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DAYTON, OH-The largest office tenant yet, Thompson Hine LLP, has signed a letter of intent to move into one two office buildings in the projected $230 million Ballpark Village, which would be built to the north of the existing Dayton Dragons baseball stadium. The mixed-use project, which is to include retail centers, entertainment, office and multifamily properties, is a plan by a joint venture of the team’s owner, Mandalay Baseball Properties LLC and Bear Creek Capital LLC. The venture is now working with the city to determine whether TIF funds can help bring the project to life, and a decision is reportedly to come by next month.

Thompson, the city’s largest law firm, has agreed to lease 45,489 sf at the top of the first office building to be constructed on the site. Besides the entire top floor, the company would operate out of a portion of the floor below. The office building designed has yet to be announced, though Geoffrey Adaire, senior VP and managing director with Studley, tells GlobeSt.com that plans include a building expandable to 120,000 sf, the first building to be constructed at the site, and at least another building that would bring the total of office from 300,000 to 500,000 sf.

The law firm is planning on a 10-year lease, and would move out of its current digs at 10 West 2nd Tower by March 2009. Thompson has been at the building, renamed from its former moniker MeadWestvaco Tower, since 1976. “The company wanted to stay in Downtown Dayton, but had some issues with the viability of the office,” says Adaire, who represented the company in the lease intent. “Their space is 30 years old, and does not reflect how attorneys practice law now. This new lease will allow the company to design its own space, and allow big floorplates.” He would not reveal the lease rate, but says it is “aggressive” when compared to the local office lease rate of $18 to $22 per sf, gross. Cincinnati-based Bear Creek represented the developers in the proposed transaction.

The project includes a three-pronged redevelopment of land along the Great Miami River in the northeast quadrant of downtown. On the 37-acre Parkside site, land currently owned by the Dayton Metropolitan Housing Authority would be redeveloped as a retail center featuring big box stores for $40 million, according to city officials. The Deeds Point Site, 12-acres operated now as city park space, would have high-density, multifamily units that would include apartments and/or condos, for $77 million. The Webster Station Site, 23 acres of land adjacent to Fifth Third Field, would be redeveloped as a mixed-use entertainment, retail, office and residential project, including restaurants and off-street parking facilities, for $80 million. The rest of the cost would be for utility and infrastructure improvements.

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