DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said in a news conference Friday morning that planned development at the Dayton International Airport will not happen.

Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein said the City “lost the opportunity to attract a $250 million investment into the City of Dayton.” Dickstein said a tenant who was interested in property at the Dayton International Airport and ready to begin building has walked away from the site and no other site in the city meets the requirements of the developer.

Dickstein said, “The City of Union’s filing of an affidavit to cloud the title was clearly a legal maneuver to prevent the Dayton site from being selected, while strengthening their own competitive advantage for the investment.”

Whaley said the development would have generated an additional $1.2 million in annual income tax and the City has lost the opportunity to invest over $1 million in Dayton neighborhoods with the loss of the development deal. Whaley also said the City was “completely caught off guard.”

Developing on the 109-acre property located at the corner of Frederick Pike and U.S. 40 had been controversial.

Environmental activists said the prairie land attracts migratory birds and mammals and have fought the development at numerous city commission meetings.

The executive director of the Aullwood Audobon told 2NEWS in a statement Friday afternoon, “As the leader of an organization whose essentials functions would clearly be impacted by the destruction of the Paul E. Knoop, Jr. Prairie, I am obviously relieved that we appear to have more time to work together on a win-win solution, which I fervently hope involves preserving this important ecosystem, its watershed protection and its functions as a carbon sink, in perpetuity.

Our concerns regarding the property were not dependent on a specific tenant – they would be the same concerns should another party be interested in the prairie parcel.

We need to work together to find the right balance between essential economic development and high paying jobs and preserving one of the critical elements of what attracts the talented workforce to our region to compete for those jobs – the natural beauty of our area, the park and bike systems, and the uniqueness of our many scenic waterways.”

Dickstein said the City will conduct additional environmental studies to determine what other mitigation measures are needed to encourage future development.

Whaley said the city not only lost out on the potential income, but also the opportunity to prioritize the incoming jobs for Dayton residents. Whaley said this would have been a requirement in the development contract.

Whaley said the planned manufacturing firm would have offered between 650 and 700 jobs with an average annual salary of $75,000, Whaley said. “It is jobs like these that help pull families out of poverty and into the middle class,” Whaley said.