2020 Report

Relief & Resilience through a Challenging Year

Updated January 2021 | Check back for additional updates & reports.

One of the best things about the downtown Dayton community is how we’re always there for each other. Time and time again, through some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable, we’ve seen this city pull together, support each other in incredible ways, and have each other’s back.

The pandemic continues to make things hard on our downtown businesses – they are struggling through no fault of their own, and that struggle will increase as the weather turns colder. We want to thank you all for everything you’ve done to support these businesses during a very difficult time, and we strongly encourage you to continue to do so in any way you can. You help is appreciated, and it is needed now, more than ever.

Much of the work we typically report on has been impacted by COVID-19. Nevertheless, progress still continues in our downtown, and we want to share with you some of the center city’s accomplishments through this year, along with updates on some of the initiatives enacted to provide relief to our businesses.



The COVID-19 pandemic has been extraordinarily difficult on all of us, but that is especially true for the independent small businesses that are the soul and lifeblood of our downtown. These businesses are strong and resilient, and have shown an inspiring ability to adapt and find new ways to remain open, continuing to provide their products and services despite the overwhelming challenges they’re facing.

The Downtown Dayton Partnership has also tried to adapt and find new ways to support our businesses and our downtown community. This work will continue through the winter, as the weather turns colder and businesses face a new set of challenges.

This new, local fund provided small grants to help cover operating expenses and provide bridge/gap assistance to downtown's locally-owned consumer businesses.

The CareSource Foundation provided a $500,000 lead donation to help fund this program. In addition, the Downtown Dayton Partnership invested $200,000 in the fund.

For this initiative, the DDP set up an online ordering system allowing customers to purchase a $25 gift card to a participating business, and receive an additional $15 gift card to another downtown business. Each round sold out in just a few hours. Through the sale of 6,700 total cards, the program made a total impact of approximately $150,000 for downtown small businesses.

The DDP worked with the City of Dayton to establish new guidelines for restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and other food and beverage small businesses to expand their outdoor dining areas. The Pop-Up Patio pilot program provides explicit guidelines and directions to increase capacity for outdoor seating.

We also continue to maintain our OPEN* Downtown online resources that we began in March. Lists of downtown restaurants and bars, retail and service businesses, and things to do are kept up to date with the latest ways these businesses have adapted to remain OPEN* in some fashion during the COVID-19 crisis.

In another effort to expand business space, the DDP organized a pilot program which closed Fifth Street in the Oregon District to vehicular traffic on weekends. Out on 5th allowed restaurants, retailers, and other businesses to spill out into the street, increasing their capacity for outdoor seating, retail space, and other uses.

The pilot program brought customers back downtown in numbers we haven’t seen since before the pandemic, and many businesses reported sales on par with pre-pandemic times, giving them a much needed financial boost.

Out on 5th launched in conjunction with the debut of the Oregon District’s Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA), which allowed customers to take alcoholic beverages outside within the DORA zone.

Building on the success of the gift card bonus buy program, the DDP recently launched a new initiative called Downtown Dollars.

Downtown Dollars is a new e-gift card program that provides an easy way for our community to support downtown businesses with quick, convenient, cashless currency you keep on your phone. The program offers more flexibility to support your favorite local businesses, as the cards are redeemable at nearly 70 participating downtown businesses. More info can be found here.

The DDP worked with several organizations to support the unique needs of downtown's consumer-driven workforce. A local restaurant consultant helped downtown eateries and retailers pivot to better facilitate online sales. Downtown legal and accounting professionals also helped businesses navigate federal relief programs.

The Downtown Dayton Partnership and the City of Dayton announced a new strategy aimed at increasing potential for sales of downtown's collection of local restaurants, retailers, pubs, and other downtown businesses. Customers can now access Pick-up Zones: free, temporary parking spaces specifically for carry-out, curbside pickup, and delivery drivers retrieving orders.

The Pick-up Zones are located in on-street spaces currently designated as loading zones or metered parking. The Zones are marked with highly visible, green-branded signage. Vehicles with their flashers on are permitted to park at no cost for up to 10 minutes within the zone. More info on the Pick-up Zones can be found here.

