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Kettering could purchase 305 acres at Miami Valley Research Park

Published: Friday, May 19, 2017 @ 5:07 PM


            City of Kettering will purchase 305 acres of the Miami Valley Research Park for $1.5 million. FILE
City of Kettering will purchase 305 acres of the Miami Valley Research Park for $1.5 million. FILE

In a push to attract new businesses to the city, Kettering could soon buy 305 acres of the land in the Miami Valley Research Park.

The city is expected to approve a contract Tuesday to purchase the undeveloped land in the Kettering portion of the giant commercial business park. The non-profit foundation, Miami Valley Research Foundation, that runs the development has been looking to sell off land and buildings.

Gregg Gorsuch, Kettering’s economic development manager, told the Dayton Daily News that if council agrees to the contract, the city would close on the deal in July. He said the deal will cost the city $1.5 million at closing, and could go up to $3 million if certain deed restrictions are lifted. The deal does not include any buildings already standing.

One of those major deed restrictions requires any business that moves into the park to be science or research-oriented. Gorsuch said the purchase would allow Kettering to lure in new businesses and help current businesses expand within city limits — a major economic driver.

» INITIAL REPORT: Kettering to purchase 305 acres of Miami Valley Research Park

“The biggest restriction is the requirement for any business operation going out there having to have a research and development component to it,” he said. “It’s fine, we can do that, but it would open it up to more business opportunities if it was lifted.”

If the restrictions are removed, the city would then be able to utilize its locally controlled zoning codes to work with prospective businesses, said Stacy Wall Schweikhart, city spokeswoman.

The business park spans 1,250 acres in Kettering and Beavercreek and is home to some of the Miami Valley’s largest companies, including Reynolds and Reynolds. In October, the Dayton Daily News reported that the Miami Valley Research Foundation was looking to sell four buildings and more than 700 acres of undeveloped land valued at $30 million.

In the early 1980s, the state granted more than 600 acres of land and $20 million to develop a business park that would focus on research, scientific, academic and related organizations. Later, more land was purchased in Beavercreek to bring the total to 1,250 acres — that land does not have a deed restriction that the original land has, which stipulates what type of company can acquire residence within the park.

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Land Holding LLC will assume ownership of the four existing buildings from the foundation. The University of Dayton, Wright State University, and Sinclair Community College will continue to lead efforts, in collaboration with regional leaders, to attract innovative new organizations to the complex, according to a statement.

Local college presidents from Sinclair Community College, the University of Dayton and Wright State University are permanent trustees of the foundation, and they now say the park should transition into a new phase — with new ownership of the land, different leadership in the foundation, and a loosening of property deed restrictions.

WSU, Sinclair and UD presidents are permanent Class A trustees, and MVRF board chair Steve Johnson said they don’t see the need for presidents to be required leaders of the foundation. It would require state action to officially take the presidents off the board.

“The Miami Valley Research Foundation Board is pleased with this news, both for what it means for our community and for the future of the Miami Valley Research Park,” Johnson said. “This investment provides an excellent opportunity for economic development for the future of our community and also provides the Research Park with the stability needed to move forward. This is a great day for all parties involved.”

The original purpose was to promote scientific and technology-based work within higher education while creating a tighter knit community of local universities. Johnston told this newspaper in a previous interview that the recession had impacted the economic health of the park, and it was difficult to use the same business model the park was founded under.

As the economy bounces back, the land will open new opportunities for the city, said Kettering Mayor Don Patterson. He said the universities worked graciously with the city to execute the land purchase.

“Reinvestment in the Miami Valley Research Park is essential to the long term growth and stability of our region,” Patterson said. “As a land-locked community, the opportunity to acquire green space appropriate for commercial development is rare and one we couldn’t pass up. We are confident that this is a wise investment for the future of Kettering.”

BY THE NUMBERS

1,250: total acres in the park

$410 million: amount of capital investment in park development

22: total buildings in the park

450: total acres developed in the park

4,000+: workers in the park at various companies

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A dream home the way you want it: Vandalia firm grows with demand

Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 10:29 AM

Greg Barney, new owner of Vandalia’s Unibilt, said he sees promise in the modular home industry. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF
Thomas Gnau/Staff
Greg Barney, new owner of Vandalia’s Unibilt, said he sees promise in the modular home industry. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF(Thomas Gnau/Staff)

Greg Barney’s journey to owner of Unibilt Industries Inc. has included everything from accounting to framing homes.

After working as Vandalia’s Unibilt as vice president of business development for several years, took the helm Jan. 1, buying a company that has built more than 12,000 modular homes since the late 1960s.

Barney bought the company from Sharon and Doug Scholz, who decided to retire.

Scholz’ father Carl started Unibilt in 1969. Barney’s father, Jack, worked with Carl Scholz in the 1950s at Vandalia Sales; the elder Barney started Vandalia Rental in 1961, and that company is now a busy equipment rental business run by Barney’s nephew, Kurt Barney.

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Tim Scarpelli, a framer at Unibilt, measures as he sets a wall on what will be someone’s new home. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF(Staff Writer)

Unibilt builds modular homes inside an manufacturing complex on Johnson Station Road in Vandalia where weather doesn’t affect storage or construction.

By the time modular homes are placed on their foundations, the structures are 85 percent complete.

“These are built exactly like you build a home out on the job site,” Barney said. “They’re just built in pieces and (shipped) right out to the job site.”

