TROY — Economic growth is imminent in the coming years along the 25-A corridor between Troy and Piqua, and interested citizens met Tuesday to discuss the focus of that growth.
The meeting was headed by Kim Littleton, community planning manager of Burton Planning Services, and Rick Stein, principal and owner of Urban Decision Group, who laid out a five-year projection of growth along the corridor.
Stein emphasized that, based upon findings from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one of the most pressing needs in Miami County in the next decade will be assisted living.
“Right now, the county has just under 500 assisted living beds, and a little under 800 nursing-care beds,” Stein said. “In the next five years, you could add another 625 assisted living beds. That’s a market opportunity literally today. My guess is that developers of this product are already looking for sites in the county to build, so there is demand for it. We’ve determined that there are spaces within our planning area that are compatible for assisted-living facilities.
”Nursing-care is not expected to increase at that same rate, with only 48 beds in the next five years, and one big reason for that is that the current health care trend is to keep patients comfortable in one place for as long as possible.”
Stein cited Koester Pavilion, which was erected in 1977, as an example for the concerns of aging medical facilities.
“The older these facilities get, the more expensive it is to keep them modernized and retro-fitted,” Stein said. “When that price exceeds the price of building new facilities, that’s when the older ones are taken offline, and many of them are approaching that threshold.”
Along with proper assisted living facilities come administrative buildings, and Stein was careful to highlight the need for those as well.
“There isn’t anywhere I’ve worked across the United States where medical care was not one of the fastest-growing demands in a given area,” Stein said. “Your overall office market vacancy rate is about 30 oercent. That’s pretty high, but it’s high everywhere. One trend now is retro-fitting existing office space, completely re-zoning them and inserting retail and residential space. Not a lot of people are building new office space right now except for medical care.
”Medical office is still in demand. Within the Miami Valley, we’re looking to add about 6,000 jobs for medical office, including doctors, nurses, and everything that goes with that. That’s an increase of 25 percent in the next seven years.”
Stein went on to discuss the need for jobs in other fields, highlighting industrial work as a need mostly being met already in the county.
“In the next seven years, the Miami Valley can expect another 6,400 industrial jobs, which is an increase of 15 percent,” Stein said. “Miami County happens to hold 25 percenet of those within the Dayton region, which is pretty high for a single county. It should be noted, too, that there’s a lot of changes coming in manufacturing. Automation and robotics will likely, in the long term, reduce demand for manufacturing jobs while increasing the amount of space taken up by those jobs.”
It was highlighted that the ample space available off of I-75 exit 78 would be attractive to large companies looking to place warehouse distribution facilities.
“Being on the interstate is something that might be very attractive to this industry,” Stein said. “The cheaper it is to get product from a warehouse point to the highway, the better. That’s how they tend to select locations, in fact.”
Service industries such as restaurants and retail were discussed as possibilities, but Stein made it clear that these were likely to be secondary additions to the area, mostly as a result of bigger industry. Stein did suggest that recent studies indicated need for a large hotel within the county.
“A lot of hotels like to be near an interchange, so it would be plausible for one to build near this interchange,” Stein said. “If that happened, it would induce some other things. There’d be likelihood of added fast food and fast-casual restaurants, as well as the build-up of some storefront retail.
“By and large, supply and demand are in balance, and no area was really calling out to us on these needs, so we’re not recommending any significant retail development in this area. It generally makes more sense to place those services closer to core centers, where more resources are available. The same goes for single-family housing. That stuff needs to be in a place that’s better equipped to handle it.”
Some Miami County residents have voiced concerns over the corridor losing its rural feel, and Stein agreed the area losing all of its agricultural drive would not be necessary or desirable.
“I would never recommend that we get rid of agricultural uses in the area whole-sale,” Stein said. “Quite the contrary, because they’re still making money, and that industry is really important. However, the closer these tracts get to this 25-A corridor, particularly near the Interstate, the math on their resale value changes, and it wouldn’t surprise me if a number of developers are sniffing around to gather information on people willing to sell.”
Alternative maps were provided to those in attendance that highlighted possible placement of future industry sites, as well as graphs indicating the area’s rate of growth. Another meeting will be held on an unspecified date in February with more developments.
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