Hara Arena, the former home of Hamvention®, is going on the auction block, the IRS has announced. The now-beleaguered building and grounds were closed a year ago last month by its owners, the Wampler Family, which had attempted for years, unsuccessfully, to put Hara on a profitable plane. The minimum bid is $850,000; proceeds will satisfy a tax lien. The auction comes in the wake of an Order of Sale entered in the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. The IRS will take bids on August 30 on the 1001 Shiloh Springs Road site, starting at 11 AM ET (bidders must be registered by 10 AM ET). An “open house” for prospective bidders will be held on August 29. According to the announcement, “any rights, titles, claims, liens and interest” in the buildings and land will be discharged once a sale is confirmed. The auction brochure includes several recent photos of the Hara Complex.
“The Arena, formally known as the Hara Arena, is a six-building complex that contained an ice rink, ballroom, conference hall, concerts seating, sports events, shows of unlimited venues and restaurant,” the auction announcement said, noting that the two land parcels that make up the site in the Dayton suburb of Trotwood comprise slightly more than 25 acres.
Prospective bidders must put up $170,000 in earnest money to be eligible to take part in the auction. Payments must be by Certified or Cashier’s Check made payable to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
“No bids will be received from any person who has not presented proof that, if he or she is the successful bidder, he or she can make the deposit required by the Order,” the announcement said. Sale of the real property shall be subject to confirmation by the Court.
The now-deteriorating Hara Arena served as the home of Hamvention® from 1964 until 2016, before it was closed abruptly last summer. Soon after, Hamvention’s sponsor, the Dayton Amateur Radio Association (DARA), announced that it would be relocating the country’s most popular Amateur Radio gathering to the Greene County Fairgrounds and Expo Center in Xenia, where Hamvention 2017 took place in May. Last November, an online auctioneer took bids on a variety of items from the former Hamvention home, many of which went to nostalgia buffs or those having some sentimental connection with the facility.
Hara Arena had been facing long-standing financial problems — including unpaid property taxes — and unresolved family financial issues. Promised renovations never materialized for the 2016 Hamvention, which attracted more than 25,000 visitors, worth millions of dollars to the Dayton area economy.
The Wampler family had owned and operated Hara Arena since its humble origins in the 1950s, when Wampler Ballarena — then a dance hall and now an exhibit hall familiar to Hamvention visitors — was built in what had been a family-owned orchard.