Beginning in the late 1940s, the 306-acre Mound facility made nuclear weapons components and performed research, employing 1,800 people as late as 1991.
Then, during the first George Bush administration, the government decided to close the Miamisburg facility, dealing a huge economic blow to the entire region.
Since then, Mound has been engaged in a gradual transition from a Cold War facility to a private business park, with years of environmental clean-up and marketing to win commercial tenants.
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Now, the Mound Business Park is moving into still another new era.
Federal subsidy payments to the former nuclear facility ended in 2014, and in a matter of weeks, the U.S. Department of Energy will transfer about 90 acres of land to Mound Development Corp., the legal entity that controls the business park.
“It’s the single largest piece of land available in the city (of Miamisburg) for development … which is exciting,” said Eric Cluxton, president and chief executive of Mound Development.
No more federal money
Today, there are about 15 businesses with nearly 300 employees total working there. At one time there were 116 buildings at the complex; today, there are a dozen.
All the buildings are either for lease or sale, Cluxton said. They must be, if the park is to be self-sustaining.
“Now it’s an asset-reuse strategy, meaning commercial redevelopment at the site,” Cluxton said. “There are no dollars coming from the federal government any longer.”
Recently, the building at 460 Vantage Point sold to a New York investor for $5.2 million, said Gerry Smith, a Miller Valentine Group senior vice president who represented Mound in the transaction.
“It was a tough place to transition into a business park,” Smith said.
The biggest employers there today include Excelitas and the Montgomery County regional dispatch center, which is housed in the building at 460 Vantage. Residents who dial 911 from many cities in the area are routed to the Mound building at 460 Vantage.
The dispatch center will remain in that building, Cluxton and Smith said.
Smith said he has heard inquires from possible tenants or buyers about the remaining sites still available, although he had no new announcements to make in an interview last week. He said he’s considering an offer on the building at 945 Capstone Drive.
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The park is unique as a commercial site. Its benefits include redundant power, strong physical construction, a park-like setting and plenty of privacy.
If any prospective buyer is looking for a building that can withstand a Soviet bomb blast, they should look at Mound.
“These are very robust buildings,” Smith said.
There is also that view from the top of the hill. “It’s probably the best view in the Miami Valley, anywhere,” said Cluxton, who grew up about three blocks from the park.
In the end, if ownership of all buildings changes hands, there may be no need for the Mound Development Corp. Cluxton said he is OK with that possibility.
“It’s kind of odd that being successful means being out of a job,” he said. “I mean, that’s my job, truly.”
‘Everything is falling in place’
When Dick Church was mayor-elect of Miamisburg in December 1991, the U.S. Department of Energy informed the city that its largest employer would soon close.
“That’s how I came into office,” Church said in a city public affairs cable television program last month.
More than 26 years later, Church is still mayor. Although he said it’s been a “long ride,” Church believes the park is now in a good place.
“I’m very pleased with how everything is falling into place,” he said.
Albert Macanian — a partner of Jen Skyline, the New York entity that bought 460 Vantage — said he’s going to hold the property as an investment.
Another of his companies, Plainview, N.Y.-based Dunkirk Realty, owns the Kettering Tower and 11 W. Monument Ave., all in downtown Dayton.
“I don’t think I got a bargain,” Macanian said of the Miamisburg purchase. “I think I got a fair price. I’m going to hold it for a long time, like the Kettering Tower and 11 Monument.”