Business Week in Review: $265M mixed-use development proposed in Springboro

A working farm that has been in the hands of one of Springboro’s original founding families for five generations is envisioned to become a $265 million mixed-use development in the middle of the city.

Two developers want to build a development on the Easton Farm, a 105-acre parcel of land on the west side of North Main Street/Ohio 741, that would include a commercial district, parks, walking/biking paths, multi-family housing, an independent living center, townhomes and single-family homes.

Dillin LLC, a Springboro-based development company, and Borror, a Columbus-based developer specializing in multi-family properties, have submitted an application for the rezoning of the land that sits between Anna Drive and Tamarack Trail.

“We’ve been working on the possibilities of this very special piece of ground in the heart of the Springboro community since 2017,” said Larry Dillin, president/CEO of Dillin LLC and project co-developer. “As with all of our developments, we extend our planning beyond the borders of the property to bring Springboro something new and special, but also something that adds value and connectivity to the rest of the community.”

The Springboro Planning Commission will consider the rezoning request at its meeting on March 10.

Cheryl Dillin anticipates the rezoning process to take several months and the project could begin construction in late 2021 or early 2022. She said a large portion of the project could be completed in early 2023.

The Easton Farm is an in-town neighborhood on the historic ‘Easton Farm’ site in Springboro. The concept takes inspiration from the townscapes of small, historic Ohio villages, while incorporating updated ideas for streetscapes, parks, open spaces and connective pathways as a platform for a variety of market rate residences and mixed-use commercial district facing Ohio 741.

Preliminary plans include tree-lined streets to connect the residential neighborhood to the mixed-use district and to its service offerings. Sidewalks, bike paths, greenways along with interspersed community amenities will encourage pedestrian interconnection and walkability both within The Easton Farm site and to the adjacent city parks and neighborhoods.

Teaming up on the project with Dillin is Borror, a construction, management and development company from Columbus. Borror will be the co-developer of the project and the developer and owner of the proposed multi-family project on the site.

DLM files suit over Killer Brownies name

A trademark-infringement lawsuit filed this week by the owners of Dorothy Lane Market on behalf of its local company that makes “Killer Brownies” persuaded the national food-recipe website’s owner to back down 24 hours later.

Killer Brownie Ltd. filed the suit against Discovery Communications LLC, based in Silver Springs, Maryland, in U.S. District Court on Tuesday, and by the end of the day Wednesday, Discovery Communications had agreed to Killer Brownie’s request to remove “Killer” references in brownie recipes on the website.

Messages left with Discovery Communications officials were not returned. The company’s website shows that it is part of a corporate entity that also includes the Discovery Channel, Food Network and the Cooking Channel.

“The Killer Brownie is an important and significant mark, not just locally, but nationally, and we will always defend our client’s effort and investment in creating the mark,” attorney Michael Sandner of the Dayton law firm Pickrel Schaeffer & Ebeling told this news outlet via email late Wednesday afternoon. “Nonetheless, we were pleased to be able to resolve our dispute and have Discovery Communications agree to remove any reference to what we viewed as infringing recipes for ‘Killer Brownies.’”

Dorothy Lane market adopted the Killer Brownie trademark in 1985 “to identify its distinctive, high-quality brownies,” the lawsuit said. DLM registered the trademark in 1988, and it remains “in full force and effect,” the local grocery chain’s lawsuit said. In 2002, DLM established Killer Brownie Ltd. as a separate company.

But the website has published and displayed several brownie recipes with the word “Killer” in the title, including “Killer Brownies by Chapstick,” and “Killer Triple Chip Brownies by Perfect Pixie” and “Leslie’s Killer Brownies by Fairy Godmother.”

Nutmeg Cafe opens in Centerville

Nutmeg Café, a restaurant and coffee shop founded by a local wife-and-husband team, will open on Tuesday, March 9 on State Route 48.

The new eatery is located in a 1,400-square-foot space at 9166 Dayton-Lebanon Pike in Centerville, in a retail center that includes China Dynasty restaurant and a Sherwin-Williams paint store.

Nutmeg Café has no televisions, just some soft background music, to accompany a breakfast, brunch and lunch menu and specialty coffee beverages that will be served from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, closed Mondays.

