It will take lots of cash and an experienced hand to take Hara Arena out of foreclosure proceedings and give the 25-acre property new purpose.
It’s been nearly two years since the Trotwood event center located on Shiloh Springs Road closed its doors in August 2016 after 60 years of sports, shows and conventions, and it now has a pile of back taxes owed and around a $350,000 debt to the bank that needs satisfied.
In December, PNC Bank started foreclosure proceedings in December to recoup debt owed from a messy web of trustees who succeeded the deceased owner of the arena. Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas has appointed a receiver, who will act as a middleman and try to recoup as much money as possible for the arena’s creditors.
Meanwhile, the former location for thousands of popular concerts and sporting events is for sale for $775,000.
PREVIOUS HARA ARENA COVERAGE
Fred Burkhardt, executive director of the Trotwood Community Improvement Corp., which is the city’s private development arm, said no one has approached the city yet with a specific plan for the future of the site.
“We are definitively interested in a project that is going to bring development to the city. We are more than willing to look at what opportunities might be emerging,” Burkhardt said.
Hara Arena brought in events that had a $36 million annual economic impact on the area, including annually hosting the world’s largest amateur radio enthusiast event, Hamvention.
Responding to multiple requests, in 2016 the arena management opened it to the public one last time so residents could sit in their old seats and say goodbye to a local icon where thousands of event attendees had created memories over the years.
Burkhardt said while they’ve gotten a lot of phone calls with ideas, for a plan to succeed it would take a developer with a specific plan for the complicated situation of “well over $1 million” in taxes that are due, and the multiple parcels of land and arena. A renovation project to bring the 1001 Shiloh Springs Road arena back would take millions of dollars and a demolition project would also be expensive.
Burkhardt said some of the real estate parcels that are connected to Hara Arena are in Harrison Twp., so Trotwood and the neighboring township would both be affected and involved in any new development proposal.
He said the it would also be important to have input of neighbors in the residential areas that surround the arena, if there was a serious proposal to come forward.
The receiver appointed by the court is Peter Lahni, of Cincinnati-based Lahni Consulting LLC.
“We’ve got a couple people that are interested and trying to restart something, but it is going to be a very expensive process,” Lahni said.
The Wampler family had maintained Hara Arena from the event center’s beginning but when founder Harold Wampler died in 1996, his unresolved estate launched a 20 year family and legal battle that drained Hara of resources, according to a previous statement from a Hara representative.
Lahni said since the closing, the arena has been vandalized, including someone who one day got in the arena and cut the cables for the center electronic sign display, which then crashed to the floor.
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