The road surrounding Austin Landing was the topic of an Aug. 27 email from Columbia Investment co-owner Joseph Simhon, the new co-owner of the mixed use retail complex, to a Miami Twp. official. FILE

Emails give inside look at weeks leading to $134M Austin Landing deal

By Oct. 23, what was announced last week as a $134 million deal for Columbia Investment to buy the 70-acre mixed use retail complex that anchors the Austin Boulevard interchange of Interstate 75 was imminent, records obtained by the Dayton Daily News show.

“Our transaction is scheduled to close at the end of the first week in November,” attorney Bob Curry wrote in an email to a group that included RG Properties CEO Todd Duplain and Mark Brady of EBS Asset Management Inc., executives in the then-ownership of Austin Landing.

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The deal closed Nov. 13, officials said, the same day more than 50 acres was bought by Austin Landing North LLC, Montgomery County records show.

More land was purchased Thursday, and on Friday the new ownership was announced, as was a $26 million from loan from a Florida investment firm to help finalize the sale.

The Curry email is among dozens of documents relating to the sale of Austin Landing obtained by the Dayton Daily News through a public records request.

Among those sending or receiving emails were Curry and other attorneys, Duplain, Brady, a handful of township officials, agents for LLCs, and Joe Simhon, co-owner of New York-based Columbia who now holds that title with Austin Landing.

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Many of the emails focused on the “ring” road surrounding the development, as well as agreements for the Austin Landing Phase II Development, and lease and management. Estoppels - documents often used in due diligence in real estate and mortgage activities – were discussed for both of those agreements.

A series of exchanges with the subject line “Austin Landing estoppel certificate requests” involving Miami Twp. Community Development Director Chris Snyder and attorney Emmett Kelly were redacted.

“The pending sale of Austin landing is moving closer to a closing,” Curry wrote Oct. 16 to township Administrator Ron Hess. “I will be sending you a document requesting the township’s consent to transfer the Phase II development agreement to the buyer, along with biographical information about the principals and the buyer. ”

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In the Oct. 23 message to Hess, Duplain, Brady and other attorneys, Curry wrote: “Attached for your review is a proposed assignment and assumption agreement which would transfer the developer rights and obligations to Austin Landing North LLC, a Delaware limited liability company.

“Initially, this entity will be owned by the current owners of Austin Landing,” the email states. “The transaction is structured such that the member interest in Austin Landing North LLC will be conveyed to the investment group. The investment group will be managed by Joseph Simhon and Soly Halabi. I have enclosed biographical information on these two managers.”

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Contact with the township began at least two months earlier. Simhon had talked to Miami Twp. Community Development Deputy Director Kyle Hinkelman on Aug. 27 and later followed up with an email.

“I represent an investment consortium that is in contract to purchase the project known as Austin Landing, inclusive of its retail and office components,” Simhon wrote.

“As you know, Miami Twp. has been enmeshed in a ‘discussion’ with existing owners as to the maintenance and repair/replacement of the road encircling the project,” he added.

Simhon raised a number of issues about the road and how maintenance would be completed.

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