UPDATE: Developer says he has purchased Hara Arena

Michael Heitz, a Lexington-Ky.-based developer, has bought Hara Arena, Heitz said Wednesday.

Heitz said he bought the income tax liens from Montgomery County and hopes to close on further liens from banks on Friday.

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Asked about his plans for Hara and its 120 or so acres of property, he said: “No 1, clean it up and secure the property.”


He declined to say what he has invested in the site thus far.

The Dayton Daily News reported in March that Hara property owners-trustees owed back taxes and around $350,000 to banks.


Heitz typically buys distressed properties and gets them “shovel ready” for users. He said he plans a Monday afternoon press conference to discuss his purchase and his plans.

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Hara closed in 2016, taking with it a $36 million annual economic impact and decades of memories.

Heitz has purchased other local properties, such as the Rita Construction building in North Dayton, a former inn at Wagner Ford Road off Interstate 75 and the old Executive Lodge at 2401 Needmore Road in a similar tax lien sale.

Heitz may be best known locally for demolishing the former Howard Paper plant smokestack off Edwin C. Moses Boulevard in 2011. He said he drove by that property for years on I-75 before deciding to do something about it. He finally bought it on July 1, 2010.

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“I thought it gave Dayton a bad rap,” Heitz told the Dayton Daily News in 2013.

Heitz also prepared North Dayton property where Dayton Children’s Hospital is building a two-story clinic, a project that ended up mired in a legal dispute.


Dayton Children’s Hospital sued Heitz and his firm Garrett Day LLC,  alleging the developer defrauded the hospital when it didn’t properly clear the site at the corner of Stanley Avenue and Valley Street.


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