Creative ideas for 7 Acre commercial land in Dayton Ohio

23 Replies

I unfortunately have 7 acres of commercial land in Dayon OH. I received this in lieu of cash as part of a bankruptcy settlement.

I will start with the assumption that outside of giving this land away, I probably will not have anyone interested in purchasing this property for some time.

My holding costs are about $1500-$2000 per year between the property taxes and keeping the grass mowed.

So, I am looking for some BP creative ideas to lease the land to at least cover the holding costs.

Thanks in advance for any help.


Could you secure a portion of the the area and lease out storage space for RV's, Boats etc?

I would definitely check into zoning and how the land could currently be used. That may help guide you in finding some creative uses for the land.

I would look into what Kevin said. Think about throwing an 8ft tall fence up and renting it out for storage of vehicles and boats. A lot of places, like where I live will not allow you to keep a boat, rv, or trailor on your driveway.

You can create quite a bit of positive cash flow if you go about this right. In fact, when it's all said and done you might just end up hanging on to the land : )

Billboard? Check regs.

As mentioned by a couple of other prior posts here, storage (self service) is an way to offset those tax bills with some revenue until a better use comes along.

The billboard idea could work, if near a major road and the zoning allows for that use.

Can you grow anything on it? That might change the taxes if you get an agricultural zoning. If its possible, you might find someone who would lease it from you to grow something. That's plenty of land for a 'you pick em' strawberry patch.

Along the lines of what Jon said, not real sure what grows in that area, but if you could do Christmas Trees or Pumpkins, those are a couple things that would be seasonal and pull in some good cash.

Thanks everyone for your quick response.

1. The land is just west of 725 Lilac Ave in Dayton.

2. I live almost 3 hrs away so I am trying to find something that is as hands off as possible.

3. The land is surrounded by residential areas so Billboards are not a workable solution for this land.

4. I know that it is zoned "commercial", how do I determine if I can let a farmer grow crops there or possibly set up a storage facility?

Optimally, I would find someone that would want to lease the land and set up some type of "business" so that I do not have an issue 3 hrs away.

Thanks again for the assistance.

Cell phone tower? May have more opposition from locals than a billboard.

There are often a number of commercial zoning designations in a county. It would be unusual that zoning would just allow any type of commercial activity.

Not knowing to much about the location it might be possible to use the land for a farmers market / flea market.

You may be able to throw up an inexpensive metal building that could be leased for storage, construction, work shop.

Is their much traffic? Is the land near a populated area? What might be useful to the residential community?

There are lots of reasonable priced ways to make use of the property, but you need to do what kinds of activities would be approved.

If it is in residential, and in the city limits, not likely you can grow crops on it. But if it is zoned commercial you could probably do a ground lease for maybe an assisted living facility or something like that.

Ok, I'm looking at an aerial photo of the land right now (Man, I love Google Earth!).

I don't think a billboard will do any good as the only people around to see it would be the residents on Longvale and Becker Drives (please let me know if I'm looking at the wrong spot), and they probably wouldn't appreciate the view. The adjacent Mutual Tool Plant looks like they have plenty of space themselves, so they're probably not interested in leasing any of your land. A cell tower may be an option, but is one needed in that area? You can probably locate it far enough away from the homes and disguise it as a tree to overcome objections.

How is the land accessed? Do you own the strip of land that runs along the north edge of the tool plant connecting Lilac Ave. to the lot? I like the idea of RV and boat storage. It's fairly hands off and you don't even need to pave anything if the ground is firm enough. When I used to store my boat trailer in a dirt lot, I simply brought a few pavers along with me to park the trailer on, keeping the wheels off the dirt. You should erect a chain link fence around the area like previously suggested and use a "daisy chain" for the gate so any of your customers can access their property at their convenience (make sure you have your OWN lock in the chain).

One other idea. Not sure if there is a market for this in that area, but many people will pay to have a "ghost" address, i.e., an address they can receive mail at without disclosing their residence, place of employment, etc. Check the legalities since you may be regarded as a commercial mail receiving agency (CTMA), but the overhead would be minuscule (a locking mailbox for each client that they can access 24/7).

Let us know what you decide and how it works out.

That should be CMRA for commercial mail receiving agency. WTF was I typing?

Rose & Mitch,
Thanks for the input.
The tool & Die company went bankrupt which caused this whole mess two years ago so instead of the cash that I was owed, I received this useless 7 acres.
I still have determined a course of action. I am considering putting in on Craigslist and offering owner financing. I just have not taken the time to get that done.
Thanks again for your inputs.

