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Chappelle buys Kings Yard

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A local auction took an unexpected twist last Friday afternoon when comedian and community resident Dave Chappelle became the new owner of the north end of Kings Yard.

A representative for Chappelle made the winning bid of $470,000 at the auction of the 7,500 square foot building on the north side of the plot, which currently houses the bulk of Kings Yard shops, starting with Art Happens on the western end and ending with Bonadies Glass Studio on the eastern edge, fronting Xenia Avenue. The building also houses Yellow Springs Pottery, Tibet Bazaar, Toxic Beauty, The Tie-Dyed Gift Shop, Franci’s Arts & Gifts, Footprints of the Past, the Village Greenery and Jennifer’s Touch.

Cathy Christian of Springfield, the daughter of longtime Kings Yard owner Roger Hart, was the previous owner. She had purchased the building from her father a year ago, before his death. Christian will continue to own the rest of Kings Yard, which includes Ye Olde Trail Tavern, Sam and Eddie’s Open Books, Rita Caz and Asanda Imports.

In a brief interview following the auction, which was conducted by Sheridan Associates at the Bryan Center, Chappelle said he didn’t actually expect to purchase the property that day and that, “at this point, we will maintain” the current shops.

He has no clear plans yet for future uses of the property, Chappelle said, stating that “whatever I do with the property, my highest hope is to improve the quality of life for the people who live here and visit here,” as well as the shopowners. There will be “no major changes to the integrity” of the site, he said, adding, “I’d love to have the town’s support.”

About 12 registered bidders took part in the auction, including local property owner Bob Baldwin, builder Ron Lewis, builder Ron Stickleman and Ertel Publications head Patrick Ertel. About 40 people observed the auction, which took place in the Bryan Center gym.

At the beginning of the event, auctioneer Bart Sheridan clarified expectations regarding the eight easements on the property, which was being sold “as is.” For instance, maintenance of the walkway in front of the shops and of the parking lost behind will be maintained jointly by Christian and the new owner, according to Sheridan, who identified the shops as producing about $89,000 in annual rental income. Expenses are about $17,000 for utilities and $4,600 for property taxes, he said.

“You do the math,” Sheridan said, stating that the property will be a money-maker for its new owner.

Bidding began at $100,000, and quickly shot up to $300,000. Most of the bidders dropped out at that point, and the final bidding took place between the Sheridan agent who was representing Chappelle and Baldwin, who dropped out after bidding $465,000 for the property.
In a previous News article, Sheridan stated that they hoped to get as much as $300,000 from the building.

“I’m glad he’s local,” said Evelyn LaMers of Yellow Springs Pottery, regarding Chappelle. “We hope he has enthusiasm for fixing up Kings Yard.”
Roger Hart and his family had owned Kings Yard for the past 30 years. The Kings Yard plaza was planned in the 1970s by the Upland Corporation, a group of village leaders who had purchased the property from the Antioch Publishing Company, according to La Mers in an earlier article. The pottery store was the plaza’s first resident.

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One Response to “Chappelle buys Kings Yard”

  1. Will DeLeon says:

    I’m a fan of Mr. Chappelle and glad to see he’s doing all right in his hometown. Hope all is well…..

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