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Some are buying, developing properties in downtown Dayton as Premier Health looks to sell

While officials with Premier Health look to shed the company’s downtown Dayton support building system because of a shift in workplace needs, there are others looking to buy and develop property in the city’s core.

>> RELATED: Premier Health to explore the high-rise sale of downtown Dayton

Brent Crawford, principal and founder of Crawford-Hoying, a developer out of Columbus, has purchased more than a dozen properties in Dayton and plans to add an office here.

“Everything we’ve added to the district in the region has done extremely well,” Crawford told News Center 7’s Gabrielle Enright on Thursday night.

Crawford said Crawford-Hoying saw the announcement Thursday about Premier’s desire to sell its Premier System Support building, “but from an acquisition perspective, it doesn’t really fit our criteria right now. Part of it is we’re working to create a destination around the ballpark and the properties that surround there.”

Chris Bhai, general manager at Brixx Ice Company, which is in the area around the ballpark, said post-pandemic business has vanished.

“When everybody was working from home. none of that business was to be had,” Bhai said.

Working from home is the chief reason Premier Health officials announced their intention to put the high-rise up for sale. At one point, approximately 1,000 people worked in that building. Now, about 200 are there.

“This significant shift, combined with the need for Premier Health to strengthen its financial position, has contributed to a decision to sell the building,” a spokesman for the Premier told the News Center 7 late Thursday afternoon.

Bhai went all in on Dayton 20 years ago and wants others to do the same now.

“I do believe there’s enough people to support the level of business that continues to come here.

“I talked with the co-owner of Uno’s pizzeria and grill right next door. They said they lost 70 percent of their lunch business after the pandemic and Premier Health workers started working from home.”

Officials with Premier have told News Center 7 they are committed to Dayton and even after the building sells Premier plans to lease space in the building.