Saturday, April 4, 2009

New Germany: Zink Plat & West of Grange Hall

By the 1930s one of the Zink farms had been partially subdivided into the "Zink Addition", north of the old Yellow Srings or Harshmanville Road (AKA Colonel Glenn Highway). This is outlined in red in the map below.

After the military obtained the farms to the north, additional land left over along Colonel Glenn was subdivided, and was developed in the 1940s and early 1950s into a little residential ribbon development.

Some of the houses from this era survive, in other cases the lot lines survive but replaced by new buildings, as can be seen in this birds eye view keyed to the county auditors' property map.

The above graphic illustrates the fate of houses here: front yards become parking and the house is turned into a business of some sort. The fragmented parcelization gives the place a sort of snaggletooth feel compared to the massive planned developments further east, but what's interesting is that these are all local businessess; used car dealers, a church, a health spa, etc.

Across the street one of the unsual features of this area: a lot of open undeveloped land, as can be seen in this aerial from the Greene County auditors' website.

We've seen some of what was built, like Ashford Center and Signal Hill and the GlennTech Center (on the north side) as spec office buildings from the 1980s & early 1990s. The property, though, is mostly open. The far west part is owned by the GSA for a motor pool. Next comes "Colonel Glenn Limited", which has something to do with the Dave Dennis Chrysler dealership as it's on the tract north of Colonel Glenn but is using the southern tract to store cars (which is visible on the aeriel).

The bulk of the land, though, is owned by "Stewart W. Thomas" who's mailing address is either in the Kentucky horse farm country or a suburban Denver office & retail complex, depending on the parcel one clicks on.

One wonders if this had something to do with Ashford Center, which seems to be the start of something larger (with that little access road looping at 675).

One of the more interesting developments is Signal Hill, which looks like one complex, but is actually held by two landowners, one based in Dayton (the newer building and some vacant land) and another from near Phoenix, AZ (the older two buildings).

And, finally, the hold-out. Aerial photographs from the WWII era show that there was houses on the south side of Colonel Glenn. This is the sole survivor, from 1950.

One has to wonder what happened here. Why the development stopped after Ashford Center and Signal Hill and never continued during the booming 1990s.

This does seem to be a very ripe site, especially if the defense R&D-based spinoff economy ever takes off here (pardon the pun).

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