- Lawrence Budd Staff Writer
The developer of Austin Landing South wants to create a “community” in the next step of the successful development located in southern Montgomery County.
The “community” will be as good as the architecture, buildings, businesses, public spaces, roads and trails connecting it, said Larry Dillin, who heads VisCap Inc., the private company working with the city of Springboro and Warren County Port Authority on the proposed $350 million development planned on 60 vacant acres of Springboro in Montgomery County.
The two governments are currently determining whether Montgomery County property taxes on the development should be diverted to finance as much as $35 million in roads, utilities and other infrastructure work on the land, just east of Interstate 75, on the southwest corner of Austin Boulevard and Ohio 741 in Springboro.
“The reason the planning cycle is so long is the risk exposure is so great,” Dillin said Tuesday during an exclusive interview at Springboro City Hall.
The proposed Austin Landing South site sits within the Austin Development District, spanning about 400 acres on four quadrants surrounding the Austin Boulevard interchange at I-75.
Dillin took over Austin Landing from R.G. Properties and is also overseeing completion of development on the north side of Austin Boulevard in Miami Twp., Montgomery County.
Miami Twp., Miamisburg, Montgomery County and Springboro formed the Austin Development District to oversee and manage the project. The taxes for the financing would be drawn from a tax incremental financing fund set up for development in the district.
Earlier this month, the port authority approved a resolution in anticipation of financing up to $35 million for the project.
Once the project financing analysis is complete, city managers are expected to make their recommendation to Springboro City Council, triggering public discussion on the project.
Dillin has declined to elaborate on what mix of retail, residential, commercial and open space is envisioned for the property, but the longtime developer points to other work he has been involved in.
The original master plan for Union Village, the proposed 1,400-acre community development in Warren County near the Otterbein retirement campus on Ohio 741, was done by Dillin’s company.
“We love Larry and he served us well,” said Gary Horning, vice president of marketing and communications at Otterbein said Tuesday.
Dillin said he and architect James Paresi also did initial planning for Ballpark Village, a development around the Dayton Dragons stadium in downtown Dayton.
For more than a year, Dillin and Springboro officials have been working privately on Austin Landing South.
“Certain services are needed in a community like ours,” Springboro City Manager Christine Thompson said.
For example, new services are needed due to elimination of those offered at the former Springboro IGA Shopping Plaza at Main and Central Avenue, Ohio 73 in Springboro, Thompson said.
The city is working on redevelopment of the former shopping plaza, on the northwest corner of Main and Central, where a $10 million intersection improvement project is under construction.
“The community extends beyond 73 and 741,” Thompson said.
All this, as well as “market realities,” must be balanced in arriving at a plan likely to succeed and justify the public financial commitment, Dillin said during a meeting around a conference table with city and port authority officials.
“Springboro as a community should strive to create multiple great neighborhoods,” Dillin said. “The kinds of developments we talk about, they are economic development engines.”