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Economy

Plans are in Place for Major Redevelopment of a Historic Ohio Aviation Site

A historic Ohio aviation site has been approved for major redevelopment.

The Wright Company Factory site in Dayton, home to the world's oldest airplane manufacturing facility, is slated to undergo additional development to its land in hopes of spurring growth to the local economy.

Dayton city officials have been working on a comprehensive redevelopment plan following their $1 million acquisition of the property in 2018. They look to welcome new housing, commercial spaces and a new $11 million processing facility expected to create 100 jobs.

Wednesday evening, city officials voted to move forward with projects to the site, which also include adding green space, event space, and a $12 million addition to the Dayton Metro Library.

Susan Vincent of the Dayton Planning Department said it’s a project that will help address the needs of the community.

Plans are in Place for Major Redevelopment of a Historic Ohio Aviation Site
Vincent on the site projects
Susan Vincent — Planner at the City of Dayton Dept. of Planning and Community Development

“This change from general industry to mixed-use hub will really support that cohesive redevelopment of the site and allow it to be more community-focused versus being really a heavy industrial one-use site,” she said.

The factory site was home to the Wright brothers airplane company operations dating back to 1909. The company produced approximately 120 airplanes in 13 different models and introduced industrial aviation, according the National Aviation Heritage Area [NAHA]. The facility eventually shut down in 2008.

Dayton purchased the 54-acre property in October 2018 to preserve the historic factory building for cultural and tourism purposes. In 2019, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The NAHA worked to restore two of the factory’s buildings. The local non-profit demolished nearly all the non-historical buildings that once surrounded the original factory, bringing the Wright brothers’ buildings into public view for the first time in generations.

As of right now, the buildings are closed to the public but will eventually be open for tours.

NAHA's vision for the Wright Company Factory.

"The factory will complete the story of the Wright brothers’ invention, development and commercialization of the airplane in Dayton," the NAHA stated in a 2014 press release.
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All current plans for redevelopment of the site should be complete in 2021.