These awards recognize and celebrate historic preservation leaders in the following categories:
- Dayton historic neighborhoods—Recognizes an outstanding preservationist in each of Dayton’s officially designated historic neighborhoods
- At-large—Outstanding preservationist(s) for the greater Dayton region
- Lifetime achievement—A major contributor to preservation causes over multiple decades
Criteria: Each award recognizes creative, inspirational leaders whose efforts have contributed to the protection, renovation, and revitalization of historic neighborhoods, individual structures, or strengthened the historic preservation movement or the quality of life in Dayton’s historic communities. Awards may celebrate neighborhood and community leaders, business owners and businesses, nonprofit organizations, government leaders, journalists and other dedicated individuals who have succeeded in protecting Dayton’s historic architecture and built environment.
Lifetime achievement award
Dayton Arcade and Much More!
In the mid-80’s, David Williams, as a recent college graduate in the design and construction field, became engaged with the Living City Project imagining how the best of the past could come back to life. This was only the beginning of a lifetime commitment to historic preservation using a mastery of advocacy, innovative design, financial creativity, and persistent tenacity.
Dayton was truly fortunate when Dave’s family moved to Oakwood from Pittsburgh when he was in the fifth grade. Dave’s commitment to historic preservation began with Dayton’s first ever urban loft living space, The Lofts on St. Clair. Here, he and his wife Susan began their family with the birth of their first daughter. Dave’s early influences came from time spent with family in Savannah, Georgia with Aunt Suzie and Uncle Nick and their friends the Adler’s. Lee (former Board Member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation) and Emma Adler and Nick and Suzie Williams were instrumental in resetting Savannah’s downtown, saving Savannah’s great historic fabric and the many squares and parks guarded by the amazing live oaks at every corner
They then moved to St Anne’s Hill where they restored their own home and several others in the neighborhood including 144 LaBelle, 601 McClain, and 228 Henry Street. But Dave has always been much more than a renovator of historic buildings. He is a creative community-builder and passionate space-maker. In St. Anne’s, the Williams were noted for their large neighborhood dinner parties. A non-functioning kitchen under renovation was no problem. They just washed piles of dishes in the bathtub. Dave is also known for coming up with creative acronyms and marketing concepts. It was in St. Anne’s where he created the progressive PPD’s—Porch, Patio, and Deck Progressive parties that gathered neighbors and friends from the suburbs together to enjoy their historic neighborhood while promoting downtown housing and living.
After his pioneering adaptive reuse with the downtown Lofts on St Clair, Dave took on an even more visionary project, The Cannery Apartments at East Third and Wayne Avenue. He also undertook this project simultaneously with the development of the Second Street market. All of these projects required both good design and creative financing to overcome bankers who were concerned about speculative investments in a dying downtown. And Dave delivered on every one of these challenging fronts.
The Lofts on St Clair required a commitment from a eight financial institutions for a modest size development of six residential units and three ground-level commercial spaces.
Just a couple of blocks away was one of Dayton’s best stands of late 1800’s warehouse buildings in a traditional manufacturing part of Dayton. Dave with his business partners Beth Duke and Stephen Greer took on an even more visionary project, “The Cannery” at 500 East Third. This group of 7 warehouse buildings total 250,000 sf. included 156 loft apartments, 40,000 sf of commercial space and 135 parking spaces, moved loft housing to the next stage. The Cannery, at the other end of the scale, required a unique public-private partnership, and Dave was successful in securing the first loan from the National Trust for Historic Preservation ever provided to a private sector developer.
Right from the beginning, Dave has never been your typical hands-off developer. With each of these projects, Dave was at the forefront contributing his own sweat-equity and talent for energizing community support. For example, while the farmers’ market was at the Cannery Warehouse at Fourth and Wayne, Dave and Beth were up every single Saturday morning for two years at five a.m. to make sure vendors were happy and the market was a success. This success, thanks to their hard work, influenced National City Bank to buy naming rights and invest in the historic tax credits. Five Rivers MetroParks provided the funding for the conversion of former deteriorated Baltimore & Ohio outbound freight house which our entire region enjoys today as the Second Street Public Market.
At the Cannery, Dave dove into the ultimate in creative design. He personally worked on the “Got to Make the Donuts” project which created swirling designs on 500 interior doors making the Cannery apartments even more attractive and unique. Using geothermal heating and cooling, the Cannery was also at the forefront of sustainability in Dayton. The project’s innovative use of Dayton’s abundant green energy sources earned Dave a spotlight as a speaker at the National Trust for Historic Preservation annual conference.
