Eco-Friendly Company to Create New Life for Dayton Marina

Written by Jessie Stringfield, RCN contributor

The Manhattan Harbor Marina in Dayton is to be revitalized by Waterfront Development Group (WDG) following approval by the Dayton City Council last Tuesday.

The small council chambers was filled with spectators curious about the future of this important part of the city.

The Manhattan Harbor Marina, established 29 years ago and formerly owned by DCI, fell into bankruptcy 18 months ago. Park National, also known as River Park Properties LLC, took over the property and on Aug 1, the lease was mutually terminated as a result of an agreement between River Park Properties and the City of Dayton.

The City of Dayton then started pursuing bids from development groups seeking to revitalize the marina. Seven companies entered the first round of bidding and only three continued to a next round of bidding. The final bid was between North Shore, Waterfront Development Group (WDG) and Red Bank Creek-Stark.

The decision between all three companies took some time. "This was no easy situation. It was complicated and we recognized all of their capabilities. It's very difficult to choose something or someone subjectively but sometimes you have to be subjective", said City Administrator Dennis Redmond. "Any of the three companies would have made terrific operators and developers. We thank them for their business approach."

During the city council meeting, representatives from both North Shore and Red Bank Creek-Stark made statements regarding the bidding process in an effort to guide the business their way. No WDG representatives were present. 

The meeting reached a stern moment between the involved parties and resulted in a request to postpone the vote.

Voting commenced and WDG snagged the bid.

"We respect all the companies who submitted a bid," said Redmond, "We respect them for advocating aggressively for their clients. WDG won because of their overall experience and enthusiasm."

The partners of WDG feature their own Certified Public Accountants, an experienced restaurant manager and skilled contractors. Their proposal for the revitalization of the 37 acres of the marina, in addition to the development of the 9.6 acres to the west of the marina, is exactly what the City of Dayton is searching for to bring the marina back to life.

Changes are already taking place and WDG is thrilled.

"We were fully honored that the city chose us. It was the high point of my life,” said Tim Weiss, WDG partner and former manager of Mynt Martini in Downtown Cincinnati. Weiss resigned from Mynt Martini to pursue the unique opportunity to create affordable dining options for the marina with WDG. "We will have a top-notch dining experience and we are kicking things off all day on Sunday. It will be lighter outdoor fare with a gourmet flair."

A new dining atmosphere for the marina is not the only goal for WDG. Overall operations for the marina will be done in a new way as well. "We want to be the top in the world for sustainability. Our goal is to use close to zero energy in the next 24 months. We will be composting and recycling," said Weiss, "It is a keystone of our company. We have strong ecological values and we will be using renewable energy such as LED lighting and solar energy."

A reliable, exciting new marina is on the horizon. "This year, we expect to pick up loose ends down there and bring the facility back to the standard by which boaters can rely on their services,” said Redmond.

“We believe that Dayton is a 'Diamond in the Rough' and should be returned to its’ former glory," said Weiss.
Photo: Dayton Marina/Jessie Stringfield