Austin land plan shifts again as Miami Twp. ends deal for ‘cornerstone’ tract

A deal to market more than 40 acres of vacant land Miami Twp. owns near the Austin Boulevard interchange is ending, signaling a shift in efforts to develop the “cornerstone” property.

The township is terminating a contract with Juniper CRE Solutions. The firm was hired in December 2016 to attract high-end users to the only remaining quadrant yet to be developed — or committed to a plan — at the interchange that is home to Austin Landing.

The agreement with Cleveland-based Juniper for the land at Austin Boulevard and Wood Road – once the site of multi-million dollar proton therapy center proposal – will end next month.

Juniper told township officials it would be targeting “aerospace and defense companies quite heavily,” as well as medical, high-end offices, and hospitality and retail businesses as part of “a patient pursuit” lasting three to five years.

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But after slightly more than two years, the deal “is no longer in the best interest” of the township, according to a resolution unanimously approved by trustees.

Miami Twp. Acting Administrator Ron Hess said, “It is the desire of this board to end that agreement – go in a different direction.”

Township administrators did not respond to an email message seeking more information why they are ending the contract, which requires a 30-day notice from either party, records show.

The township’s community development department intends to explore different options and “we want to reopen” other avenues for potential development, said Miami Twp. Board of Trustees Vice President John Morris.

The land is “a cornerstone of the Austin Center area,” Miami Twp. Administrator Greg Rogers has said. “It’s obviously one of the largest tracts of land (available) between the Cincinnati and Dayton areas.”

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The Wood Road property has been tied up in contracts for much of the past several years. The land includes a retention basin, and officials said not all of it can be developed.

In 2009, Clivus Development LLC had an agreement to bring a proton therapy center projected to bring hundreds of jobs and be worth in excess of $100 million to the area.

That agreement expired in June 2015 without plans being submitted and the township hired Juniper more than a year later.

The township has also contracted with Juniper through its Joint Economic Development Districts. The company compiled a study for the Miami Twp.-Dayton JEDD for future land use options at Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport.

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