Austin South project stalled 2 years after announcement

$134M Austin Landing sale unrelated to 66 acres on south side of development.

Changes in ownership and management of the Austin Landing development did not include the undeveloped 66.3 acres on the south side of Austin Boulevard in Springboro, according to the development manager.

“That property is still under control of the original owners of Austin Landing. They make their own decisions as to what they want to do with that property,” Larry Dillin said.

In September 2017, Dillin represented the owners of the Springboro land when Springboro City Council approved a development deal and tax incremental financing for a planned project.

The city committed to a $32.2 million contribution for roads, a clock tower, fountains, an events plaza and other infrastructure for the proposed $380 million Austin South Springboro project.

“The journey starts tonight,” Springboro Mayor John Agenbroad said then.

MORE: Springboro opens 1st building in city center redevelopment

Upscale senior and other multi-family housing, a hotel, restaurants and retail were the uses envisioned. Miamisburg schools were to get $3 million in payments in lieu of taxes diverted through tax-incremental financing to pay for roads and other infrastructure.

To make it happen, the city agreed to set aside an 11-year-old court order reached after two years of litigation with the property owner and $150,000 in legal bills.

If all went as planned, Dillin told a local Boy Scout attending the council meeting where the project was unveiled, the first phase was to open “Before Christmas of 2019.”

VisCap submitted a traffic impact study in anticipation of improvements that would be needed to handle the additional traffic in the area, already congested at peak traffic times.

RELATED: Traffic concerns hold up planned $350M Springboro development

“We are working toward solutions as we plan for the best use of the property. The planning process requires diligence and a steady hand to define and manage obstacles before proceeding to development,” Dillin said in a March 2018 statement.

Springboro City Council and Miami Twp. trustees passed agreements annexing 7.7 acres for Austin South Springboro.

But the plan remains unfulfilled.

Last week, the land was still vacant and owned by Springboro Landing Associates, a limited liability corportation set up in 2012 by Randy Gunlock, the original developer of Austin Landing, according to county and state records.

Gunlock and RG turned over management of Austin Landing to Dillin and VisCap Development in 2016.

RELATED: New company taking over Austin Landing

According to Montgomery County property records, the property tax bills for the Springboro section go to VisCap.

VisCap now is a wholly owned subsidiary of Eubel, Brady & Suttman (EBS), according to the EBS brochure.

EBS, located in one of Austin Landing’s office buildings, is the investment firm that created the EBS Austin Landing Fund helping to bankroll the development.

"VisCap will act as owner's representative in connection with the development of the properties," according to the company brochure.

VisCap and Dillin share a suite in an Austin Landing office building.

Still, Dillin spokesperson Cheryl Dillin said Dillin has had no involvement with the Springboro section of the project for at least 18 months.

New York-based Columbia Investment Group is acquiring Austin Landing for $134.5 million from EBS and RG Properties, the company with offices in the development and through which Gunlock started to develop Austin Landing with Miami Twp.

The sale closed on Nov. 13, according to officials.

RELATED: Emails give inside look at weeks leading to $134M Austin Landing deal

At least one step has been taken to ensure continuity on both sides of Austin Boulevard and east of the interchange that set the stage for the development on hundreds of acres on both sides of Interstate 75.

On Nov. 12, the multiple companies underlying the northside development reached an agreement with Springboro Landing Associates, owners of the Springboro section, holding them to the covenants, conditions and restrictions guiding development on the north side, according to a deed recorded in Montgomery County.

In response to questions, Springboro City Manager Chris Pozzuto said the deal reached in September 2017 for the Austin South Springboro development could be used to form an agreement moving forward with the project.

The existing agreement already has “signature lines” for the property owners, VisCap, and the EBS Austin Landing Fund, Pozzuto said.

RELATED: City plan for Austin South Springboro

“Since the proposed development agreement and TIF agreement are two years old, any remaining property owners could potentially benefit from said agreement after resubmittal and review of the development plan, updated financial numbers for the proposed TIF, (and) any amendments that need to be made to the agreement,” Pozzuto said in an email.

Last week, the new owners and other principals were meeting to work out who will handle operations at Austin Landing next year, according to Cheryl Dillin.

“Everything is being worked through right now,” said Cheryl Dillin, who has also been operating as spokesperson for the new owners. “Their goal is for the community and the tenants not to feel any change.”

EBS and RG did not respond to requests for comment on the effects of the Austin Landing sale on the future of the Springboro development.

News Center 7 reporter Monica Castro contributed to this report.

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