A Columbus investor and entrepreneur said he is close to unveiling plans for the former South Park United Methodist Church on Brown Street near the UD campus.
Ernie Malas said Monday he and his partners are working with the University of Dayton and city of Dayton officials on plans for the former church.
“I’m certain that construction will start in the spring,” Malas said Monday. “It’s going to be a beautiful project.”
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However, a university spokeswoman said Tuesday that UD officials have had no conversations with Malas. And an official in the city of Dayton’s Planning Department said he was not aware that Malas had been in touch with city officials.
“The university has no current plans to develop our properties, and we are not in conversation with Mr. Malas about development,” a UD spokesperson said in a statement.
A message seeking comment was also sent to the office of Shelley Dickstein, Dayton city manager.
Reached later on Tuesday, Malas declined to comment further.
In a phone interview Monday, Malas said it was too soon to offer details about his plans for the church at 1701 Brown St. But he said he believes the completed project will fit in the neighborhood nicely.
Malas said Monday he has had “many meetings” with university representatives, the city and “a couple of the neighbors.” He declined to identify those with whom he has spoken.
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“We’re not asking to build anything that doesn’t fit the neighborhood. That’s why we’re working with all parties to make sure it gets done,” said Malas, whose LinkedIn page identifies him as chairman at TravelCash Inc.
Malas said Bobby Carpenter, a Lancaster native who played for the Dallas Cowboys and Ohio State , is involved in the project.
In August, one partner in the evolving project was bought out. That resulted in a Montgomery County property transaction record showing that Redhawk Down LLC, tied to a Dublin, Ohio company, bought the Brown Street church from Flyer Investors LLC for $850,000.
Recorded as part of that transaction: Redhawk also bought adjoining medical offices at 1727 Brown, also from Flyer Investors. A single-family dwelling at 128 Stonemill Road was also part of the purchase.
Flyer Investors first bought the church in November 2016 from Methodist South Park Church for $550,000.
At the time of the 2016 sale, residents in that part of Dayton were concerned that the church might be transformed into apartments or another high-density use.
The church building dates back to 1926 when it opened as Patterson Memorial Presbyterian Church — named after NCR founder John Patterson. It became a United Methodist Church in 1968, and merged with Oak Street UMC in 1995.
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