***UPDATE (Dec. 17, 2018)***
The “mystery IHOP” restaurant that was built a year ago — but never opened — on Benchwood Road around the corner from the Miller Lane restaurant row is now for sale or lease, suggesting that the future of the site may not be as an IHOP, despite all of the signs and branding to the contrary.
The online property listing by Colliers International and brokerage vice president Pete Nichols for the empty-but-brand-new IHOP at 3320 Benchwood Road in Vandalia says it is “For sale or lease, newly-built restaurant. Fully furnished and equipped, ready for operation.”
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The asking price for the 5,000-square-foot restaurant and 43,560-square-foot lot is $3 million.
Michael Dixson, CEO of Las Cruces, New Mexico-based PDG/Prestige Development Group, the company that acted as area developer and oversaw construction of the other three relatively new Dayton-Springfield IHOPs, said today, Dec. 17, that he had no comment on the potential sale.
A spokeswoman for IHOP’s corporate parent noted today in an email that all IHOP restaurants are franchisee-operated. She declined to comment on the potential sale, but added, “We greatly appreciate the interest expressed by the community in opening an IHOP.”
Teo Regalado — the franchisee for the three other relatively new Dayton-area IHOP restaurants when they opened in Huber Heights, Beavercreek and Springfield — said in an email earlier this year that he was not the franchise owner-operator for the Benchwood/Vandalia location.
City of Vandalia spokesman Rich Hopkins said late this afternoon that city officials “really haven’t been involved in the property since issuing the certificate of occupancy back in February. We certainly would like to see the property utilized, but at this point we are, like many others, are stuck playing the role of interested bystander.”
Messages left for Nichols were not immediately returned. We will update this story with any new information.
***ORIGINAL STORY (October 2018)***
A sign inside the new IHOP restaurant that was built last winter on Benchwood Road in Vandalia advises diners to “Please Wait to Be Seated.”
They have been waiting, all right. For about nine months now, in fact.
While three other Dayton-area IHOPs are bustling with activity, the Dayton area’s fourth new IHOP sits empty. From every indication, the restaurant is ready to make its debut. Tables are all in place, chairs are stacked neatly atop the tables, the parking lot is smooth and striped.
The brand-new-but-still-lifeless restaurant has puzzled Vandalia city officials and local business leaders and frustrated potential diners.
“We do receive inquiries about it every week,” said Will Roberts, president and CEO of the Vandalia-Butler Chamber of Commerce. “The community wants an opportunity to dine there. People are anxious. They’d like to see it open.”
A spokeswoman for IHOP corporate told this news outlet Friday, Sept. 14 that she had no new information regarding the store’s opening. The store was to be franchisee-owned-and-operated.
Teo Regalado — the franchisee for the three other relatively new Dayton-area IHOP restaurants in Huber Heights, Beavercreek and Springfield — said in an email that he is not the franchise owner-operator for the Benchwood/Vandalia location.
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A spokeswoman for Las Cruces, New Mexico-based PDG/Prestige Development Group, the company that has acted as area developer and has overseen construction of the other three Dayton-Springfield IHOPs, told this news outlet in January that the restaurant was scheduled to open in early February. In late January, the spokeswoman revised the opening date to mid-March. In mid-April, the same spokeswoman said, “I don’t yet have a date” for the restaurant’s opening.
Vandalia officials have said they have not been notified of the reasons for the delay.
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“We do get the occasional inquiry as to why the restaurant has not opened yet, but at this point the only thing we can tell them is that from our perspective, they are good to go, and internally, they’re working through whatever issues they have to be able to open,” Rich Hopkins, a spokesman for the city of Vandalia, told this news outlet last week.
When the restaurant at 3324 Benchwood Road near the Miller Lane/York Commons development does open, IHOP will have doubled its Miami Valley footprint since last summer as part of the chain’s re-entry into the Dayton-area market. The Huber Heights IHOP opened in September 2017 at 7611 Old Troy Pike.
IHOP opened the first of what had been projected to be as many as seven IHOP locations in the region in October 2015 on North Fairfield Road in Beavercreek, and the second restaurant followed in October 2016 on Bechtle Avenue in Springfield.
>>RELATED: IHOP opening two more Dayton-area locations (December 2016)
The region had multiple IHOP locations in the 1970s and 1980s, including one near Ohio 725 and Ohio 741 near the Dayton Mall and one on Shiloh Springs Road near the former Salem Mall, but those restaurants closed three decades ago.
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