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DMS close to closing Dayton Street deal

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One of the final major hurdles for the sale of 888 Dayton St., the former home of the Antioch Company, was cleared last Thursday, Jan. 7. The Greene County Board of Commissioners approved an enterprise zone agreement that sets the terms for the purchase of the property by Dayton-based Dayton Mailing Services, or DMS. Under that agreement, which was signed by county, Village and company representatives, the Village will abate a portion of property taxes on improvements to the facility over the next 10 years. In return, DMS has committed to certain employment, payroll and capital expenditure targets.

“I’m just elated,” said Village Council President Karen Wintrow on Tuesday. “They’re a good company and very interested in this community.”

Though a closing date hasn’t been set, it could be as early as next week, said Wintrow.

But DMS isn’t just poised to move here. The company is planning to expand the Dayton Street building’s current 95,000 square feet by 50,000 square feet, or nearly 50 percent. According to Christine Soward, president of DMS, a family-owned company founded by her father in 1984, the move to Yellow Springs accommodates her business’s growth and evolution from a more traditional mailing services company to a “one-stop-shop” that combines high-tech mailing services with digital printing, data management and creative services.

Under her leadership over the past 10 years, the company has added national and international clients in the financial, healthcare, insurance, government and retail industries, Soward said on Monday. Quarters are currently tight at the company’s downtown Dayton facility, and the space there, parceled out over four floors, isn’t conducive to the integration of DMS’s multiple lines of business, she added.

“Being on one floor is key for us,” she said.

The company plans to keep its Dayton building, but will locate its headquarters and most of its operations in Yellow Springs.

The Dayton Street property was formerly occupied by Creative Memories, part of the Antioch Company, which made major capital improvements prior to leaving in 2013, according to Pete Williams, Director of Development for Greene County.

DMS got wind of the site last fall, said Williams. When present owner Yellow Springs, LLC, unexpectedly put the property up for sale, DMS took another look.
Things moved fast from there, according to Wintrow.

“I think we did a great job of responding,” she said of Village officials. Village Council passed legislation approving the enterprise zone agreement at its Dec. 21 meeting, paving the way for the Greene County Commissioners to consider it in early January. Because the 888 Dayton St. property was zoned for multi-tenant use, in line with expectations about likely occupants, a conditional use permit was needed to allow DMS to move its manufacturing operations there, according to Wintrow. (Existing tenants will stay in the building, but DMS will occupy the majority of the space, plus the planned expansion.)

“Our planning commission turned around a conditional use permit on Dec. 28,” Wintrow said.

The enterprise zone agreement is currently being filed with the state, said Williams on Tuesday. Under its terms, the new owners of 888 Dayton St. will continue to pay $20,000 annually on the existing $700,000 property value. That money is divided among six local and county entities, Williams said, notably Yellow Springs schools. However, 75 percent of new tax revenue from the company’s planned $1.5 million expansion to the building will be abated. This means that about $30,000 annually in additional property tax will not be collected, said Williams, or about $300,000 over the agreement’s 10-year period. (An extra $10,000 per year will be collected from the expansion.)

In exchange for the tax abatement, DMS agrees to three main terms. The first is to bring at least 90 full-time employees to the Dayton Street site over the next two years. Soward said the company currently employs just under 80 workers, and plans to move them over to Yellow Springs, as well as add new positions across all the facets of its business, including press operation, sales, customer service, IT/programming and creative services.

“We’re growing, and the new space will help,” she said. Relocating to Yellow Springs makes the company more centrally located for its workers, some of whom live in Springfield. And the “new pool” of talent in and around Yellow Springs fits with the type of workers the company is looking to add, she explained.
“We see Yellow Springs as having potential employees,” Soward said, while also emphasizing the company’s commitment to growing expertise in-house.

Under the second term of the enterprise zone agreement, DMS commits to maintaining a $3.2 million payroll over the next 10 years, which translates into increased income tax revenue for the Village and county. And under the third term, it agrees to making capital expenditures of at least $3.9 million over the 10-year timeframe.
“All of these targets must be met,” said Williams. “The agreement is legally binding.”

Targets are reviewed annually by a group called the Tax Incentive Review Council, or TIRC. If a company is not meeting its commitments, an abatement can be pulled, or its terms renegotiated, he explained. However, companies are usually given a one to two year initial window to “rev up” to compliance.

In this case, all parties say they feel on solid ground.

“We are thrilled and humbled by how Yellow Springs has opened their arms to us,” said Soward, noting that she and her husband, Vice President Ken Soward, felt there was an “extra personal touch” among officials in Yellow Springs.

“I love that they are taking the building back to what it was,” reflected Wintrow, referring to the longtime ownership of the Antioch Company. “There’s a full circle kind of thing that just feels right.”

A more in-depth article about DMS and its owners will appear in next week’s paper.


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