Hara Arena property owner moving ahead with demolition

The City of Trotwood announced Tuesday it will release more details at a press conference on Friday about the demolition of the former concert and sporting event venue that has sat empty for four years and was heavily damaged by a tornado on Memorial Day 2019.

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The City of Trotwood announced Tuesday it will release more details at a press conference on Friday about the demolition of the former concert and sporting event venue that has sat empty for four years and was heavily damaged by a tornado on Memorial Day 2019.

Demolition plans are in place for Hara Arena, a longtime event destination for generations of people in the region.

The City of Trotwood announced Tuesday it will release more details at a press conference on Friday about the demolition of the former concert and sporting event venue that has sat empty for four years and was heavily damaged by a tornado on Memorial Day 2019.

ExploreRELATED: Demolition of most of Hara Arena will start soon

“We are excited for what the future holds for this property," Mayor Mary McDonald said. "Trotwood continues to bring in living-wage businesses, and this will be yet another great location for progress and growth in our community.”

Chad Downing, executive director of the Trotwood Community Improvement Corp., said it was always property owner Michael Heitz' plan to demolish at least some of the tornado-damaged historic arena.

Heitz is the Lexington, Ky.-based developer who has over the years acquired several distressed Dayton industrial sites, including the closed Hara and its 120 acres in 2018.

“We’re going to have to demo part of the building,” Heitz told the Dayton Daily News in June 2019, about 10 days after the Memorial Day tornadoes that ripped through Trotwood and much of the Dayton area.

Heitz is hiring the contractors that will demolish part of the site, Downing said. “We of course are playing a supporting role.”

“We’re in many ways finally getting to the point here – I know there have been delays largely related to COVID – in getting this piece of the clean-up done,” Downing said. “And so the clean-up will come first, and then they’ll begin to work through the process of getting it redeveloped.”

Cory Heitz, the son of Michael Heitz, said Tax Redevelopment LLC is in talks with a global company to put something on the property but would not release other details.

The demolition company will begin taking down the building on Friday and Heitz estimates four to six months to have it completely torn down and cleaned up.

“This is a pretty big eyesore and now its going to start coming down. It’ll be good for the community," Heitz said.

In March, pre-COVID, Trotwood City Council approved new zoning for the area, updating it from recreational uses to light industrial, opening the door to that kind of user, in time.

“This area has been a reminder of the devastation our community suffered from the 2019 Memorial Day tornado,” said Trotwood City Manager Quincy E. Pope Sr. “We are ready to move forward, and the city has already taken action so that this property is ready for what’s next.”

The arena, which initially was ballroom in 1956, held 5,500 seats and included the main arena, four exhibition halls, a conference center, pub and golf course.

Hara Arena hosted its last event on Aug. 27, 2016, as a result on a legal battle over the estate of the founder and ongoing financial issues.

ExploreRELATED: Is there hope for Hara site? Trotwood approves new zoning for property

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