Dave also took his St. Anne’s social planning skills to the next level and created the massive community celebration in the Cannery Alley Way called “Can Openers”. Additionally, he helped to organize and host the sale of NCR’s irreplaceable collection of wooden molds at the Cannery.
By anchoring the east side of downtown with the Cannery project, Dave is truly the heart and soul of the renovation of new businesses, restaurants , and housing we have seen all along East Third Street and around Webster Station. As one of Dave’s nominators said, “If it wasn’t for Dave, we all would be eating a McDonald’s on Saturday afternoon.”
Each one of these transformative efforts required advocacy, innovative design, financial creativity and a lot of tenacity when things went sideways. But Dave’s major challenge was yet to come.
In 2014, Dave was hired by Citywide Development, in partnership with the City of Dayton, to jump start downtown housing development. He was assigned the task to harness an emerging Ohio demand for urban market-rate housing as well as attract quality, experienced and savvy adaptive reuse developers to Dayton to attack the redevelopment of many of our beautiful historic (and vacant) downtown buildings. Dave’s first order of analysis was to calculate what it would cost to demolish five major Main Street buildings. He penciled out a cost of about $25 million with the potential loss of tax credit equity in the range of $50 million to $75 million to get to five vacant lots. That caught the attention of everyone and began the conversion of people advocating for demolition to people advocating adaptive reuse. Dave then met the task by helping developers find hidden opportunities not only for adaptive reuse but brand-new products like townhomes. He educated everyone about the wide variety of financial tools including federal and state tax credits, new market tax credits, PACE and LIHTC. Whatever it took. But, of course, with a little nudging from Dave to do it right.
Also in 2014, the city had come to the heartbreaking decision that the Arcade might never happen and was now a public nuisance. The mayor formed a task force to prepare the community for the inevitable. Dave Williams and John Gower took the lead on the task force. Dave made the sagacious observation that sentiment had run its course. If the Arcade was to rise again, it would need to be based on sound financials and not wishful thinking. The task force hired both a professional demolition consultant and an adapted reuse consultant. Everything was on the table.
Dave argued if demolition was the soundest policy, it must include not only what we think of as the Arcade but also the Commercial Building, McCrory’s, and the 25 South Main building to create a decent development parcel. The estimate to remove the buildings ranged from $8 million to $12 million. The result of that approach would leave a very difficult vacant parcel to redevelop. The Task Force then balanced that information with the analysis from the adaptive reuse consultants – Sandvick Architects from Cleveland. What began to emerge was a practical approach that identified the redevelopment of the Arcade as a financial possibility.
In the spring of 2016, Dave went to work with the Miller-Valentine Group. MV had become the development partner for the proposed artist housing conversion. Dave worked as a critical Arcade team member with the Miller-Valentine team and Bill Struever of Cross Street Partners of Baltimore. Bill was the lead visionary that was shepherding the Arcade development vision. And in his spare-time, Dave couldn’t resist activating space in the Miller-Valentine Building into a creative space he dubbed the ”The Kitchen” to cook up creative approaches to adaptive reuse.
In October of 2017, Dave went to work for Cross Street Partners to continue to work on the Arcade project. He used every bit of his skillset to help the team advance the effort. During the most stressful and suspenseful process of finalizing the capital stack for the first phase of the Arcade, Dave broke his ankle in three places, underwent a three-hour surgery, and was restricted from any weight-bearing activity for 14 weeks. In the eleventh hour and despite these challenges, Dave was at the forefront of bringing all the financing sources over the finish line. In April of 2019, the South Arcade (first phase of the project south of the alley) had its financial closing.
Dave has now spent most of his waking hours of the last 4 years working with the Arcade team to get it to its opening. Dave has been the oil in the crankcase. Hourly and daily coordination for Cross Street, McCormack-Baron and the Model Group partners, committed and potential tenants, design, marketing, finance – anything that you could think of makes his continuing leadership incalculable. Out of Dave’s brilliant brain came the idea for The Tank – an underground pitch pit in the round in the old food court area, a new vertical circulation concept that would connect all of the buildings with a new skylight and the primary compass point being identified on the decorative medallions of the rotunda. This makes us wonder if Dave’s entire career was the preparation that would be needed to help the Arcade rise from the ashes like a Phoenix. What a gift for his hometown!
