City snapshots: Working to turn eyesores into assets

Hundreds of people eat, drink and play volleyball at the Miami Valley Sand complex in West Carrollton, built on the former site of a Fraser Paper mill. JEREMY P. KELLEY / STAFF

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Hundreds of people eat, drink and play volleyball at the Miami Valley Sand complex in West Carrollton, built on the former site of a Fraser Paper mill. JEREMY P. KELLEY / STAFF

Few cities are immune to decay in their commercial properties. Here are some local cities’ victories and challenges.

Beavercreek

Lima-based gun range Midwest Shooting Center is planning to open a location at the old Lofino’s Marketplace in Beavercreek. Located in the Beaver Valley Shopping Center at U.S. 35 and North Fairfield Road, Lofino’s has been vacant for six years.

In that same area, SVG Motors bought and developed nearly 5.8 acres at 3415 Seajay Drive, the former home of Eastgate Ford, in 2018.

The former Elder-Beerman at the Mall at Fairfield Commons is also vacant, but Synergy & Mills Development announced last June that it would turn the two-story, 150,000-square-foot former department store into “first-class” office space.

ExploreRelated: See full story, map on regional redevelopment efforts

Riverside

A $23 million,100,000 square-foot Kroger being built in Riverside at the former Woodman Drive Kmart site will house about 160 jobs, company officials said.

The building had been vacant since 2017 and the location will give Kroger “a real centerpiece for our city,” Riverside Mayor Pete Williams has said.

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In February, crews demolished a former Kmart store at Woodman Drive and Burkhardt Road in Riverside, where Kroger plans a new $23 million store.

Credit: Jim Noelker

In February, crews demolished a former Kmart store at Woodman Drive and Burkhardt Road in Riverside, where Kroger plans a new $23 million store.

Credit: Jim Noelker

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In February, crews demolished a former Kmart store at Woodman Drive and Burkhardt Road in Riverside, where Kroger plans a new $23 million store.

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

West Carrollton

In West Carrollton, the city has invested $6.1 million to redevelop about 25 acres it owns just southwest of I-75 Exit 47, said Michael Lucking, economic development director. Efforts to revitalize the site on which the Carrollton Plaza sat have been unsuccessful since the city bought it five years ago, he said.

On the more positive side, Miami Valley Sand built a $4.3 million indoor/outdoor volleyball facility that opened in 2020 on the former site of the Fraser Paper mill in the city’s Carrollton Centre.

While the recreation site “has added much vitality to the area,” Lucking said the city’s “current primary development focus” is the I-75 interchange area.

Tipp City

The Tipp Plaza Shopping Center — including its vacant storefronts and the condition of its parking lot — is a topic of frequent discussion by Tipp City officials.

The city is exploring the services of a company to attract retail/commercial business to the community. However, the city first “would need to see quite a lot of improvement in the property manager making improvements to make that property more marketable” before supporting efforts to fill the Tipp Plaza space, Eggleston said.

Contributing writer Nancy Bowman added reporting for this story.