STREETSBORO, Ohio—An Ohio tire dealer, in line to reap millions from the sale of the family farm he jointly owned with his mother and brother, is going to have to wait a while to collect his windfall. Mark Defer, owner of Defer Tire Co., had signed a purchase option last year with Arlington, Va.-based Mills Corp. to sell the 127-acre parcel, which also contains his dealership. Mills said it planned to develop a 200-store regional shopping mall at the site.
But on Dec. 14 Mills notified Mr. Defer's attorney it would not make the first payment on the land thus canceling the purchase option.
"It was pretty disturbing," Mr. Defer said of first receiving the news. However, since word of the cancellation has gotten out, Mr. Defer said he and his attorney have "heard from every major mall developer. They call me and say, `Don't sign anything.'"
He acknowledged there are "six or seven" developers his attorney is negotiating with seriously, including one company that tried to buy the option from Mills.
Mr. Defer said the family still wants to sell the land, located near an interchange of the Ohio Turnpike in a rapidly growing area between Cleveland and Akron.