Thursday, March 30, 2000

Wyoming development on hold

Company defaults on contract with city

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        WYOMING — Plans to build a complex of townhouses and patio homes on the former Kmart site along Springfield Pike may have been delayed a few months.

        Developers with the Coral Co. of Beechwood, Ohio, have defaulted on their contract to buy from Wyoming eight acres of the 12-acre parcel where the Kmart once stood.

        But that doesn't mean the project is dead, said Coral Co. President Peter Rubin. He said he's negotiating an amendment to the contract with Wyoming and has deposited money to hold the property in anticipation of closing the deal in June.

        Coral remains the preferred developer for the site, said City Manager Bob Harrison. And Wyoming is eager to see construction begin.

        “There's no doubt that's one of the number one questions residents of the community are asking — when are we going to see that site finally get developed?” Mr. Harrison said. “I will say that Coral Company has always shown good faith in trying to get that property developed.”

        Coral was supposed to close on the property by Jan. 31, Mr. Harrison said. After March 1, the company was in default.

        Mr. Rubin said the delay occurred because it took Coral longer than anticipated to evaluate what it would cost to build the homes vs. what would be charged for them.

        The company is still working on the estimates, he said.

        Coral plans to build 57 townhouses and patio and manor homes on the former Kmart site at 1630 Springfield Pike. Wyoming bought the property in 1995. Construction was to have started this spring.

        There have been problems with developing the site, though. In October, Marriott Senior Living Services Inc. dropped its plan to buy four of the site's 12 acres and build an assisted-living facility there.

        Wyoming decided to retain ownership of the property and look for another developer. But losing Marriott set the stage for delays, Mr. Harrison said.

        “It pushed the whole project back,” he said. “It really was dominoes. Once they decided not to proceed, it caused a whole number of additional issues.”

        Mr. Harrison expressed hope, however, that the Coral development would proceed this year. The company has spent nearly $200,000 clearing the property and preparing it for development.

        Mr. Rubin said he's hopeful, too.

        “We are still interested (in the site),” he said, “and we're investing more money in it in anticipation that June 1 we'll finally be closing.”


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- Wyoming development on hold