Updated over 7 years ago

That was supposed to be: "I have not determined a course of action yet."

Your lot is zoned "T" for Transitional by the city. Have a look at their web page. Your lot is on map 2. There's a link to the zoning code on that page, too. The section on Transitional zoning starts on page 179. Here's the basic description of what they want:

Transitional (T) District. The purpose of this district is to support the rehabilitation
and/or redevelopment of underutilized commercially zoned areas in the City where
traditional business district zoning is inappropriate or unsuccessful. The
Transitional District allows a mixture of uses appropriate for creating a mixed livework
environment at a scale and character compatible with the surrounding
residential neighborhoods. Such uses include a limited range of

I was planning to dig out that information in the near future.
Thanks for finding that.
I appreciate the research. Something like that can take a long time to find when you are a novice at finding that stuff like me.
I need to get going on this project soon.
Actually visiting my son out at USAFA now so I am in your neck of the woods Jon.
Thanks again

Originally posted by Chris Luithly:
The tool & Die company went bankrupt which caused this whole mess two years ago so instead of the cash that I was owed, I received this useless 7 acres.

Sounds like quite a story Chris. Do you own the tool building? I thought it was just the vacant land to the west. Being from SoCal where lots are typically 5,000 to 10,000 sq. ft., I have no idea what 7 acres looks like! :wink:

What kind of condition is the building in? With an improvement like that on the land, there's a whole new set of possibilities. They didn't leave the machines behind, did they?

I'd drastically discount it and sell it. Building anything on it will require investing much more than your holding costs, and there's probably no market at all in the area right now, so you're probably throwing good money after bad. If you can't sell it discounted, I'd just hold it and pay the costs of holding.

I would have to drive the area to see what is the highest and best use for the land.

Soil type,nearby utilities,and topography of the land in addition to the zoning would determine possibilities.

The question really would be how much you were owed versus how much you could get for the land you were given??

Moving the dirt around on 7 acres can be extremely expensive depending on many factors.

Developers go by "net developable area" when making offers as that is what they can produce income on.

If you have 7 acres but only 3 is usable you will get very little for the other land.

The other thing you have to look at is road frontage and access points along with parcel size and shape.You might could partner or combine connecting parcels to appeal to a larger developer.

You also have to remember this fact.What the city or county wants has NOTHING to do with what a developer will want the property for.

I see it all the time in my area.We have a 25 year land use plan with current and future mapping. An area that was designated for townhomes is now foreclosed on.The new developer wants to buy the property subject to getting zoning to put in an apartment complex instead of the town houses.

Of course the county says we understand WHY the new buyer wants this but we will not deviate from our vision for the county.So the land sits and rots until the cycle will come back to where a buyer will purchase for that use or the county gives in a little to the developer.

It's a tug of war with the counties having huge budget short falls they really want the developments to increase the tax base over raw land assessments but can't deviate too much from the land use plans.

Before selling distressed investments land development was all I focused on for commercial development.

Determining highest and best use and getting it approved for that use is the hard part.Tweaking engineering and 3-d plans for approval is the easy part.

You could sell now to an opportunistic land fund for cash or a developer that wants to purchase and hold.There are also land buyers that own many businesses and like owning land as they can eventually sell off for a profit but put no time into it.

If you partner with a developer you can get more for your land but also share some of the expense,risk,and time into the deal.If I could benefit more by receiving cash today and investing it elsewhere that is what I would do.

Hope it helps...................................

On google earth it looks like a big, flat chunk of land with a big industrial building. Its in the middle of a residential area that appears to have already been platted out, but not fully built out. That supports there not being much demand for housing. Its on the western edge of Dayton, and there is a LOT of similar undeveloped land nearby.

Is there any demand to rent it as is? Is the building still there?

If you could offer owner financing, you'll most likely find some buyers. Afterwards, you could sell your note for cash and be done with it.

Thanks everyone for your inputs. I really appreciate your taking the time to address this issue.
That is what I am thinking right now.
You have nailed the land exactly. The building is there and vacant. There are environmental issues with the building but it has not impacted the acreage. They sold the equipment. The building will probably be seized by the county soon for back taxes.
I think that my best choices are to sell with owner financing or wait it out until the market recovers (that might be a long wait.)
I have not checked the option to rent the land yet. I plan to track that option down as well.
Once again, thanks everyone for your inputs.

You might be better off acquiring the building and its parcel; you'll have a much larger chunk of land to work with then. The environmental issues could render that idea moot of course.

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