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UPDATE: Kettering OKs land sale for Dayton organ donor center to move, add jobs

The city of Kettering plans to sell about 9 acres at Miami Valley Research Park to Life Connection of Ohio for about $765,000, records show. FILE
The city of Kettering plans to sell about 9 acres at Miami Valley Research Park to Life Connection of Ohio for about $765,000, records show. FILE

UPDATE 9:40 a.m.: A resolution allowing the city manager to sell about 9 acres to Life Connection of Ohio - which plans to relocate its Dayton regional office and add jobs - was approved by Kettering City Council Tuesday night.

INITIAL REPORT

An organ donation center plans to move its regional office from Dayton to Kettering as part of an expansion that could eventually nearly double its workforce.

Life Connection of Ohio this month signed an agreement to buy nearly 9 acres in Miami Valley Research Park, where it wants to move from its 40 Wyoming St. regional headquarters, its chief executive officer said Monday.

The move would eventually more than triple the expanding non-profit’s square footage at a site it would own, bring it closer to a business with which it works closely and allow for workforce growth from about 58 to nearly 100 within five years, said Life Connection of Ohio CEO Matthew Wadsworth.

“We’re actually growing faster than I originally thought when we did our five-year strategic plan,” Wadsworth said. “So I wouldn’t be surprised if we were there in three to four years.”

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Projections show that rate of expansion would increase the organization’s $5 million annual payroll to about $9 million, he said.

The move would also bring Life Connection of Ohio closer to the Community Tissue Services Center, which also located at the research park, Wadsworth said.

“We’re good partners – we’re closely aligned with Community Tissue Service – and that’s we’re they’re located,” he said. “They’re finishing with their second building here soon. They’re going to be doing a third building. But our missions align….that what was most appealing.”

Life Connection of Ohio has promoted and facilitated organ donation in northwest and west central Ohio for 30 years, according to its website. Last year, it coordinated the recovery of organs from 93 donors, providing 310 life-saving transplants, according to the organization.

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Life Connection of Ohio also has a regional site in Maumee near Toledo, but the Kettering location would be “our primary office,” Wadsworth said.

Under the deal with Kettering, Life Connection of Ohio would buy land at the northeast corner of Woodman Drive and Research Boulevard for $85,000 an acre, or about $765,000, Kettering records show.

Kettering City Council Tuesday night is set to consider a resolution to sell the land. It is part of about 88 acres the city owns at 3155 Research Blvd., according to records. Kettering bought about 300 undeveloped acres at the Miami Valley Research Park in 2018.

The deal with Kettering does not involve tax incentives, said Gregg Gorsuch, the city’s economic development manager.

“It’s definitely a positive thing for the city of Kettering and Miami Valley Research Park,” Gorsuch said.

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“Life Connection works closely with Community Tissue Services, which is located on College Drive – adjacent to this site in the research park,” he added. “We think it will benefit both community Tissue Services and Life Connections of Ohio as well.”

Life Connection of Ohio currently rents about 9,000 square feet of space on Wyoming Street. The Kettering site would be two stories, and have about 30,000 square feet, Wadsworth said.

The new site would have about 20,000 square feet on the first floor and 10,000 on the second, he said. Half of the first floor space would be “a shell space” the organization could fill as expansion warrants.

The site will help in “attracting top (employee) talent,” Wadsworth said, and help provide an off-site meeting location for first responders and others in the community.

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The acreage should provide sufficient parking for its administration, nurses, therapists, social workers and community services, all of whom would be located there, according to Wadsworth.

“We’re here to serve the community and we really wanted space that for our mission would allow people to come in and gather and for us to provide education on donation and transplantation and also be able to serve other organizations that wanted somewhere to go off site,” he said.

“We’re excited about going over to Kettering and being a part of research park – what that’s going to offer for our employees….as far as a recruitment tool – so we can have the absolute best employees working for the organization….so we can save more lives.”

Life Connection of Ohio has about three months to survey the land and looks to break ground by the end of the year, Wadsworth said. The goal is to occupy the building by the fall of 2021.