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Huber Heights close to acquiring land for music center, fieldhouse

By Steven Matthews - Staff Writer

The city of Huber Heights is on the verge of purchasing 32.5 acres for $2.31 million from Meijer to accommodate the city’s $18 million music center and GoodSports Enterprises’ $22 million fieldhouse.

City Council is expected to vote on the contract at Monday night’s meeting, which, if approved, will give the city possession of the land west of the Meijer store near the Interstate 70 and Ohio 201 interchange.

City officials and Meijer have been in discussions for the last three months.

“It is a premium site,” Vice Mayor Mark Campbell said. “It is what I would consider Austin Landing north. Meijer stepped up and exhibited a willingness to be good, corporate citizens and help the taxpayers in selling acreage to us at a price that’s very reasonable so we can begin to develop and build our future.”

Meijer spokesman Frank Guglielmi only confirmed that the city has a contract to purchase the land.

City officials have said tax increment financing (TIF) money will be used to pay for the $18 million music center, which also includes the property acquisition. With the purchase price $2.31 million, $1.5 million will come out of the $18 million budget, with the remaining balance paid out of the economic development budget, assistant city manager Scott Falkowski said.

The music center will be at the west end of the property, with the fieldhouse between it and Meijer. The preliminary conceptual master plan shows four outlots, potentially for restaurants, that are valued up to $500,000 each, Falkowski said.

“This whole thing is designed to do exactly what we want it to do — jump-start development to the north,” city law director Alan Schaeffer said. “As this happens, it will be one of the hottest intersections in the region, maybe even the state.”

Originally, the city was planning to purchase 28 acres from Meijer, but through the negotiation process, another 4.5 acres were added while the total price did not change, city officials said.

Meijer will have the right of first refusal on any naming rights for the music center, as well as the opportunity to match an offer. The contract also will prohibit competing uses, such as Kroger or Walmart, to purchase the music center’s naming rights.

Meijer representatives will be in town next week to discuss sponsorship opportunities, Falkowski said.

“There are a lot of sponsorship opportunities at the site beyond the naming rights,” he said. “They want to look at how they can truly partner with the city. This is a very big benefit to both parties.”

Falkowski said GoodSports will need about six to eight acres — land that the city will give to GoodSports as part of its “incentive package,” which is valued at about $2 million. It also includes the shared parking lot, constructing utilities (water, sewer) and setting up a pad site for the facility.

City Council also is expected to vote Monday night to allow staff to research the potential of a digital billboard on the same property. The original cost estimate is $500,000, Falkowski said.

City Council approved the music center project March 14. A groundbreaking for the center has been scheduled for 1 p.m. on May 18. The 4,500-seat covered venue is on schedule to open in the summer of 2014.

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