West Carrollton wants land near I-75 for proposed entertainment district

By Nick Blizzard - Dayton Daily News

WEST CARROLLTON — West Carrollton plans to buy more land near Interstate 75 and the Great Miami River for nearly $500,000, expanding its control and development options for an approved entertainment district.

The city is looking to buy two small pieces of riverfront property, giving it about five contiguous acres near I-75’s Exit 47 on the Great Miami River. It has nearly 14 more acres across the street, where it is demolishing the former Carrollton Plaza that it bought last year.

“What I want to do is start talking with developers, looking at the properties as a whole,” West Carrollton Economic Development Director Mike Lucking said. “But they can also stand separately on their own as well.

“At this point (we’ll) talk to the local development community or the regional development community and explain the opportunity that we have if we can find somebody that we have a match with.”

The two parcels the city is looking to buy are 5649 and 5449 Marina Drive, which total less than an acre. But West Carrollton Mayor Jeff Sanner called the plan “excellent” because of how those help the city increase its total controlled acreage.

City officials have long viewed the former Carrollton Plaza site on Dixie Drive as a potential anchor site for the Miami Bend Entertainment District. The district, approved several years ago by the state, consists of hundreds of acres around I-75 and the river, including the Dixie/Central Avenue corridor ending at the West Carrollton Civic Center, records show.

The city’s goal for the 18-plus acres near I-75 is to attract users that would focus on entertainment, recreation, restaurants and possibly lodging, Lucking said. The regional bike path runs along the river in West Carrollton, further expanding possibilities, he said.

Before the entertainment district received Ohio approval, there were discussions about an events center or arena. That concept hasn’t been ruled out.

“We can’t predict absolutely what the end product is going to look like,” Lucking said. “But our goal is to try to bring things to that location that capitalize upon the river site — things that are complementary to that location and could be restaurant-oriented that would benefit from that type of location or recreation-oriented, whether it be something like canoes or a bicycle orientation … That’s what a win would be for us at that location.”

The purchase of the Marina Drive properties, which would cost about $482,000, “will complete the city’s efforts to consolidate the future redevelopment efforts of the land along the river,” West Carrollton City Manager Brad Townsend said in a statement.

The city’s goal is to close on the two parcels by the end of the year, Lucking said. Both properties include buildings which the city plans on demolishing. The former site of Profile Digital Printing LLC is at the 5449 address, and Joe’s Garage is at the 5649 address.

The city said it has obtained approval for a $250,000 state capital improvement grant to assist with the purchase of Joe’s Garage. The funds are dispersed through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for riverfront enhancement projects. The purchase agreement calls for a $330,000 purchase price for the 0.52-acre property.

The city said it will obtain a loan for the remainder of the Joe’s Garage purchase cost, as well as for the purchase of the 0.32-acre Profile Digital Printing site. The company went out of business earlier this summer.

The proposed agreement for this property calls for a $182,000 purchase price.

By Nick Blizzard

Dayton Daily News

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