Influx of new commercial development continues near Dayton International Airport
While the airport itself was faced with a stark revenue decline, developers were busy constructing new industrial buildings on adjacent land, and companies have been quick to snatch up available space. This continues a years-long trend of development activity at the airport, and momentum is expected to continue in 2021.
Leading the charge is Kansas City-based developer NorthPoint Development, which is behind the majority of new construction near the airport. Airport officials said NorthPoint recently completed Building VI on Dog Leg Road and broke ground on Building VIII on North Dixie Drive on the east side of the property. It also intends to break ground on Building VII on Lightner Road this year, which would bring its total number of airport-area buildings to eight.
“Commercial/industrial development continues at the airport,” the airport stated in response to questions posed by the Dayton Business Journal. “As always, the airport is looking for additional opportunities to enhance our operations and provide additional services to the aviation industry.”
One of the most active companies occupying space in NorthPoint buildings near the airport is Crocs, a footwear retailer based in Colorado. Crocs opened a new distribution center in Fall 2019, taking 550,000 square feet and bringing hundreds of employees to the region.
The retailer doubled down in 2020, taking over a second building for a new e-commerce facility that brought over 400 additional employees to the region. With both operations, Crocs now employs over 1,200 people and occupies more than one million square feet in the Dayton area.
Chewy, an online pet food and supply retailer, also has been active in the region. Chewy opened a 700,000-square-foot fulfillment center in June 2019, which created 600 new jobs. The company’s growth continued and soon it doubled the number of local jobs to 1,200.
Other companies that previously moved into NorthPoint buildings include Spectrum Brands (now part of Energizer Holdings company), Pratt Industries, ALPLA, Purina Mills and General Pet Supply.
NorthPoint isn’t the only developer taking advantage of the large swaths of buildable land near the airport. Indianapolis developer Pure Development also is building a massive industrial facility near the airport, and Cincinnati investor Schuermann Properties recently signed a tenant for the building it owns in the area.
The Pure Development facility, called Ascent Industrial Park Building One, is located in the city of Union, which borders the airport. The building boasts 1.2 million square feet, 500 dedicated trailer parking spaces and 700 employee parking spaces. A tenant for this property has yet to be announced.
A 55,000-square-foot property at 1170 Industrial Park Drive, which was purchased by Schuermann Properties at the end of July 2020, will be home to Fast Track It, a Cincinnati-based enterprise with dozens of locations in seven states. Fast Track It hosts daily online auctions of retail merchandise and business liquidation inventory. The company operates 28 locations in seven states, most of which are concentrated in Ohio and Kentucky.
With the growth of existing companies and several more projects on the way, development around the airport — and the new jobs and investment that come with it — should continue in the new year, providing some positive momentum at a time of economic uncertainty.