Trotwood forms friendship to market investment opportunities in China

Trotwood City leaders will be showing a Chinese group opportunities for investment in the city today. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
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Trotwood City leaders will be showing a Chinese group opportunities for investment in the city today. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Trotwood city leaders met Friday with the Midwest USA Chinese Chamber of Commerce and a delegation from the Hubei Province about possible investment in vacant properties in the city.

Friday was the first time city leaders met with the group, said Fred Burkhardt, executive director of the Trotwood Community Improvement Corporation. While it was mostly a “meet-and-greet,” Burkhardt said city leaders brought up at least three sites for potential development.

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The delegates and chamber visited the former Salem Mall site and looked at the Sears building that Trotwood recently bought in bankruptcy court. Leaders also discussed the 46 acres of land with rail access behind Stratacache and the Commerce Park as potential investment opportunities.

“It was a very positive meeting. They are very open to the U.S. market,” Burkhardt said. “While this was a very preliminary meeting I would say that what Trotwood had available…is the type of real estate that would be looked positively on.”

The delegates asked questions about land use and Trotwood’s vision for the properties. Trotwood leaders described difference incentives available.

“This was a very early conversation of getting to know each other. They shared a letter of intent in terms of building relationships and growing in them and we’re moving forward with that from there,” said Trotwood Mayor Mary McDonald.

The delegation will now go back to XianNing with the friendship letter of agreement and promote Trotwood to businesses and other groups who may be interested.

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“These things are not quick. These are meetings to get to know each other,” Burkhardt said. “The utilization of what I would call government to government friendship opportunites go in place first. When opportunity presents itself, then the reciprocal side of things come into play.”

Trotwood would consider many types of investment, he said, but some specific uses under consideration by the city include light industrial at the 46 acres near the railroad and Commerce Park, as well as light industrial, logistics and other uses at the former Salem Mall property.

“Any viable offer that is going to improve our local economy undoubtedly will be given serious consideration,” he said.

They’re also considering light industrial and logistics options for the Sears building, which the CIC has decided to lease to add a steady income for the development group.

“Trotwood has some assets that are very marketable not only to U.S.-side businesses but also Pacific Rim businesses. The fact that China and their business community is taking a hard look at the Trotwood area is a major plus,” Burkhardt said. “When you look at the potential of sizable amounts of money being put into new construction, jobs and the secondary impact of jobs…you’re talking about a significant impact,” Burkhardt said.

The XianNing group visited the Air Force Museum before leaving the region Friday, Burkhardt said.

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