GENEVA — In a brief public session at their Thursday meeting, the Geneva Board of Education approved an agreement between multiple parties to clear the way for the sale of land and buildings at SPIRE.
Opened in 2009, SPIRE was intended to be a state-of-the-art athletic facility and sports academy. SPIRE was initially intended to act as a non-profit, but the Ohio Supreme Court found that SPIRE and Roni Lee LLC, the owner of the property, did not qualify for tax exempt status in 2016, according to court records.
In 2018, all of the parties agreed to a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement, with the owners of SPIRE agreeing to pay $3.9 million, covering tax payments on the property from 2010 to 2026.
In March, it was announced that the lands and buildings of SPIRE would be put up for sale. In the intervening months, owner Ron Clutter has worked to get Spire Circle, the road leading to the facility, declared a public road.
In September, the Geneva School Board passed a motion allowing the transfer of the sports facility agreement to the new owner of the facility.
On Thursday, the Board consented to the transfer of the PILOT from Roni Lee LLC to Geneva Owner LLC.
Geneva Owner LLC registered with the Ohio Secretary of State on Sept. 18.
Jonathan Ehrenfeld has been announced as the man behind Geneva Owner LLC.
“The Geneva Area City Schools is excited and optimistic for a new partnership with the prospective new owner of the Spire complex, Mr. Jonathan Ehrenfeld,” Geneva Schools Superintendent Eric Kujala said in a statement. “Final details are being finalized and a closing date is expected in the middle of the month. We had the chance to meet with Mr. Ehrenfeld and he is excited to continue what has been started at Spire and looks forward to making positive changes for our county and community.”
Ehrenfeld is the founder and president of Blue Ocean, according to his Linkedin page.
Blue Ocean is a Baltimore-based real estate company owning 23 properties valued at a total of $450 million, according to their website.
“Our mission at Blue Ocean is to create and deliver exceptional value to our residents, commercial tenants, employees and partners,” the company’s website states.
“Over the years, our district has benefitted from a partnership with Spire and our students have been able to train and play in a tremendous facility. I would like to thank Mr. Ron Clutter for his vision and financial commitment to our area,” Kujala said in his statement. “He constructed a fantastic facility and was responsible for bringing countless visitors to our area winch provided visibility and economic growth to our county.”