Land near Austin, Dayton Mall focus of $21K marketing deal

Township land seen key to the continued growth at Austin Center and the redevelopment of the Dayton Mall area is being marketed by an economic development firm.

A large tract at the corner of Austin Boulevard and Wood Road near the Interstate 75 interchange and a smaller parcel on Kingsridge Drive near the mall — “prime properties,” according to a local analyst — are the focus of a $21,000 agreement between Miami Twp. and Juniper CRE Solutions.

The first parcel is formerly the site of a multi-million dollar proton therapy cancer treatment center proposal.

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

The other property, the site of the former Jokers Comedy Café, “can spearhead the beginning project for the Dayton Mall master plan,” Rogers said.

The land nearest I-75 is 21.7 acres, according to Montgomery County records. Township officials say it much larger and is actually two parcels, however, not all acreage is developable.

The southwest part of the Austin interchange on which it sits is the only quadrant of that junction — home to Austin Landing — that has not been developed or has a developer.

It had been the site where with 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 last June without plans being submitted.

The township land at 8900 Kingsridge is only 1.3 acres, county records show. Yet it is at the corner of Lyons Ridge Road between the mall and the township government, where officials want to begin implementing the mall area master plan, a long-term project that studies have shown has the potential to spur $200 million in investment.

The agreement with Juniper appears to be “a very good strategy” for the township, which is “being proactive” and “trying to make sure these properties are marketed into the right hands,” said University of Dayton associate marketing professor Serdar Durmusoglu.

“These are prime properties,” he said. “So some people are going to be interested in these locations no matter what. But I think for them to choose the right business, they need some kind of report like this.”

The agreement states that Juniper will “help develop a strategy and attract investment and real estate development to the township.”

It calls for the Cleveland company to provide a variety of services involving the properties. They include creating a public relations strategy, “connecting the township to the development community” and studying the mall area master plan to “determine how to best integrate” it into strategies and tactics outlined in the agreement.

Juniper specializes in site selection, real estate and economic development strategy, according to its website.

Miami Twp. Trustee President Doug Barry called it a firm with “national connections and the ability to get these projects done…We were very impressed with their capabilities and we’ll see how they deliver.”

The agreement provides a path by which the township can find “the right business to be located there, improving their chance of being successful, which would also ultimately convert some tax revenues for the township,” Durmusoglu said.

That is one goal, Rogers said.

“We’re moving forward with the trustees’ strategic plan to (provide) an alternate means of income to bolster our general fund that’s taken such a hit over the years.”

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