Tornado-damaged hotel along Interstate 75 could be torn down

A tornado-damaged hotel that often causes traffic backups from gawking motorists on Interstate 75 could soon be demolished.

Dayton Fun Hotels LLC has applied for permits with Montgomery County to demolish the Harrison Twp. hotel at 2301 Wagner Ford.

The hotel in the past was Holiday Inn and a Ramada Plaza. Before its closure, it had been branded since 2016 as “The Dayton Hotel.” The structure had more than 230 rooms, a pool and banquet rooms.

The structure sustained damage in the spate of tornadoes that tore through the region on the Monday evening of Memorial Day weekend earlier this year.

Wichita, Kan.-based MK Hospitality, a professional hotel management and acquisition company, bought the Harrison Twp. property in April 2016 for $1.8 million.

The former owner, Navin Makan, chief executive of M.K. Hospitality Inc., told the Dayton Daily News in May 2016 that he planed to invest “at least” $3 million to $4 million for planned renovations there.

“We want to change the condition of the hotel first by taking care of all the renovation it’s going to need,” Makan said in 2016. “We’re going to go with a franchise in a short period, to another brand. We’re going to actually have a brand there, a franchise brand. We don’t know yet who we’re going to go with. It could be a Radisson or a Doubletree.”

Then M.K. Hospitality sold the property to Dayton Fun Hotels for $2.1 million a few months later, in October 2016.

Before Makan’s ownership, Mike Heitz, a Lexington, Ky.-based investor and a principal with Garrett LLC, had acquired the site.

Heitz — a developer with a long interest in Dayton brownfield properties — had acquired the property through a tax lien sale, a strategy he had employed before in Dayton. He also picked up the old Executive Lodge at 2401 Needmore Road in a similar tax lien sale.

Heitz on Wednesday said he was under the impression that the company tearing the building down would strive to redevelop the site, but he was uncertain of that entity’s plans.

Philomena Ashdown, the Cincinnati attorney who helped Dayton Fun Hotels LLC file incorporation papers with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office, said Tuesday she could not identify the LLC’s principals. She offered to ask the company to contact the Dayton Daily News.

Ashdown said she did not know if the company has plans for the property beyond demolition of the former hotel.

Harrison Twp. officials did not return calls seeking comment about the demolition.

Harrison Twp. was hit hard by the EF4 tornado that demolished businesses and homes along North Dixie Drive and Wagner Ford Road. County officials have said 15 percent of structures in Harrison Twp. or Northridge received some kind of damage from the tornado.

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