Owner pursuing development plans for old strip mall

The old Peffley Ford car dealership is part of the site.

Joseph Shafran, CEO of Paran Management in Cleveland, declined to elaborate on the analysis, but said his company, which represents the plaza owners Forest Park Partners, Ltd. of Cleveland, has already done a preliminary market analysis.

The market analysis will allow the plaza’s owners to “get a good handle on or determination of what the market says is a good idea for that site,” Jack Kuntz, development director for the township said.

The idea for the market analysis came up during a meeting this month with Kuntz, Shafran, Montgomery County Economic Development Department and two private business individuals with experience in local property redevelopment .

“There has been so many different changes in the economic situation of the region over the last four, five, six years that we really believe that we need to get a fresh set of eyes on that area,” Kuntz said. “We have to figure out what the region needs and what (would be a success in that area)…Without having a market analysis done, we don’t know where we’ll be successful here.”

The township is also hoping for something with lasting power for the area, which includes the former Peffley Ford building and vacant Firestone building.

“We’re currently working with the owner of the Forest Park Plaza to determine the best re-use of that 45 to 50 acre site there, said Kris McClintick, interim Harrison Township administrator. “Hopefully over the next 12 to 18 months we’ll have a plan in place and be able to start to implement the plan.”

McClintick and Kuntz don’t have an immediate idea of what they would like to see at the plaza, but said whatever goes there must last. “We don’t want to do something there that’s not going to be successful. We want something to be longstanding and beneficial to the community that is surrounding that area,” Kuntz said.

Shafran declined to say what he would like to see on the plaza property. However, he said the plaza’s location has the potential to attract development.

“Our location is really central to Harrison Twp. and we recognize and respect that,” Shafran said. “I think the proof of the pudding is the success of the Girl Scout headquarters which is located just to the north (of the plaza) or the (Charity Adams Earley Girls Academy on Shoup Mill Road).”

The plaza is nearly 80 years old and is located near the intersection of North Main Street and East Nottingham Road.

“Forest Park Plaza was really developed between World War I and World War II,” Shafran said. “It was an amusement park. When we built the Schear’s Market about 25 years ago, we actually had to take out the foundation for the Ferris wheel.”

Within the last 20 years, the plaza has seen its share of businesses, including night clubs, come and go. Adventure Golf closed in 2009. A portion of the deteriorated miniature golf course remains at the plaza. When asked the plans for this property, Shafran said, “right now, we’re really focused on planning.”

Records in the offices of the Montgomery County Auditor and Treasurer indicate that Forest Park Partners owes at least $288,776.23 to the county in delinquent property taxes on all its six commercial properties located on North Main Street within the plaza. The partners owe nearly $7,000 on one of two Nottingham Road properties. They began a payment plan with the treasurer’s office on all these properties in May.

The main strip mall for the plaza was demolished last year.

Prior to being torn down, the strip mall’s recyclable materials were gathered and sold.

There was approximately $300,000 worth of equity in the strip mall, according to Rick Miller, owner of Miller Reclamation Services in Holt, Mich., which demolished the mall.

”Once the building is gone, the property generally becomes more marketable,” Miller said.

The vacant Peffley Ford building, 4580 N. Main St., will go through this “equitable demolition” before being torn down by early next year.

Demolition is the best choice for the former car dealership property because the building is so outdated, according to Kuntz. “It’s not going to fit anyone’s needs at that site,” he said.

The former Peffley Ford building is in the plaza but is owned by Peffley Investments, Inc., according to the Montgomery County Auditor’s records. A business filing in the Ohio Secretary of State’s office indicate that the registered agent for the investment company is Shirley Schindler of Dayton.

This newspaper was unsuccessful in its attempts to contact Schindler.

Peffley Investments owes the county over $14,000 in delinquent taxes. This amount represents charges for taxes and assessments, plus penalty and interest.

Shafran declined to comment on what will happen to the former Firestone building, which is vacant and sits next door to the former Peffley Ford structure.

The Firestone building is also owned by Forest Park Partners. This property has a delinquency property tax amount of more than $26,200. The partners began a payment plan with the county treasurer’s office in May.

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