breaking news

Wright State president: ‘Avoiding fiscal watch is by no means a certainty’

Auto store transformed into energy haven


The former home of Harmon Cadillac is now home to businesses focused on alternative energy.

Chris McWhinney, chief executive of Millennium Reign Energy LLC, and Wendell Ott, business manager of EnergyWize LLC, are leasing space at 530 N. Main St. as an office and showroom. A manager for a third firm, Energy Options, often is at the site but is not leasing space there.

McWhinney has built generators that store hydrogen, turning the element into electricity with fuel cells — McWhinney calls them “Auto Arks.” The devices can store power or fuel hydrogen-fueled vehicles.

The irony in the situation — alternative energy businesses based where gas-guzzling vehicles were once sold — is not lost on the three entrepreneurs there. McWhinney called the building a “one-stop shopping center for renewable energy.”

Customers can walk into a storefront and talk to entrepreneurs about purchasing solar arrays for a house or wind turbines for a farm, McWhinney said.

“There’s nothing like that that exists,” he said. “That’s what we’re trying to do, to run a sales and service center at this location.”

If a customer wants to power a home in an energy-independent way, “off the grid,” this trio of companies can help, the men said. Ott can offer solar power options. Bruce Hatchett, of Energy Options, can offer wind and back-up battery choices, while McWhinney can help with hydrogen storage.

“Renewable energy back-up power is better than (gas-powered) engine-based back-up power,” Hatchett said. “If you do have a long-term outage, you may not be able to buy fuel.”

And renewable systems don’t run out of their source power, he added.

“The potential of the three technologies working together is that you can become completely individually energy independent,” McWhinney said.

The three businesses aren’t the only occupants at the site. Some Ohio Department of Transportation workers are based there. About 45 people work there today, said Clare Kangas, who manages the property for Harmon Management Group Inc.

According to real estate web site LoopNet, the 50,800-square-foot property is for sale at a listed price of $725,000. Kangas confirmed that the property is on the market, but she said no sale is imminent. The property on just over one acre offers rooftop parking.

“If the right buyer came along, we would certainly talk to them,” Kangas said.

Harmon’s Cadillac closed in 2009, caught up in the wave of dealership closings General Motors imposed during and after its bankruptcy restructuring.

The dealership had operated in Dayton since the 1930s, but it operated under the Harmon Cadillac name since the late Larry Harmon bought the dealership in 1990.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Recall alert: strollers, bikes, and phone chargers
Recall alert: strollers, bikes, and phone chargers

Strollers sold at Toys R US and other retailers that could strangle your child are among the new recalls announced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Jane Muum strollers have a large opening between the armrest and the seat bottom which your child could slip through, potentially trapping your child’s head or neck. No injuries have been...
5 tips for grilling safety for Memorial Day weekend
5 tips for grilling safety for Memorial Day weekend

Food poisoning peaks in the summer months when warmer temperatures cause foodborne germs to flourish, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of grilling season and is a major holiday that drives sales, including meat sales, at local grocery stores. Here are five tips from the CDC...
Golf-themed restaurant opens at regional airport
Golf-themed restaurant opens at regional airport

A new golf-themed restaurant has opened at the John Glenn Columbus International Airport. PGA Tour Grill, owned by global restaurateur HMSHost, has opened in Concourse C. The restaurant celebrates dining and golfing. Its motto? “Eat smarter, play harder.” “The addition of PGA Tour Grill to CMH is very exciting as we reflect on several...
Celebrated Cincinnati chef opening new restaurant in Warren County
Celebrated Cincinnati chef opening new restaurant in Warren County

The second Frenchie Fresh restaurant in the region will open at Deerfield Towne Center this summer. MORE: 20 things to do, see, eat in Cincinnati  Local chef and restaurateur Jean-Robert de Cavel’s new fine, fast-casual dining concept, Frenchie Fresh, puts a French twist on American-inspired classics. Think mac ‘n&rsquo...
Want a steak for Memorial Day grill? It’s going to cost you
Want a steak for Memorial Day grill? It’s going to cost you

A majority of the meats you grill on the Memorial Day grill will be cheaper this year, but those who like a good T-bone steak will pay a little more compared to last year. Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of grilling season and is a major holiday that drives sales, including meat sales, at local grocery stores. Robert Bernhard, owner of...
More Stories