Posted: 10:27 p.m. Monday, Sept. 3, 2012

Corridor 75 business park sold at auction


Corridor 75 business park sold at auction photo
Nick Graham
Corridor 75 Premier Logistics Park entrance on Ohio 63.
Corridor 75 business park sold at auction photo
Nick Graham
The Speculative Building 2 remains empty at Corridor 75 Premier Logistics Park in Monroe.

By Chelsey Levingston

Staff Writer

A Monroe development property has sold at sherriff’s sale and city officials hope it will spark new jobs for the area.

The undeveloped land and a vacant speculative building in the Corridor 75 Premier Logistics Park in Monroe were sold at Warren County’s Sheriff’s sale Aug. 6 for $13.3 million, according to records of the sale. The sale is still being confirmed by the sheriff’s office. The park is located on Gateway Boulevard off Ohio 63 close to the Interstate 75 interchange.

“We are hopeful that with the financial troubles of the park now alleviated by the sale, the park will be an attractive site for new jobs and growth in the city,” said Kevin Chesar, Monroe development director.

Then Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland visited the 430-acre site in 2009 to talk about economic development in Ohio.

Two buildings were constructed. One was filled by the Home Depot Rapid Deployment Center, a distribution center which employed approximately 300 people as of January this year, according to Home Depot. The other building, finished in 2009, was never leased.

The Home Depot property was not part of the sale.

Original plans were for 10 buildings altogether, and the creation of thousands of jobs. The project received a tax incentive package for property tax abatements. It is in a Community Reinvestment Area, a Tax Increment Financing district and has a special assessment, including a 15-year, 100 percent property tax abatement on property improvements.

Instead, disputes over the project languished in court systems. Meanwhile, an ensuing economic crisis made commercial property a hard sell throughout the region.

Huntington National Bank turned down deals in 2009 to lease the empty building, says the developer Rob Smyjunas, chief executive officer of Vandercar Holdings of Cincinnati. He said he had been current on payments.

“Even though we had the financial crisis, we still could have been building,” Smyjunas said.

It was a good project, he said.

“It was location, it had the tax abatement, it had the backing of the school system, so the abatements, it had backing of the city council, the new interchange, everything,” he said.

Huntington declined to comment.

The terms of the development loan made in 2007 required that in addition to other payments, on Dec. 31, 2008 and every Dec. 31 after, VH Monroe (the property owner/Smyjunas) had to make principal repayments to Huntington of a minimum $3.86 million, according to court records reviewed by this newspaper. Smyjunas defaulted on a principal payment due Dec. 31, 2010, according to court case documents.

The bank received January of 2011 a judgment from Hamilton County Common Pleas Court against Smyjunas for more than $26 million in loans. In May of 2011, Huntington filed for foreclosure in Warren County, according to records from the county clerk’s office.

Smyjunas filed for bankruptcy Aug. 30 of last year, according to court records.

Then in February this year, Huntington transferred the mortgage to Park North LLC, according to the Warren County Recorder’s office. Park North ordered the property to sheriff’s sale in May and repossessed the property at the county auction on Aug. 6, according to Warren County Sheriff’s Office records.

Doug Armbruster, senior vice president and regional managing director of Industrial Developments International, a company related to Park North, said he didn’t feel comfortable commenting until the sale was finalized.


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