NEW DETAILS: That ‘Ghost IHOP’ restaurant is now for sale

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Benchwood Road eatery did open briefly as The Wright Cafe.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Eatery on Benchwood Road was built and outfitted as an IHOP, but never opened under that brand

The Vandalia restaurant that was built and equipped as an IHOP — down to the tables, chairs and exterior signage — but which never opened as an IHOP is now for sale for nearly $2 million, according to the commercial realtor who is listing the property.

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Robert Zavakos, senior vice president of the commercial real estate firm of NAI Bergman, said he was hired by the receiver for a financial institution to put the property at 3324 Benchwood Road in Vandalia on the market.

“I have listed it for sale for $1.85 million,” Zavakos said.

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The property, which includes a one-acre lot and a 4,575-square-foot restaurant with kitchen equipment and furnishings, built in 2017 and early 2018, was on the market in December of 2018 for an asking price of $3 million, according to an online listing at that time.

The property is around the corner from the Miller Lane “restaurant row” and across from the York Commons retail center.

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IHOP officials never fully explained why the restaurant never opened as an IHOP after construction was completed in early 2018. Earlier this year, a restaurant called “The Wright Cafe” opened in the space, with color banners stretched across existing “IHOP” signage. But that restaurant shut down three months later, in late May 2019. It has not operated as a restaurant since then.

>> Wright Cafe employees say they’re not to blame for restaurant’s closure

What had been the other three IHOP restaurants in the region — in Beavercreek, Huber Heights and Springfield — shut down abruptly in mid-January 2019. An IHOP spokeswoman said at the time that the stores’ franchise owner  was “unable to continue operating,” and the restaurant chain was exploring options.

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IHOP plans to return to the Dayton market with a new restaurant on Miller Lane in a former Max & Erma’s space overlooking I-75, an IHOP spokeswoman confirmed in August. There has been no indication the new franchisee coming to Miller Lane has any interest in trying to reopen the three locations that shut down in January.