Multiple Austin Landing properties sold

Dozens of Austin Landing properties have been bought, raising questions about the future of the sprawling mixed-use development in Miami Twp. as it prepares to kick off the holiday season.

No ownership change — a source of speculation for some time — has been announced at the development that anchors the Austin Boulevard interchange of Interstate 75. But more than 50 acres have been purchased by two limited liability companies, both of which have the development in their names, records show.

Austin Landing North LLC acquired most of the properties Wednesday and Austin Landing Development purchased nine parcels Thursday, according to Montgomery County Auditor’s Office records.

The transactions come just ahead of Saturday’s tree-lighting at the complex that employs about 2,000 and draws thousands more shoppers and others seeking entertainment.

RG Properties has been an owner of the 130-plus acre Austin Landing since in it opened in 2010 and has partnered with EBS Asset Management Inc., officials said. Attempts to reach RG Properties or EBS officials Thursday were unsuccessful.

Austin Landing is managed by VisCap Development. VisCap spokeswoman Cheryl Dillin declined to comment on the issue.

“I am not able to comment on any business dealings with Austin Landing,” Dillin said.

Austin Landing North is a limited liability corporation registered with the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office on July 26, according to online records. The company was formed in the state of Delaware, the same day, according to the state registration.

Attempts to reach the company’s listed authorized representative, Eric J. Beecher, were unsuccessful.

Speculation about a sale started months ago, said Doug Steinke, owner of the Hilton Garden Inn and the Staybridge Suites.

Several months ago “somebody came into the hotel and said they were here to look at Austin Landing,” Steinke said. “The manager looked at them and said ‘what do you mean?’ And they said something about buying” the development.

Miami Twp. trustee John Morris said he has also heard talk in the past six months about possible “changes in structure and management.”

Told Thursday about the sale of properties, Steinke — who said the Hilton Garden Inn opened in 2012 as Austin Landing’s second tenant — said it raises concerns about what lies ahead for the complex.

He said the development has established itself with a welcoming atmosphere that offers a variety of events throughout the year.

Among them: monthly First Fridays, children’s activities, the weekend Coffee & Cars and season showcases.

“The VisCap personnel and the other people who put on the activities have done such a phenomenal job” Steinke said.

Between RG Properties and VisCap, he added, “They’ve done a wonderful job.”

Should new ownership takeover, Steinke said, he would “just really worry that they wouldn’t run it the same way.

“That’s my big concern, that it’s not somebody from the area who has pride” in the development.

RG Properties, which was owned by Randy Gunlock, was the original developer through a development agreement with the Miami Twp. Board of Trustees.

Austin Landing opened shortly after completion of the Austin Boulevard interchange. Teradata, the Hilton Garden Inn, Kroger and Kohls were early anchors, and the complex grew with a mix of office, retail, restaurants and bars as the decade progressed.

In 2012, through a private investment offering, another $64 million in investment potential was outlined for Austin Landing developments on both sides of Austin Boulevard.

Under the guidance of RG Properties – and later VisCap Development and Larry Dillin – the development surged as buildings were completed. It was later surrounded by restaurants, bars, and multi-million dollar projects such as Field & Stream, Cineapolis, Progress Park Tower, Staybridge Suites and The Flats at Austin Landing, a $35 million, 276-unit luxury apartment complex.

The development has been criticized in for its traffic flow and its need to improve pedestrian safety. That’s an issue VisCap President Larry Dillin has readily acknowledged.

In recent years, crosswalks have been updated, signage has increased and a traffic light has been installed.