The Montgomery County Agricultural Society will resume the search for a new home following the organization’s inability to reach an agreement with the city of Huber Heights on a purchase price for land on Interstate 70.
The announcement Friday by the Dayton suburb is the latest setback in the society’s multi-year odyssey to find a new home and build an expansive multi-building fairgrounds facility by summer 2018.
The search resumes with added pressure as the new owners-to-be of the existing fairgrounds — Premier Health and the University of Dayton — will take possession of the midtown Dayton property no later than Oct. 1, according to a $15 million purchase agreement the parties signed in January.
The site formerly under consideration in Huber Heights is near Gander Mountain — fronting I-70 — and runs north along the back of the Northpark Shopping Center.
It was not immediately clear how much the Agricultural Society would have been willing to pay for the real estate owned by the city of Huber Heights, but it was likely far below what the organization will earn from the sale of its current property. Last month, council members expressed uncertainty over whether the society would pay at all, as fair officials expressed a desire to invest in structures on the site over real estate costs.
In a statement, Huber Heights officials expressly indicated the purchase price doomed the deal with the fair board.
“The project’s budget requires specific limits on land acquisition costs in order to complete the facilities and buildings to the quality and specifications desired by the Montgomery County Agricultural Society; therefore, the (fair board) is no longer considering the land in Huber Heights for this project,” read the statement issued by Clerk of Council Anthony Rodgers.
Montgomery County Fair Executive Director Greg Wallace, who presented to council last month regarding the project, said the society will continue to search for property, but did not commit to looking at property in Trotwood, where officials have for months sought to woo the board to vacant real estate, including the former Hara Arena.
“The next time our board meets, hopefully we can have some information to discuss other sites,” Wallace told the Dayton Daily News when asked about the Trotwood site. “I’m not ruling that site out or any other site out.”
The failed deal is not the first time the fair’s plans have derailed. In January 2016, plans to move the fair to Brookville fell through as developers left the project.
Fair officials additionally considered purchasing three properties on I-70 at Brookville Salem Road last year but ultimately decided not to pursue the location for the new fairgrounds. The fair’s due diligence on the three Brookville properties included meeting with representatives of Clay Mathile, the region’s sole billionaire, who lives nearby.