.
The convention center is less than a half mile from St. Paul church.
New downtown hotel rooms are being constructed in the Dayton Arcade and on North Main Street, and a new hotel recently opened in the Water Street District near the Day Air Ballpark.
But officials say downtown needs a lot more rooms, especially since the closure of the former Crowne Plaza hotel, which is connected to the convention center by a skywalk.
St. Paul Church was first built in 1869, but alterations and additions were made in later years. The parish, which is connected to the church, was constructed in the 1950s.