This unique Miamisburg building ‘can take cruise missile strikes,’ and it’s about to change hands

Aug 16, 2018
This photograph taken in 1997 shows one of the two entrances to T building on the grounds of Mound Lab in Miamisburg. The building, five stories underground (the newer building on the left is about five stories), is where Monsanto Chemical developed triggering device for the atomic bomb during World War II. This entrance is at the top of the secret installations that was built by carving out the earth on the other side of this hill, building the building and then packing the dirt back around it. FILE PHOTO

A heavily-fortified concrete building used to process nuclear weapons materials during the Cold War is expected to be sold this month.

Mound Business Park officials say a Miami Valley company is negotiating to buy the 122,000 square foot facility, an “underground, bomb shelter-type” structure, government records show.

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Patriot Communications wants to buy the 4.26-acre site constructed in the 1940s, Miamisburg records show. The building was where the “purification of polonium-210 for use in nuclear weapons” occurred when the Mound Laboratory occupied the 306-acre business park when it was a federal defense research facility, according to the Library of Congress website.

“It’s such a unique property,” Mound Development Corp. President Eric Cluxton said. “There’s nothing like it that I know of in the state of Ohio – or in the Great Lakes” region.

Known as the T Building at the Mound Advanced Technology Center, the underground structure features “reinforced concrete construction with a 15-foot thick roof, 16-foot thick walls, and built on an eight-foot thick slab,” federal records show.

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This photograph taken in 1997 shows one of the two entrances to T building on the grounds of Mound Lab in Miamisburg. FILE PHOTO Photo: Staff writer

The company looking to buy the building specializes in manufacturing communications-related equipment and plans bring 12 jobs to the park, “but then growing substantially past that as they build out and do remodeling,” Cluxton said.

“It’s a very, very strong structure. It’s an unbelievable building,” Cluxton said of the site, which Miamisburg City Planner Ryan Homsi said he has been told still has “some glass doors that can take cruise missile strikes.”

The land deal comes as the city is laying the groundwork to create a zoning district for the business park, which is transitioning from public oversight with the city and the Mound Development Corp. to private ownership.

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This photo was taken in 1973, about two decades before federal officials announced the closing of Mound Laboratory. FILE PHOTO Photo: Staff writer

The business park now has about 15 businesses with nearly 300 employees.

Mound Laboratory opened in 1949 as a top-secret defense research and production site that included polonium and plutonium processing and the production of nuclear detonators, according to Dayton Daily News archives.

The T Building had particular significance, but not because of how it was constructed, federal records show. It was because it “held the top priority of the 17 buildings being constructed at the Mound complex, requiring several months to work after completion of construction to be ready for operation,” according to the Library of Congress website. “This work would entail equipping the rooms for the hazardous process of polonium-210 production.”

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Cluxton declined to disclose terms of the deal, which he described as involving “a very, very creative, give-and-take type of negotiation.” The agreement is scheduled to close by Friday, he added.

The T building, which has been vacant for about 20 years, is a two-story underground site with each floor totaling 66,000 square feet of space, Cluxton said.

Vehicle access to the site is limited and Miamisburg is taking steps “to grant access to several different points to the property throughout site,” Homsi said.

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“A vast majority of the floor area for the T Building is located underground,” Homsi told city officials last week. “So the access points to the structure is somewhat atypical,” prompting a “unique request” from Patriot Communications.

Miamisburg records indicate “one unique aspect of this request involves the access points to the building. The two vehicular access points directly abut neighboring properties rather than rights-of-way.”

The same is true for pedestrian access from the building’s rooftop, according to Miamisburg records.

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