West Chester Activity Center back on the market after disintegrating $1.9m sales

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ExploreWest Chester Activity Center, on sale since January, has a buyer

Administrator Mark Welch told the Journal-News after the inspection that Aziz returned and wanted about $300,000 off the price due to some required upgrades such as sprinklers. He said he believed they could have kept the $100,000 deposit because he was changing the purchase contract. But he said they would likely spend more on legal fees if Aziz took them to court again over the issue.

“There were discussions about whether he breached the contract, but emotionally you can say by God you can keep the deposit,” Welch said. “But we all agreed that logic prevails and we’ll just move on and take the high road.”

Aziz sued in federal court in September 2016, the case was dismissed as settled on December 8, and a consent decree was cleared by administrators on January 11. Legal fees cost the township $103,157 and insurance covered $35,741.

Aziz wanted to convert the former retirement home in West Chester, Ohio 42 into a drug rehabilitation center, but the township placed a moratorium on those types of facilities while they studied the potential impacts on the community. Neighbors came out in force – the property sits across from ball diamonds and next to a daycare center – mainly to protest the project.

Trustee Ann Becker agreed that Aziz likely would have sued had they decided to pocket the $100,000.

“When it came back and asked for a price reduction, we said no, we sold it as is and we’re trying to do what’s best for the taxpayers,” Becker said. “We could have kept the deposit, but we decided to vacate the property and move on to the next buyer.”

Administrator Lee Wong said, “It’s business, we’ll move on, it’s as simple as that.” The asking price is still $2.5 million and Wong said despite the fact that they were going to sell it to Aziz for less, he thinks they’ll get their price “there’s no problem selling this property”.

The other directors agree they should have no trouble securing their award, Becker said they already had some interest in the property since the Aziz deal fell apart.

“This will be a great property for the next person, it’s only been on the market since February,” Welch said. “The real estate market might be cooling down a bit but it’s a great property, it’s almost four acres and honestly the valuation when we got it a year or two ago was $1.8 (million) for the land alone.”

Aziz could not be reached for comment.

The activity center has been at the center of a debate over whether or not the township should provide community gathering space.

The activity center came into play after Community First Solutions stopped providing senior programs in 2019. Shortly after, the township agreed to sell the building to Kroger owner Regency Centers for 1.8 million bucks.

There were many moving parts and parties involved in building a new 117,166 square foot market. The deal was dependent on Regency Centers being able to acquire the activity center, Providence Bible Fellowship Church, a piece of Chesterwood Village, and easements and agreements with about 10 other owners to complete the complicated deal.

The directors granted Regency extensions to the deadline set out in the purchase agreement until March 2020. The company had 90 days to acquire the church and Chesterwood properties and six months to carry out due diligence. However, three 90-day extensions could be requested at a cost of $50,000 each. The administrators agreed to amend the contract by giving Regency an additional six months with $100,000 due in September 2020. Regency canceled the agreement just before payment was due.

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