The University of Dayton graduate worked for accounting firm Ernst and Young for eight years before getting into developing and residential “stick-framing.” (“Stick-framing” or “stick-building” are terms Barney uses for building a home on site once lumber and parts have been delivered. The entire house is raised on site.)

Then the Great Recession turned his head around.

“I got through the downturn and kind of re-evaluated everything,” Barney said. “The downturn kind of decimated the industry. A lot of people retired and moved on.”

Finding help

Young people were avoiding construction trades. Demand for new homes didn’t appear to be there. Even today, in a period of renewed demand, it’s difficult to find qualified trades people, Barney said.

A home under construction at Unibilt in Vandalia. All Unibilt’s modular homes, and all the materials for those homes, are built and stored indoors. The company has built more than 12,200 modular homes since 1969. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF(Staff Writer)

Still, the pull of home-building — modular home-building — was there for Barney.

“I view this as something that will become a little more prominent in the industry,” he said. “Right now, you see a lot of people looking at different ways, better ways, to build houses.”

Home-building really hasn’t changed in decades, he said. The lack of qualified trades people — carpenters, framers, plumbers, electricians and many others — are forcing a new look at how homes are built.

“It’s become extremely expensive and really only an affordable product (for the builders) for the higher-end homes,” he said.

Modular homes

Modular building is faster and efficient, Barney believes. All materials are nearby and weather delays aren’t a factor. Framers, plumbers, electricians, drywall finishers and others work at the same station of the build process where perform the same job every day.

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Unibilt has 86 employees and is hiring. Barney sees a need for a dozen more employees before 2019.

Materials enter into one end of Unibilt’s 120,000-square-foot production site and at the other end are largely finished homes.

He doesn’t expect modular construction to overtake stick-framing. But he does believe growth is likely.

“I think the thing we fight is a stigma,” Barney said. “Everyone looks at us as a manufacturer of double-wides. And it’s just not like that.”

Unibilt offers a range of custom options, he said.

He declined to discuss the terms of his purchase or to offer revenue or sales numbers. But he said the company is experiencing growth in volume of homes sold and associated revenue.

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Report: Winn-Dixie owner preparing for bankruptcy, up to 200 stores could close

Published: Saturday, February 17, 2018 @ 3:23 PM

Bi-Lo, Owner of Winn-Dixie, Reportedly Preparing For Bankruptcy

Winn-Dixie owner Bi-Lo is preparing for bankruptcy, according to a Bloomberg report.

>> Read more trending news 

Up to 200 stores could close as part of a bankruptcy filing, Bloomberg reported. According to Winn-Dixie's website, the retailer has locations in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.

The bankruptcy filing could come as early as next month, Bloomberg reported. 

Bi-Lo has not publicly confirmed any bankruptcy plans.

Traditional grocery stores have faced increased competition from online retailers like Amazon.

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Gibson guitar company facing imminent bankruptcy

Published: Thursday, February 15, 2018 @ 2:51 PM

The maker of the Les Paul, Firebird, Flying V and dozens of famous electric and acoustic guitars is facing an uncertain future according to reports from the Nashville Post, and several music and financial publications.

Gibson guitar company, which has been a staple brand among various musical instruments since 1902, is facing bankruptcy.

According to the Nashville Post, Gibson’s chief financial officer, Bill Lawrence, left after six months on the job and just as $375 million in senior secured notes mature and another $145 million in bank loans become due if they aren’t refinanced by July. The departure of Lawrence was seen as abrupt and a statement about the desperate situation Gibson is in currently.

The company, which generates $1 billion a year in revenues, recently moved out of its Nashville warehouse, where it had operated since the mid 1980s. 

The company owner since then, Henry Juskiewicz, is trying to re-order the company according to the Post but is facing a battle with creditors over bad business decisions. The company recently sold Baldwin piano, and is hoping to see a boost in cash from the various electronics companies it had purchased the last several years.

Gibson began in 1902 in Kalamazoo, Mich., producing various instruments, including acoustic guitars and the Les Paul, designed by noted guitarist Les Paul, which became one of the most iconic instruments ever made. The Gibson Les Paul began production in 1952, and became a staple of the rock and roll movement since. The company since developed other iconic guitars such as the SG, Firebird, the Flying V and he ES-335 among others. 

Various reports, citing experts in the music and financial business, said Gibson would likely survive a bankruptcy due to its name value and tradition, as well as the a strong core business, according to Moody’s, who also cited the company’s balance sheets and organization issues as reasons to downgrade the company. 

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Roosters to move to former Caddy’s location 

Published: Monday, December 04, 2017 @ 7:54 AM
Updated: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 4:03 PM

Contributed
Contributed

Roosters is planning to open a restaurant in Miami Twp., with plans to replace another nearby location.

A limited liability company affiliated with the casual dining chain bought a restaurant property at 9400 Springboro Pike, which was formerly home to Caddy’s Tap House.

Officials with Roosters couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

Tracey Herron, with Equity Inc., who represented Roosters in the real estate deal, said the location will replace its smaller leased store at 103 N. Springboro Pike near the Dayton Mall.

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The 8,500-square-foot restaurant is near the Interstate 75 and 675 interchange.

Roosters Real Estate LLC bought the property for $1.7 million in a sale recorded Dec. 1 by Montgomery County.

Caddy’s shut down its restaurant and bar at the location in May due to poor performance, the restaurant owner said at the time.

marketing flyer by Oberer Realty, which had been listing the property for sale, stated about 54,832 people live within three miles of the restaurant with an average household income of $79,657.

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