Vote set on county land bank deal for entertainment district property in West Carrollton

The former Carrollton Plaza property on East Dixie Drive near Interstate 75 in West Carrollton has been cleared. The city is working to transfer the site to the Montgomery County Landbank program while it shops for a developer. NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF
The former Carrollton Plaza property on East Dixie Drive near Interstate 75 in West Carrollton has been cleared. The city is working to transfer the site to the Montgomery County Landbank program while it shops for a developer. NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

A plan to transfer about 20 acres of West Carrollton land to Montgomery County is set to be voted on Tuesday night.

The proposal includes transferring several acres in the city’s planned entertainment district near Interstate 75 and the Great Miami River to the Montgomery County Land Bank program.

The former Carrollton Plaza site on East Dixie Drive and riverfront land across the road on Marina Drive are among 17 city-owned lots West Carrollton is working with the county on.

West Carrollton Economic Development Director Mike Lucking said the move will save the city tax money on the land, which it is continuing to “actively market.”

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“What we’re looking to do is reduce our holding costs,” Lucking said last week when West Carrollton City Council reviewed the plan.

Under Ohio law, “land banks can hold properties until such time that the property is redeveloped,” he said.

Among the parcels involved in the deal are five on Dixie, and three each on Central Avenue and Marina, according to West Carrollton records. Those properties total about 14.6 acres, county auditor’s office records state.

The former Carrollton Plaza site and Marina Drive parcels are part of “gateway” property the city wants to redevelop for its entertainment district. West Carrollton has received a state approval for a Community Entertainment District for the area of East Dixie.

“We would be in effect transferring ownership of those properties on a temporary basis, and they would hold those properties,” Lucking said of the county. “While they are holding the properties, we will have all of the responsibilities for maintaining them.”

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Transferring the land to the county is expected to save the city about $39,900 a year in property taxes, city records show.

“When we need a property, our arrangement with the land bank is that the property can be transferred back to us,” Lucking said. “We are assured we can get the property back within 30 to 45 days based upon hard notification from them.”

In 2017, the city bought the former Carrollton Plaza as part of a deal that cost about $3 million to prep the land for redevelopment. The city paid about $1.8 million for nearly 11 acres and got another 2-plus acre tract donated.

Records show the city projected a cost of about $1 million to get the land “shovel ready,” records show.