Group options land for hotel, businesses

SALEM – A California group is proposing a hotel and other businesses on more than 40 acres of prime property in the northern part of the city after signing a purchase agreement (option to buy) this week.

Larry Kosiba, executive director of the Sustainable Opportunity Development Center (SOD Center) confirmed the deal on land adjoining John Kufleitner’s Salem Chrysler Jeep Dodge dealership located at 400 Legacy Lane.

Kufleitner purchased the 54-acre tract and moved his dealership across from North Ellsworth Avenue in 2008 and it sits on the north edge of Salem on the four-lane bypass.

Kosiba said the amount of acreage purchased is closer to 50 acres.

The new owners are led by Lati Pegany and J.J. Kahlon who signed the purchase agreement earlier this week along with Kufleitner.

Kosiba said the deal had been in the works for six months. No price was disclosed.

Pegany said, “We are extremely pleased to be involved with bringing a hotel and other economic development opportunities to Salem.

“We look forward to working with the community, local contractors, and city hall in rapidly developing the entire 40 acres.”

Pegany said talks began last spring through Kosiba’s efforts.

Pegany said, “Mr. Kosiba has spent countless hours behind the scenes in connecting us with local construction firms, banks and financial institutions; arranging meetings with members of Salem city hall; and numerous other activities including obtaining the legal services of Shawna L’Italien of the law firm of Harrington, Hoppe & Mitchell Ltd.

“From the initial introductions to Mr. Kufleitner to the final signing, Mr. Kosiba was there supporting us at every step along the way.”

Pegany added, “We would not be announcing the signing of this purchase agreement today if it were not for through the efforts of Mr. Kosiba and the SOD Center.”

Few details of the agreement were released and Kosiba said Pegany’s group plans to arrive in Salem in the near future to provide additional details and further announcements on the development.

He said that could include contractors.

Kosiba was unsure which hotel chain the group was aligned with and suggested La Quinta or Guesthouse Hotel but said the lodging would be focused on supporting the oil and gas industry with locker and mudrooms. said the hotel operations in areas where oil and gas companies drill have employed expanded breakfast hours (beginning at 3 a.m. for early shifts), have outside heated smoking areas and boot-washing stations.

In addition hotel employees, including housekeeping, work around the clock to accommodate sleep and shift schedules of the workers. The motels use mudrooms, where workers can leave boots and use keycards to access lockers.

If plans follow through, the hotel will be located next to the 28,000 square foot state-of-the-art Salem Chrysler Jeep Dodge dealership and the largest American flag in Ohio.

Kufleitner said he met with Ohio Department of Transportation officials about opening an access road from the bypass when he was building his new dealership.

He also said there were talks with several businesses about gas station convenience stores at the time and Kosiba suggested on Thursday there was still a possibility of locating one of those on the property.