Dayton Business Journal - Friday, August 15, 2008 Alex Kolodesh

York Commons to get trolley car

Dayton Business Journal - Friday, August 15, 2008

Dayton Business Journal - by Tom Demeropolis DBJ Staff Reporter

If Alex Kolodesh has his way, a wave of new developments will come pouring into Miller Lane, riding high on the back of an authentic, San Francisco trolley.

Kolodesh, a partner with Oakwood-based Singer Properties, purchased the $50,000 trolley through a trolley broker Web site. He plans to get people to park their cars and enjoy the assortment of restaurants and shops in and around York Commons, a retail hub he developed off Miller Lane, near Interstate 75 in Butler Township.

"I don't think there is anything like it in the area," Kolodesh said. "We wanted something really cool."

Kolodesh said he wanted to find a way to get travelers -- the area currently has more than 1,600 hotel rooms -- and local residents alike to park their cars and enjoy either walking, or in this case, riding, from spot to spot.

The trolley will be owned by a limited liability company -- headed by Kolodesh and his partner on the new Cork and Vine & Wine Warehouse, Shawn Grow.

Kolodesh said he is waiting for the trolley, which is in Maryland, to have a mechanical inspection before it is shipped to Dayton. He will then have it painted and updated, so it can be used throughout the year.

He expects to have the trolley -- which will be free to riders --up and running in the next five to six weeks.

But the trolley is just one new addition to Kolodesh's massive shopping district. The 6,000- square-foot Cork and Vine, scheduled to open in early to mid-September, will feature an upscale look, complete with five plasma TVs, a fireplace in the center of the building, leather coaches and a 60-foot granite bar. The front of the store will cater to young professionals looking for a mixed drink, a glass of wine and tapas, while the rear will concentrate on retail wine and craft beer sales.

In addition, a separate but connected space will hold a wine warehouse, where shoppers can purchase cases of wine.

"You'll be able to taste a wine and then buy the entire case," Kolodesh said.

Ground also has been broken on a 109-room Residence Inn, which will add to several existing hotels along Miller Lane. Kolodesh said the hotel will open up another 17 acres of land for development, and plans to put in another 150,000 square feet of retail space. He said he may even try to put a lifestyle center there, similar to The Greene, but with no residential space.

"This will become a true shopping and entertainment district," Kolodesh said.

The new wave of growth has encouraged one franchisee to expand his operation. Dave Burrows, owner of the Miller Lane Cold Stone Creamery, is adding Cereality Cereal Bar & Cafe to his location. The new dual business will be the first in the area, and one of the first in the United States.

"This area is just now starting to hit its full potential," he said.

Burrows is hoping to get a number of travelers looking for a healthy breakfast to stop in and grab a Chinese-style take-out box full of cereal, which is how it is served. Burrows also said he will cater, bringing boxes full of cereal to events.

Some of the current retailers in Singer's York Commons, a 100-acre commercial district, include Wal-Mart Super Center, Office Depot, Winan's Fine Chocolates and Coffee and many others. The area also has a dozen restaurants including Olive Garden, Ruby Tuesday and Sake Japanese Restaurant.

Joe Flanagan, Butler Township administrator, said the development has had a positive impact on the area. And he thinks the trolley is a great idea for moving the development further.

"It's a really nice idea because with all the people staying at the hotels, they don't have to take their cars out," Flanagan said. "Plus, it would just be really cool."

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