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Elyria Olive Garden property sold for $1.8 million

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    Olive Garden, in Elyria



ELYRIA — The property where Olive Garden sits was transferred to a new owner Thursday for $1.8 million.

The parcel at 1635 West River Road, N., on the east side of the road in the Midway Crossings Shopping Center, was sold by Arizona-based AT Midway Elyria OH, LLC to Illinois-based CLH Corp.

Jon Larmore, chief executive officer of real estate investment and development company ArciTerra Group, the name behind AT Midway Elyria OH, LLC, said in an email that the transfer won’t affect the Olive Garden. The restaurant’s owners will now just pay rent to a new landowner instead of him, he said.

CLH Corp. owner Chetty Sevugan, when reached by phone, said he’s a long-term investor who bought the property because he believes the nearby mall will soon be redeveloped.

Sevugan, who paid for the land with a $1.3 million loan and $450,000 in cash, said he’s heard the mall might be developed into an educational or health care setting.

“I think there’s a college or university looking at the main mall,” Sevugan said.

Elyria Mayor Holly Brinda didn’t return a call seeking comment about whether developers might be eyeing the mall for such projects.

In November Elyria City Council listened to a presentation by Jeff Green Partners and the Hoffman Strategy Group regarding Midway Mall.

The consultants were hired by the city for just shy of $50,000 to draft a potential plan for the property as a selling point for developers with a redevelopment plan for the 1.1-million-square-foot mall.

The consultants said if the mall wants to survive, it needs to find a new owner and an eager developer willing to transform it into a town center-like attraction similar to Crocker Park.

City officials have banked on the idea that reconfiguring state Route 57 will open the area to more traffic and attract potential developers interested in undertaking a large-scale project on a property between Interstate 90 and the Ohio Turnpike.

Lorain County Auditor Craig Snodgrass said the Olive Garden property was part of a recent lot split that turned one parcel into four. The remaining three parcels that house a strip plaza, which includes Verizon, Chipotle and other retail stores, still are registered to AT Midway Elyria OH, LLC, he said.

Snodgrass said there’s been a lot of activity lately in the area. That activity could be due in part to developers and investors coming in now that construction on Route 57 is finished, he said.

It could also be an indicator that bigger projects are in the works as investors buy land near the mall now before redevelopment occurs, he said.

“We’ve all heard a lot of the same rumors,” Snodgrass said. “But it remains to be seen exactly what those plans are, if there are any. There’s definitely a lot of activity and changing of hands going on in that area.”

Snodgrass said recent sales like the Olive Garden property are a good indicator that the local economy is improving. The $1.8 million sale put the auditor’s office over the $4 million real estate transfer fee collection mark for the year, he said.

“We’re really looking at numbers that we haven’t seen as far as volume and dollar amount since 2007,” he said. “Exceeding the $4 million collection mark is an outstanding year. It’s also a good indicator that the real estate market in Lorain County has picked up, and hopefully we’re passing the days of the recession up finally.”

Contact Jon Wysochanski at 329-7123 or Follow him on Twitter @JonWysochanski.

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