Speedway is the last property owner in the way of a $15 million transformation of the main crossroads of Springboro.
The company, which operates more than 2,700 gas station-convenience stores in 22 states, did not accept offers from the Warren County Transportation Improvement District, the agency representing the city of Springboro on the project at the intersection of Ohio 741 and Ohio 73, according to Springboro City Manager Christine Thompson.
“We’re down to one property which is Speedway,” Thompson said. “That’s the last and only property left to negotiate.”
The county TID has begun legal action to take the Speedway property on the southwest corner of the intersection, according to records in Warren County Common Pleas Court.
Already Judge Donald Oda II has agreed to disburse $800,457 in the lawsuit, according to court records. This amount represents what the transportation district’s appraisal determined the property was worth.
While most property owners accepted offers in eminent domain cases, Speedway typically goes to court, said Thompson, also on the board of trustees overseeing the county transportation district.
“This happens frequently to them,” Thompson said. “It’s their normal process.”
Speedway’s corporate office declined to respond to questions.
By the end of January, Warren County transportation officials expect to have secured land at and around three of four corners, including the Speedway, as well as land leading from the intersection.
Two turn lanes heading north from eastbound Ohio 73 and two turn lanes heading west from southbound Ohio 741 will be added, along with an overall widening and landscaping of the intersection known in Springboro as Central Avenue and Main Street.
Already, the former station and convenience store on the northwest corner — across from the Speedway — has been turned to a pile of rubble as the transportation improvement district moves forward in anticipation of the start of construction next spring. All property owners are to have vacated by Jan. 6.
The litigation is not expected to slow plans to complete the project. Construction, expected to cost about $4 million, is still expected to begin next spring, Thompson said.
The property is taken through eminent domain, a body of law allowing for the appropriation of private property for roads and other public projects.
Larry Denny, a Dayton lawyer, was a plaintiff when the Enterprise Pipeline was routed through his property outside Lebanon.
“When they want to go through your property, you don’t have any standing,” Denny said in 2013. “It’s just arguing about how much.”
The city set aside $5 million for land acquisition for the intersection project.
Joe Davis, owner of an auto repair business on the northeast corner, has to be out by Jan. 6.
“Speedway’s a heavy hitter,” Davis said earlier this year, before he found a new location for Pro Automotive after more than 20 years at the intersection, first as a full-service gas station.
Last week, Davis said he was moving temporarily about 500 yards south to 205 East St., a side road in the older part of Springboro.
Davis said he planned on one move to a new permanent location, but was delayed by problems with a piece of city property off Central near I-75 he considered purchasing.
“I’m going to have to make two moves now,” he said.
He was not confident he would wind up with the kind of visibility he had. “I will probably not duplicate what I’ve already got.”
On the northwest corner, most of the former Springboro IGA plaza, acquired by the city for $3.4 million, has been demolished.
The supermarket complex, once a commercial and social center for the city, is gone, as is most of the plaza across the parking lot to the north.
But the Springboro Flea Market continues to operate in the west end of the shopping plaza.
The flea market is expected to move into a space most recently used by a costume store in the strip center on the south side of Central Avenue, just east of Interstate 75.
Mayor John Agenbroad said the city would continue to work with Davis and Bill Bowman, owner of the flea market.
“They both have been very good working with the city. Therefore the city is reaching out helping them find a location in the Springboro area,” Agenbroad said.
The mayor was less accommodating to Speedway, which also operates a gas station-convenience store west of the intersection, at Central Avenue and Pioneer Boulevard.
“We prefer to work things out,” Agenbroad said. “We are not going to allow them to hold this project up.”