Special Thanks

These relief efforts have been possible thanks to the generosity and partnership of countless people and organizations: CareSource, DP&L, City of Dayton, Montgomery County, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce Education and Public Improvement Foundation, CityWide Development, CODE Credit Union, Charles Simms Development, Don's Pawn Shop, Dayton's The Rubi Girls, Miller Valentine Group, Cross Street Partners, Requarth Lumber, MLA Companies, RSM, Coolidge Wall, Faruki, BCVA Law, Miami Valley SBDC, and many more.

Tracking Downtown Investment

The Greater Downtown Dayton Plan has provided the framework for many investments both in the core and throughout the surrounding area. These investments continue to accumulate, fostering a more connected and vibrant city center.

Office Towers on the Rise

A new class of office tower owners have continued to make major investments and improvements, including lobby upgrades, new murals, remodeled office spaces, new amenities, and more.

Dayton's tallest building, STRATACACHE Tower, notably shines brighter than ever after the addition of new signage and an expansive restoration of the building's exterior. At Talbott Tower, a newly renovated lobby welcomes tenants and visitors. These are just a few of the many historic buildings being transformed into modern, urban workspaces that inspire creativity and collaboration.

The Downtown Dayton Partnership has continued to capture and share these stories through ELEVATE, a video series highlighting investment, energy, and transformation inside downtown Dayton’s office buildings. View the series at DowntownDayton.org/elevate and keep an eye out for more episodes in 2021.

Development Progress

Several of the downtown’s most anticipated development projects have continued working toward completion.

Crawford Hoying and Woodard Development announced their next collaboration, a 125-unit building on Monument Ave. These developers continue attract new businesses and residents as they build on their successful investments in downtown's northeast quadrant.

Cross Street Partners, Model Group, and McCormack Baron Salazar have pushed to keep the highly complex restoration and reconstruction work moving forward at the Arcade. They're on track to open the doors to Phase I early in 2021.

Windsor is bringing the Fire Blocks District vision to life. They opened two major residential buildings this year and announced multiple new first floor and office tenants in the FBD. Windsor's investments now also expand well beyond the Fire Blocks District.

Lindy Communities continues to make substantial upgrades at St. Clair Lofts, The Flats on Jefferson, and The View at Dayton Towers. Their investments are key ingredients to the continued strength of downtown's residential market, and their retail spaces have been vital launchpads for downtown entrepreneurs.

Weyland Ventures and Gosiger are moving forward on a long-term vision for the area extending east from the Oregon District. They completed the Dayton Motor Car building this year and announced The 503, a new apartment building at the corner of Fourth St. and Wayne Ave.


Despite the pandemic, downtown housing continues to grow in popularity, and in the number of units. There are now 1,807 market-rate housing units in our urban core – a 77% increase since 2010, with another 308 in the pipeline (30 already under construction).

Launching The Retail Lab

Earlier this year, the Downtown Dayton Partnership, in collaboration with the Entrepreneurs Center and a cast of small business partners, kicked off the new Downtown Dayton Retail Lab. The Lab is an intensive 12-week experience for business owners aiming to launch or grow their first-floor business in downtown Dayton. The program received 36 applications and accepted 11 businesses into its first cohort. The next cohort will launch in early 2021. Learn more at DowntownDayton.org/retail-lab.

The Downtown Environment

Clean & Safe

The DDP oversees the Downtown Dayton Ambassador Program. Our downtown Ambassadors have continued their work keeping the city clean and safe. A summary of the Ambassadors’ work through the third quarter of 2020 is below:

Going Further | 2020 Quarterly Reports

For more information about 2020 projects and progress, check out the quarterly Your Downtown Updates. These progress reports provide updates on the DDP's strategic initiatives, as well as summaries of downtown development activities throughout the year.

Q1 | Q2 | Q3


Sandy Gudorf
President, Downtown Dayton Partnership
(937) 224-1518 ext. 224