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Land deal advances property development

An end of the year sell of seven privately held parcels along South Ninth Street has put development of the acreage where the former Dennis J. Boll Group and Shelter Home once stood one step closer.

On Dec. 30, property owned by James and Kathy Kratzenberg was sold to the Old Engineer Property LLC, for $500,000 dollars. The parcels span lots between South Ninth and Vernon streets.

About six years ago Kratzenberg, then managing partner of the Ironton Commercial Development LLC, announced a $12.5 million project that would bring in a Hampton Inn and seven-acre shopping/dinner complex along Park Avenue and Ninth Street. However, that project never got out of the basic planning stages.

Now seven parcels owned by Kratzenberg will be combined with the properties of the group home, the National Guard Armory and county garage to form a consolidation of acreage that will be marketed as a single property, according to Ralph Kline, assistant director of the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization.

“It is basically working to assimilate it to market it together for development,” Kline said. “The biggest challenge is to pull together to have a site. A lot of it depends, but a developer who is going to invest significant money will want to own it.”

Old Engineer is a temporary organization that is made up of the county and city port authorities, the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation and the CAO with Kline as its agent. The organization filed with the Ohio Secretary of State on Dec. 2, 2009.

After the county properties are transferred to the Old Engineers, marketing will start. However, there is no single plan for the property that is about six acres.

“I think it is open,” Kline said. “I don’t think there is any single thought as to what is the best use of the property. A hotel is definitely one that has been identified as needed. As far as the others you have to let the market decide. It is a good redevelopment project for the community, especially for the city. That is the city’s front door.”