By Sheryl Roadcap
PIQUA — The Piqua Center, formally known as the Miami Valley Centre, located at 987 E. Ash St., is undergoing numerous changes at the property that was formerly a mall in Piqua. Several businesses are developing and will transform the space to become more of an evening, entertainment venue, and provide warehouse space in a blocked off section that is out of view from the public.
The Miami Valley Centre was acquired in spring 2023 by Piqua Investment Partners LLC with the “hope of bringing in new life to the property with numerous entertainment additions.”
“We are remaking the mall into a place that people go to for entertainment, rather than retail goods, which really died during COVID and the rise of Amazon,” said Helga Leap, The Piqua Center’s facility and sales manager. “And we have spent $2 million to date to update spaces and replace the HVAC systems. Most of the HVAC was not working when we took over, and 75% or more of the systems had to be replaced.”
The owners of The Piqua Center expects 180,000-square-feet of new businesses and warehouse units to move in by June. But aside from several new or warehousing businesses moving in this year, they have a vision beyond what is coming in 2024 to include an outdoor marketplace and even apartments to be built on part of parking lot in the future.
Current businesses, Amazing Space game room; American Freight Furniture, Mattress, Appliance; Buckle; Dunham’s Sports; Elegant Nails; Medicare Resource Center; a RCS Construction office; and Sc Collectables will be joined in 2024 by Carmela Foods, in January; Hero Day Action Park, an inflatable action park geared toward kids, and Smile Back Training Center, a MMA gym, around the first of February; Mexican restaurant Las Marias, in May; and Do It Best Hardware. Smile Back will feature events in a boxing ring that will be erected prior to MMA matches outside of its store front and within the common walking space area of The Piqua Center.
Also in 2024, Leap said they hope to bring in other experience-driven businesses, such as a redemption arcade, ax throwing and a pickle ball court, located in units in the food court area.
The food court will be revamped with part of it sectioned off in the very center within glass walls for a bar to be installed; it will also include other food vendors. Hero Day will also have its own snack bar and an upstairs mezzanine for parents wanting to relax while watching their children play.
Hero Day’s owner Brad Gossard previously told Miami Valley Today they intend for the mezzanine to contain a golf simulator and other arcade-style games millennials would enjoy, as well as massage chairs in a comfortable space where one could work on a computer and be able to view activities below.
“(Hero Day) will be available for birthday (parties), corporate events, and we also rent the place out for private events, as well,” said Gossard.
Hero Day Action Park is expected to be open Wednesday to Sunday to the public, and available for private rentals on Mondays and Tuesdays. To learn more about Hero Day Action Park, visit its website at https://www.theheroday.com/
“I believe this will, in two or three years, be one of the main centers in Piqua. Where people can come in, have fun, have great food and drinks, they can go shop. It will create a lot of opportunity for small start-ups or boutique shops to do their commerce and to sell their business and products,” Zenkevicius told Miami Valley Today in 2023. “We’re really trying to make this as local and as dear to the community’s heart as possible.”
In terms of warehouse space, there are units with 1,000- to 100,000-square-feet available with “industrial incubator spaces” for small business, with build-to-suit options, Leap explained, that will utilize common docks. The Piqua Center plans a $10 million investment over the next two years, she said.
The Piqua Center has a list of events scheduled to take place at the property in 2024.
To say goodbye to 2023 and kick off the New Year, The Piqua Center hosted a 1920s New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball, which featured a comedy show, catered dinner, live music and a fireworks display provided by the city of Piqua. Leap said they probably will have a similar event on Dec. 31, 2024, but with an ’80s theme this year; however, that is not 100% set quite yet.
Everything was under one roof Leap said. “There is a connected hotel, the Comfort Inn, that also have a block of rooms with them.”
Other 2024 events scheduled so far, include:
• Midwest Exotic Animal Expo by Reptigirls Reptiles — Feb. 10, June 15 and Sept. 21, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Learn about, see, touch, and even purchase reptiles brought to The Piqua Center. ReptiGirls Reptiles is an educational reptile exhibit with a variety of animals from tiny geckos to tortoises, a wide variety of snakes, lizards, and monitors. Cost is $5 per person.
• 2nd Saturday Vendor Shows — Held on the second Saturday of each month, next on Feb. 10 through Dec. 14, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. A variety of vendors will set up inside The Piqua Center. Part of the proceeds will be donated to the Miami Valley Veterans Museum.
• Stretch & Dance Hour — Feb. 15 and March 21, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Enjoy the “music and safe and healthy activity” with Patrice Link Dancing School. Each session will include stretching exercises and group line dancing. Comfortable clothes are suggested. Appropriate for all ages; everyone is welcome. Refreshments are provided.
• Sports Collectable Show — Feb. 17, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m, and Feb. 18, from noon to 6 p.m. The annual show features approximately 50 tables of dealers showcasing sports cards, collectibles, memorabilia, comic books and additional sports themed items of the NFL, MLB, The Ohio State University and many more.
• 2024 Race Cars & Future Stars Expo — March 1-2, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and March 3, from noon to 6 p.m. The Piqua Center will be filled with a variety of race cars, music, vendors and fun over three days.
• Ego Boxing Series — March 9, from 6 to 11 p.m. The Ego Boxing Series, by EGO Combat Entertainment, features sponsors, EGO CREW, Smile Back Training Center and Fightopia. The event will take place at The Piqua Center in the new Smile Back Training Center location that is coming soon. Refreshments and food vendors, as well as tours in the new location, will be available.
“We are looking forward to bringing this facility back to life for our community,” said Leap. “You will basically get an event space right in your back yard. You wont have to go far.”