Thursday, April 20, 2000

Developer gets 2nd chance

Wyoming amends agreement for old Kmart site

BY Sara J. Bennett
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        WYOMING — Residents eager for development at the former Kmart property on Springfield Pike may see progress in June.

        In an effort to get the land sold by June 1, the city has amended its agreement with a developer who wants to buy approximately 8 of the property's 12 acres.

        The Coral Co. of Beechwood, Ohio, plans to build at least 57 patio and townhomes on the property at 1630 Springfield Pike. But Coral defaulted on its agreement to buy the land by its original Jan. 31 deadline.

        An amended sale agreement approved this week by Wyoming's city council contains penalties if Coral fails to close by the new deadline. Coral will put $150,000 in an escrow account that would go to the city if the sale falls through. Coral also would give Wyoming a sewer easement near the property.

        The new agreement also allows both parties to walk away if the sale isn't closed by the new deadline. But that won't happen, said Coral president Peter Rubin.

        “We plan to start construction in June, and we're rushing toward that deadline,” he said. “We're mak ing a very substantial investment with the city, so obviously we are very confident that no one is going to be walking away.”

        The city bought the former Kmart site in 1995 and named the Coral Co. the preferred developer. Late last year, a plan by Marriott Senior Living Services Inc., to build an assisted living facility on about 4 acres of the land fell through.

        Wyoming retained that portion of the property and is seeking a new developer, City Manager Robert Harrison said.

        He added that one of the questions residents ask most frequently is: When the rest of the land will be put to use?

        The amended sale agree ment with Coral contains several compromises that benefit both parties, Mr. Harrison said.

        The sale price has been adjusted to $1,209,049, and Coral won't have to reimburse the city for maintaining the property until the closing. Coral also would be able to build up to 63 units if it wanted.

        Coral will install a sewer that could serve the entire property, but the company won't charge a tap-in fee to Wyoming or developers of the remaining 4 acres, Mr. Harrison said.

        The new townhouses and patio homes should be ready for occupancy by next spring, Mr. Rubin said.


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