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Oct
27
2020
Infrastructure & Services

The soon-to-be-vacated Miami Township fire station at 225 Corry St. was sold by the Yellow Springs Development Corporation. Originally built in 1956, and updated in the ’60s and ’70s, the commercial building was listed for $400,000. (Photo by Matt Minde)

Fire station sale still pending

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The community might not know who bought the old Miami Township fire station on Corry Street for another two months.

That’s because the real estate contract to purchase the soon-to-be vacant fire station is still pending, with a closing date tentatively set for Dec. 11.

An error in the real estate contract and an illness in the family of the leading buyer have caused delays in closing the sale, according to the Yellow Springs Development Corporation, or YSDC, this week.

On Sept. 22, the YSDC, a local quasi-governmental development group, approved the sale of the fire station to an unnamed buyer. The YSDC is handling the fire station sale for the Miami Township Trustees, which owns the property. The trustees and the fire department are moving later this fall to a new facility under construction on the south side of town.

According to a letter from YSDC President Lisa Abel to Miami Township this week, the YSDC sent a real estate contract to the buyer two days after its vote, but the buyer delayed getting the contract back to the YSDC until Oct. 2, “citing illness in the family.” The real estate contract also contained an error, naming the seller as Miami Township, not the YSDC, she wrote.

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Addressing the status of the sale at their regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 6, YSDC member Corrie Van Ausdal said that currently “some lawyers are talking to some other lawyers” as various contract details are worked out.

Because of the delay, on Oct., 5, the YSDC requested — and was granted — an extension from the trustees on its option to purchase the property, until Nov. 16. As long as the closing date is pending by that time, the YSDC will not need to ask for another extension.

“That gives us time to get all of those details worked out and get a contract signed and a closing date firmed up,” Abel said of the extension at the YSDC meeting.

Earlier this summer, the YSDC purchased an option on the fire station at the nominal price of $1, and, aside from an 8% commission, will pass the sale proceeds to Miami Township. The building was originally listed for $400,000 and the township will be guaranteed at least $320,000 from the sale, according to an agreement between the YSDC and township.

Township Trustee Don Hollister, who is also a YSDC member, explained that the advantage of the YSDC selling the property is that it can choose a buyer whose plan would provide the most benefit to the community. By law, the township would have had to accept the highest bid for the property.

In her letter to trustees requesting the extension, YSDC President Lisa Abel shared additional details on the group’s process for selecting what they called the “leading buyer.”

Since late August, the YSDC subcommittee met with three “serious, committed” potential buyers to review business plans and proposed property alterations, Abel wrote. The group went on to negotiate on the price and “use of space” with all three potential buyers.

After that, the subcommittee evaluated the buyers for “best fit with the Village and township,” ranking them using seven values and principles, Abel added.

During the fourth week of September, one of the three potential buyers dropped out of the running, according to the letter. After that, the YSDC evaluated the final two, selecting a “leading potential buyer” and a “back-up buyer.”

After a discussion in a closed, executive session, the board ultimately voted 7–1, with two abstentions, to approve a resolution for the subcommittee to negotiate a contract with the leading buyer.

Voting yes were Abel; VanAusdal; Steve Conn and Steve McQueen, who represent the school board; Lisa Kreeger, from Village Council; Hannah Montgomery, from Antioch College; and Karen Wintrow, from the Chamber of Commerce. Village Council Vice President Marianne MacQueen cast the lone no vote. Hollister and villager Patrick Lake abstained.

Before consideration by the full board, a YSDC subcommittee handled inquiries and bids on the property and ranked the projects using the seven values and principles. 

In response to a request from the News this week, the YSDC board member Corrie Van Ausdal shared the seven criteria by which the applications were judged: “people/culture, profit/wages/taxes, environmental impact, jobs creation, local impact, diversity and other (COVID-19 considerations).”

Van Ausdal elaborated on the criteria over email. For instance, when looking at people/culture, the board asked, “How well would the proposal fit in with the existing culture of YS?” For environmental impact, they asked if the proposal considered the environmental impact of building plans and operations. The criterion of “local impact” was evaluated based upon how the proposal would impact the local utility grid, schools and neighborhood traffic flow and fill a local need for products or services.

YSDC subcommittee members also looked at the potential profits, wages and taxes, likely number and type of jobs created, how the proposal supports racially and ethnically diverse business and if the proposal “makes sense given the uncertain timeline of COVID-19,” according to Van Ausdal.

Members of the subcommittee included Van Ausdal, who is one of two township representatives; Village Manager Josué Salmerón (who later left the subcommittee after a conflict of interest arose) and Jeannamarie Cox, director of the Yellow Springs Community Foundation. Taking Salmerón’s place was Community Foundation board member Roger Reynolds. Salmerón and Cox are invited participants, but not voting members, of the YSDC, and Reynolds is not a member of the group.

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