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Middletown brewery in footprint of $1.3B Hollywoodland proposal refuses to sell

‘They wish to demolish this property to make way for a modern facility that doesn’t fit.’
Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 11:17 PM EDT
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MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (WXIX) - The owners of Rolling Mill Brewing Company in Middletown say they do not support the massive “Hollywoodland” development unveiled earlier this week.

Co-Owners Megan and Josh Laubach took to Facebook Thursday night to announce they had declined a purchase offer from the project’s developer and to voice their general opposition to the project.

“We believe at this point, as business owners and Middletonians, this project is not the best thing for Middletown or Main Street residents,” they wrote. “There are too many unanswered questions and a lack of any concrete plans on how this will come into existence.”

“As of the city council meeting and presentation of the Hollywoodland project on Oct. 5, negotiations were still ongoing with the developer and Rolling Mill Brewing Company. The last proposed option agreement made by Rolling Mill was under review,” Middletown city officials said. “Legal counsel representing Rolling Mill notified City of Middletown attorneys that they were rescinding the proposed option agreement as of Oct. 7. Options to purchase property have been secured with eight parties within the proposed project area and if approved, the developer looks forward to bringing site developments and new industry to Middletown.

Rolling Mill is located on Main Street in what would be the entranceway plaza of the $1.3 billion development. The Laubachs say the building would be razed if the project moves forward as proposed.

“This is a building that we poured our families’ hearts and personal money into for a year just to open the doors of a locally owned and family-operated business,” the Laubachs wrote. “They wish to demolish this property to make way for a modern facility that doesn’t fit.”

The couple cited a lack of clarity on the development plan as contributing to their concerns.

The development is billed as a destination entertainment district and theme park.

Middletown City Council is expected to vote on the proposal at a meeting on Oct. 21.

If approved, Middletown will use $7.5 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds toward pre-construction design, engineering, financial structuring and other pre-closing, due-diligence efforts.

The proposal includes:

  • A first-class, full, service, destination Hotel and attached, publicly owned convention center with roof-top bar, themed restaurant(s), and assorted amenities;
  • A second, family-oriented hotel and water park;
  • A third, historic, boutique hotel located within the adaptively redeveloped First National Bank building;
  • A major, indoor entertainment and concert venue for large, nationally, and internationally acclaimed artists and touring Broadway productions;
  • An indoor amusement park containing multiple, themed entertainment-based rides, virtual reality experiences, immersive entertainment opportunities and integrated retail, food & beverage;
  • Structured and integrated underground deck-based parking (publicly owned) of no fewer than 3,000 spaces;
  • On-site mid-rise, luxury, market-rate apartment units and/or condominiums;
  • Permanent pre-and post-production motion picture studio sound stages and support offices and infrastructure;
  • Multiple restaurants, bars, brewpubs, and cafes, and a likely comedy club;
  • Integrated fashion, electronic, lifestyle, convenience, and recreational retail.

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