January 26, 2021
Recreation and housing could one day be situated on the site of a former Dayton Power & Light plant, with a riverfront locale that suggests waterfront housing, dining and shopping possibilities, the development director for the property’s new owner said.
Manufacturing opportunities might exist as well, said Pat Ford, business development director for Frontier Industrial.
Earlier this month, Frontier bought the former 365-megawatt power station property with about 200 acres off the Great Miami River in Miamisburg for just more than $866,000.
Buffalo, N.Y,-based Frontier describes itself as a “world-class, comprehensive, industrial contractor offering a wide range of demolition and redevelopment services.”
“We really believe this is one of Montgomery County’s greatest treasures,” Ford said in an interview with the Dayton Daily News. “I mean, the architectural details and this art-deco design are priceless.”
The plant’s towering stacks might be incorporated into a future design for the site, if their structural integrity allows that, Ford said.
Which leads to the question — what will Frontier tear down and what will the company retain there? “That’s what we’re working on now,” he said.
“Considering our proximity on the Great Miami River, we see some recreation there, we see some housing there,” he said. “We think it’s ideally situated to have some waterfront housing.”
Frontier’s business is positioning energy, manufacturing and industrial sites for redevelopment. The company deconstructs properties, remediates environmental problems and “turns them actually from brown fields to jobs fields or home fields,” Ford said.
He said Frontier has already spoken with Miamisburg and Montgomery County officials, as well Joseph Geraghty, executive director of the Dayton-Montgomery Port Authority.
Ford estimated that remediation, design and development could take three or more years. He said no interested prospective buyers have contacted his company.
“We don’t treat each property the same,” he said. “They’re unique.”
In June, Frontier took over about 2,500 acres of a shuttered American Electric Power plant in Conesville, Ohio, near Coshocton. According to a report in the Coshocton Tribune, the objective there is to develop an industrial park.
Demolition of structures and remediation of land in Conesville will take about seven years, that newspaper reported.
Ford said Frontier has worked with a site in Mingo Junction, Ohio, as well.
The Dayton Daily News reported in 2012 that the Miamisburg station faced significant costs in adapting to then-newer U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations to reduce mercury and other heavy metals in smokestack emissions. The Hutchings power plant dated to the late 1940s and was considered the only local DP&L plant that could not meet the new EPA regulations, it was reported at the time.
Many utilities then were closing older generation facilities because it was cost-prohibitive to meet standards.
Before it was closed, the six coal-fired units at Hutchings provided about 360 megawatts of electricity, and the plant at one time employed about 50 people.
Asbestos is on the site and that needs remediated before there is any demolition, Ford said. The early stages of that work are happening now, he said.
Still, Ford said he would not be surprised to see deconstruction happen this year.