Construction on a Discount Tire store had been well under way for many weeks next to Panera Bread on State Road 100 in Palm Coast. In the last week of January, construction came to an abrupt halt.
“Discount Tire Company has made the decision to stop construction on the store located on Lot 1, Town Center, at this time,” Kimberly Buck, president of Alann Engineering Group, which was leading the construction on the site, wrote the city on Jan. 27. “The construction trailer will be removed and a fence will be installed around the property.”
Discount Tire, a privately held company based in Scottsdale, Ariz., has offered no explanations for the halt, which startled even city officials. A document trail bears out the city’s surprise, and the company’s abruptness. The city is stressing to the company that the site must be returned to its prior condition. (See the city’s code enforcement director’s letter to Discount Tire below.)
Project Manager Noel Anasco emailed city officials, with copies to Discount Tire officials, on Feb. 3 of the cease-work decision, and to put up the property for sale. But the decision has triggered a clash between the company and the city over the way the company may go about shutting down the site, and how much it must do to restore it to its previous condition.
“The property will be left in a good condition to be put up for sale. Please advise us of any agreements or conditions that our Client should be aware of so we can properly address these items,” Anasco wrote.
“Please have the existing building foundation, masonry walls along with all placed utilities removed from this property,” Don Thrailkill, an assistant vice president of Discount Tire, wrote one of the project officials on Jan. 31. “Spread, backfill and compact soil over the disturbed areas and reseed. Finally, have the fence that was installed removed so this property can be put up for sell (sic.).”
“Life is full of surprises, but some are more extreme than others,” City Manger Jim Landon wrote the council on Friday, with a copy of the letter from Buck.
“There was no explanation given, other than it was a corporate decision. Their letter indicates that they plan to just remove the construction trailer and install a fence around the property. We immediately informed the engineering firm that this would not be acceptable.”
The city also notified the company “of the steps that they must take to return the property back to its condition prior to the beginning of construction. If they do not voluntarily comply with these requirements, we will proceed with code action to bring the property into compliance with our codes.”
City signs ordering all work to stop, and dated Feb. 1, have been posted on the property itself and signed by Nestor Abreu, the city’s community development director. The notices warn that work at the site is not in compliance with city codes. But the city has been at pains to dissipate assumptions that city actions were at the source of the work stoppage.
“I have already heard rumors that the City caused this construction to stop,” Landon told council members. ” I can assure you that is not the case. We had no conflicts with this construction project. It is a very unusual and strange decision for a company to spend the amount of money they have already spent on this project and walk away. I am sure that it will not be the last surprise that I experience in this crazy business.”
According to email exchanges between the company and the city, Discount Tire was looking for a temporary work stoppage, but was being indefinite about its length.
“The City was notified of our intentions to place the construction of this store on hold unfortunately they will not allow us to do that without a restart schedule,” Thrailkill wrote Discount Tire officials on Jan. 31. “Can we provide the City with a schedule of how long this project will be on hold and a restart schedule or should we remove the building foundation and block that has already been installed so the property can be sold? Please advise as soon as possible so we can maintain a good relationship with the City.”
Landon by then had made the city’s position clear to the property owners: “Thank you for the heads up. Just installing a fence without a short-term (60 day?) restart schedule will not be acceptable to us. Appreciate your support.”
Founded in 1960, Discount Tire operates some 860 company-owned stores in nearly 30 states, mostly in the West, Midwest, Southwest, and Southeast.
The following letter was written by Barbara Grossman, Palm Coast’s code enforcement director.
January 28, 2014
Discount Tire Company
Halle Properties LLC
20225 N. Scottsdale Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85255
RE: Property located at 5860 State Hwy 100 E.
Palm Coast, FL
Case No. 2014011025
I am in receipt of your letter dated January 27, 2014 from Kimberly A. Buck of Alann Engineering Group, Inc., which advised of the stop construction at the Discount Tire site located at the above mentioned address.
Be advised, as a result of the stop, the following conditions and requirements for this site apply:
1. All construction, to include concrete slab and underground infrastructure must be removed;
2. All construction materials and debris shall be removed from the site, and all disturbed areas shall be seeded and mulched. All areas subject to erosion, including disturbed areas of the public right-of-way, shall be sodded with Bahia sod. Any landscaping or irrigation that was removed or damaged that existed on the east side of the site that was installed as part of the Panera Bread development shall be restored to original condition;
3. The ground surface is to be stabilized to avoid sedimentary erosion into adjacent drainage
features and nuisance air borne sediment dispersion;
4. Place a blind flange on the 90 degree fitting on the fireline that was already installed;;
5. The access to the site must be set back to its original predeveloped form. If curbs were in place, then these need to be replaced to prevent traffic from entering. If curbs were not in place, then three (3) of the following signs need to be installed to deter traffic at each access point:
6. Since no principal structure exists on the property, per City Land Development Code, no fence can be installed.
The remedy of the above violations are required to be completed within ten (10) days. Should these violations not be remedied within the required time, the case will be scheduled for the next available Code Enforcement Board meeting for further action.
