Companies reuse Trotwood’s big-box stores

Hara Arena’s impending closure threatens to be an economic blow to Trotwood, but the city has been on a hot streak for luring new, private-sector investment.

In the last two years, more than 20 new businesses opened in the city or announced plans to open or expand soon, which should create about 240 jobs, officials said.

The companies in question are primarily concentrated in manufacturing, which provides promising opportunities to transform the city’s large, vacant box stores into industrial facilities, said Fred Burkhardt, executive director of the Trotwood Community Improvement Corp.

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And even Hara’s shuttering has a silver lining.

“Hara is a prime piece of real estate that is in a part of town that is ripe for development,” Chris Kershner, vice president of public policy and economic development with the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, previously said.

The recession hit Trotwood particularly hard and contributed to a series of big-name retailers pulling out of the city, including Kmart and Target.

But local officials hope some of the large properties the retailers left behind can be reused for industrial purposes.

The Kmart facility is getting a new tenant, Epix Tube Company Inc., which is a carbon steel tubing manufacturer that has grown rapidly and plans to add two more production lines by the end of 2017.

The company, which was formerly Phoenix Tube Co. of Ohio, grew from a 30,000-square-foot operation to occupying 250,000 square feet of manufacturing space in multiple states.

Specialty Manufacturing Solutions is renovating the former Elder-Beerman building on Salem Ave. Spigel Properties, a Texas-based company, bought the old Best Buy building at 5031 Salem Ave.

Korrect Plumbing, Heating & Air had a groundbreaking ceremony in June for a new facility located across from its home on the 7900 block of West Third Street in Trotwood. The new facility prepares the company for future growth and will house some of the company’s offices.

Marathon Oil, Arena Sports Bar & Grill, KMG Pharmacy and J. Anthony’s Southern Cuisine also had recent ribbon-cutting ceremonies with the Trotwood Chamber of Commerce.

Officials say more business announcements are expected in coming weeks, and efforts already are underway to find a new user for Hara.