Five years after it closed, a once-popular hotel has become the target of a renewed round of vandalism and the focus of a legal battle over its future. The fight pits Montgomery County Treasurer Carolyn Rice against the owners of the old Dayton Executive Inn.
After an expedited foreclosure action was unsuccessful earlier this year, Rice has turned to a traditional tax foreclosure in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court in an attempt to clear the way for the razing of the eyesore along Interstate 75.
“Basically, I am at my last resort with this property,” Rice said.
She calculated the back taxes for the 225-room hotel at 2401 Needmore Road at just under $1.3 million. She doubts the back taxes will ever be paid. Her goal is to get the property out of the hands of the current owner.
“They are not doing anything and haven’t for years,” she said. “And so we have to take steps to make something happen so that it can get in the hands of a responsible person.”
Northridge Local Schools has the most to gain if back property taxes could be collected or if a developer brings in new business. Northridge Superintendent David Jackson said his district would receive about 80 percent of the property taxes paid.
Harrison Twp. has a contract with developer Mike Heitz of Lexington, Ky. Heitz plans to take control of the property once the foreclosure action is complete and the back property tax bill is wiped clean. Heitz described the property as “really disgusting” due to the leaking roof, graffiti-covered walls and the mess left behind by homeless people living there. He spent $125,000 to have all of the furniture removed, graffiti painted over and doorways boarded up.
People at neighboring businesses saw the cleanup under way late last year and thought the building was about to be demolished. Kristin Vandivier of Rieck Services was glad to see something positive happening after years of decay.
“We kind of got our hopes up there,” Vandivier said.
Demolition is on hold while the foreclosure action moves forward in court. In the meantime, a new round of vandalism has ravaged the building. Nearly all of the windows not covered by plywood have recently been broken. More spray paint is visible from the parking lot and the entire lower level is full of murky water.
Heitz said he would tear down the building within 12 months of taking control of the property. He estimates asbestos removal and demolition will cost between $400,000 and $500,000.
Interest in the hotel property has been sparked by the construction of the Hollywood racino one mile east on Needmore Road. Heitz said although the property now looks very bad, it has much potential for redevelopment.
“We have people interested in that location because it is right off the interstate and has high exposure with 100,000 cars going by every day on I-75,” Heitz said.
Terry Baltes, president of Baltes Commercial Realty, said the hotel has been on the market for $2.9 million, but the price is negotiable. A buyer would have to pay not only the selling price but also the back taxes. Baltes said the owner, Michigan-based Dayton Lodge, had recently been collecting bids for its own demolition plan.
Jonathan Hung, attorney for Dayton Lodge, said the company has not received formal notice of the foreclosure action.
The filing names 14 other defendants in the case, including two banks and multiple contractors who have liens against the business. Five state and federal agencies are also involved because they have had legal issues with Dayton Lodge.