What we now love about the Arcade is not merely a restored Arcade but a completely re-imagined city within a city. Dave has brought all his skills to bear… advocacy, innovative design, financial creativity, persistent tenacity, creative event and space-making, passion and imagination to the Arcade Dream Team!
While Dave has spent years rebuilding and reshaping his city, he has also been working tirelessly behind the scenes to advance the Preservation Dayton cause by working with community advocates, influencers, opinion makers, local, state and federal lawmakers. In addition to his engaged activist role in the early days of Preservation Dayton, he has been involved with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and most recently with Heritage Ohio. Dave is a board member of Heritage Ohio. Most recently, when the federal tax code was overhauled several years ago, the federal historic tax credits and many of the provisions were placed at risk with the legislation. As a member of the Heritage Ohio board and coalition of activist members, he played a key role with the entire Heritage Ohio delegation as they travelled to Washington D.C. to meet with the Ohio congressional delegation. Ohio federal elected officials from both sides of the aisle played a pivotal role in saving the historic tax credits and Dayton is continuing to benefit from that to this very day.
Dave Williams truly deserves to be just one of three Life-time Achievement award winners recognized by Preservation Dayton for his unsurpassed “Excellence in Historic Preservation.”
Huffman Historic District
Becky Osgood Howard
55 Linden Ave.
The Huffman Historic Neighborhood is proud to present the “Excellence in Preservation Award” to Becky Osgood Howard for her remarkable renovation and stewardship of several homes in their neighborhood.
Grafton Hill Historic District
221 Belmonte Park East
Cheryl Bates is a well-deserved and double-award recipient for her commitment to historic preservation. She is the recipient of Grafton Hill’s Excellence in Preservation Award and also the recipient of PDI’s city-wide At-Large Award for her remarkable preservation successes throughout Dayton.
South Park Historic District
Galen and Betsy Wilson & Mike and Diana Regnier
326 & 322 Park Drive
In early 2017, 326 and 322 Park Drive were purchased as a joint rehab venture by Galen and Betsy Wilson and Mike and Diana Regnier. These adjacent properties, built in the 1910s, had been joined in the 1950s by a large addition across the rear of both houses. Containing an industrial kitchen and offices, this addition made it possible to use the joined properties as a nursing home. Approved by the city in the 1970s to house 61 residents, the business continued under ever-deteriorating management until being shut down in 2015. Together, the Wilsons and Regniers financed removal of a 15-foot-wide section of the addition to separate the houses, after which each worked independently on their respective structures.
OREGON HISTORIC DISTRICT
Audria and Ebi Maki, Owners of Reza's Roast
438 Wayne Ave.
The Oregon Historic District is proud to nominate Audria and Ebi Maki of Reza’s Roast for the 2020 Excellence in Historic Preservation Award. When the Maki’s purchased the building at 438 Wayne Ave., it was “basically a mess with a very cool loft apartment upstairs.” Audria was lovingly in charge of designing the new space for their downtown cafe and made sure to research the original building, keeping the original details intact that she could, and make the new design seem as if everything had always been there. Audria focused on incorporating natural light, multiple intimate seating spaces, and a focus on inclusivity by making the cafe family friendly with a nursing room, and easily accessible handicap entrances and spaces.
Five Oaks Historic Districts
Wright-Dunbar Village &
MCPHERSON TOWN HISTORIC DISTRICT
Michael Jacobs & Gretchen Durst
101 McDaniels St.
Since moving into the neighborhood in 2011, Michael Jacobs and Gretchen Durst have embarked on a handful of renovation and preservation activities which have strengthened the McPherson Town neighborhood. In 2011, Michael and Gretchen purchased 101 McDaniel Street out of foreclosure and began significant improvements to the nearly 5,000 sf stately home. They have methodically returned the corner giant into the marquee corner icon of the neighborhood.
ST. ANNE'S HILL HISTORIC DISTRICT
Adam and Jason Coatney-Schuler
1505 E. Fourth St.
The Board of Trustees of St. Anne’s Hill Historic District Society is proud to nominate Adam and Jason Coatney-Schuler for the 2020 Excellence in Historic Preservation Award. Adam and Jason bought 1505 E. Fourth St. and 1507 E. Fourth St. in February 2013.