With COVID-19 restrictions, the café seats 12 now, but that number will expand to 18 to 20 after social-distancing restrictions are lifted, Erin Russ said.

Court to decide competency of ex-Reynolds CEO

A federal court in Texas has scheduled a hearing to determine if Robert Brockman, the former chief executive of Kettering auto dealer services firm Reynolds & Reynolds, is competent to participate in a trial in what is perhaps the biggest tax case in U.S history.

Before that hearing, the federal government will have its own experts gauge Brockman’s fitness, according to filings last month in the U.S. District Court in Houston.

Brockman is 79. In ordering the June 29 hearing, U.S. District Court Judge George Hanks wrote that “there is reasonable cause to believe that the defendant may presently be suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent to the extent that he is unable to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him or to assist properly in his defense.”

Last October, federal prosecutors in San Francisco announced that a federal grand jury had returned a 39-count indictment charging Brockman with tax evasion, wire fraud, money laundering and other alleged offenses. Brockman has pleaded not guilty to all 39 counts. The case was moved from California to Houston, where Brockman has a home.

Prosecutors have presented a portrait of Brockman operating a secret web of Caribbean business entities to conceal $2 billion in investment income, evading taxes on that income. The charges comprise what is said to be the largest prosecution of its kind in U.S. history.

JobsOhio releases report with executive salaries

JobsOhio, the state’s private job creation and economic development arm, has completed more than 2,500 projects, created more than 200,000 new jobs resulting in $9.3 billion new payroll in its first eight years2011 inception and through 2019, , the organization said in its latest IRS filings.

Overall in 2020, JobsOhio has increased its number of employees from 102 to 106, a 4% increase, and wages increased by 11% over 2019.

The report included salaries of its top officials and directors, with J.P. Nauseef — the entity’s president and chief investment officer, who has long ties to the Dayton area — reporting a 2020 salary of $522,478.40, an increase over his 2019 pay.

Nauseef, a former Dayton-area entrepreneur and former leader of the Dayton Development Coalition, started with JobsOhio early in 2019.

According to JobsOhio’s most recent fiscal year quarterly financial statement, the nonprofit paid $3.98 million in salaries and benefits in the three months ending Sept. 30, 2020, up from nearly $3.44 million in the same period in 2019.

Nauseef made $274,402.67 in 2019. His predecessor at JobsOhio, John Minor Jr., was paid $621,322 in 2018.

Ohio tops in attracting new corporate projects

Ohio topped an economic development magazine’s rankings for attracting new corporate facility projects and the Dayton region was lauded, as well, state government said Monday.

Site Selection magazine’s Governor’s Cup 2020 ranked Ohio first for bringing more new corporate facility projects per capita. Ohio ranked second for total projects overall.

While Toledo tied as No. 1 for total projects among areas with populations between 200,000 and 1 million, Dayton-Kettering ranked fifth and Akron tied for No. 10 in the same category, the state noted.

This is the 15th consecutive year the region has ranked in the top 10, the Dayton Development Coalition noted.

In particular last year, the Dayton area celebrated expansions by Midmark, Avery Dennison, Fuyao and Crocs, while Pella announced it will open a manufacturing facility in Troy.

Contractor hiring for 104 job openings

Ever-increasing work at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is driving demand for qualified workers by area defense contractors.

Alion Science & Technology Corp., a Beavercreek-based defense contractor, has 104 job openings for work related to Wright-Patterson and is in full hiring mode.

Eric C. Wright, vice president of operations for Alion and the site lead for the company’s Beavercreek offices off Grange Hall Road, said contracts with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, the Air Force Research Laboratory, the National Air and Space Intelligence Center and the Air Force Institute of Technology, (among others) are driving the local growth.

The company already has about 400 Beavercreek/Wright-Patterson employees.

Alion has operations in Washington, D.C., Huntsville, Ala., Colorado, New Mexico and elsewhere.

Alion is looking for a “very refined skill set” in some cases. It is relatively easy to find software and other types engineers in the Dayton area, thanks in part to the presence Wright State University, the University of Dayton and the University of Cincinnati, Wright said.

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