If you have any questions regarding the above, please contact me at the number listed above.
Code Enforcement Manager
I believe Palm Coast can survive the loss of a discount tire store. Perhaps something more vital to the growth of our city will take its place.
Mike Hull says
Thank you Mayor you managed to hurt palm coast once again. I don’t get the A.S.F. sign on???????
Is this what could happen to the Palm Harbor Shopping Center demolition and rebuilding? Is the city prepared to avoid this type of occurrence given these corporations over expanding themselves without reassurance of available funds to complete the task and then leave us with the eyesores and our good all places to enjoy or shop..a la Centex with Palm Coast Resort? What a term of time of completion of a project?
Does Florida law allow for a bond to be requested by the city to the builder/owner reassuring that a planned project has sufficient funds and promise of completion? Because when we get an eyesore around us takes the city an eternity to resolve…mostly is alleged to the Sunshine State limited laws to go against corporations or individuals. So far in the last 15 years we had enough unfinished businesses around here and they get away with it.
The bummer is that Discount Tire is the best of all the tire stores. Because they ONLY sell tires they don’t try to get you to buy other repairs and maintenance that you may (or may not) need. I always get my tires from Discount Tire in Ormond Beach and have been 100% pleased with them. I cannot remember them ever doing a service for me that took longer than 1 hour, at the most.
No idea why they pulled out of Palm Coast. I’ll keep going to Ormond.
FYI there is a brand new Discount Tire on SR 16 @ I-95 in St Augustine that just opened. I haven’t tried that location yet.
I don’t think Palm Coast is really that friendly of a business town. My impression is it’s a lot easier and cheaper to start and operate businesses practically anywhere else in Florida. That’s a shame.
Diana L says
This is strange. Does anyone know the rest of the story?
one could ask paul Harvy but he is dead.
“Is this what could happen to the Palm Harbor Shopping Center demolition and rebuilding?”
THE ANSWER IS NO, Palm Harbor S.C. is an entirerly differentt situation.
At EYEONFLAGLER: What makes it different? FACTS, please.
I agree with Confidential. I could not even imagine having the Palm Harbor Shopping Center demolished and then for whatever reason, the investors decide not to proceed.
We must protect ourselves against the possibility of this happening. I don’t know what that might be, but something needs to be done to protect our interests. Requiring a Bond sounds very reasonable.
We in Palm Coast have now experienced way too many well-intentioned major projects, ending up to be nothing more than broken promises.
Maybe they checked their demographics? This is why we can forget a Whole Foods, a Trader Joes, any upscale restaurants and probably any new golf courses. PC is what it is and until we get more people moving here with some $$, it will stay as it is.
Demographics? They sell tires…most towns this size doesn’t have those specialty stores. And I lived in a town the size of PC that only had 1 golf course.
i said it says
the only thing that wold happen if they did put this tire store in is people would start going there then palm coast a$$holes would break into their cars while they’re inside. just like every other store in this town.
Hmmmmmm…..the City said “they had nothing to do with it”…..is anybody buying that? Were efforts made to keep the store?
Could they maybe have just realized AK Tires is right up the street and would probably blow them out of the water on price?
real people says
yes Genie, according to an equipment rental company Rep told me the city didn’t except the same plan the tire store company used to build the stores in St John and Volusia counties. Welcome to Palm Coast and remember Miss hit and run Marry when she sad oh oh they say we not business friendly. no sh.. sure lo..
I guess they finally realized it was Palm Coast and not Palm Springs!!!
Diana L says
I will wait to hear more facts before I start trashing our Mayor, our City or anyone else, for that matter.
Something big obviously happened for discount tire to start construction and then suddenly close the project. This is going to cost them big money.
Since NONE of us know the FACTS as to what caused them to shut down, I don’t think people should be assuming anything and start doing the blame game and spouting off comments all over the place about something they know nothing about.
I think it was just bad pre-construction feasibility evaluation on the part of Discount Tire and no fault on the part of the City of Palm Coast. There are already several tire stores in the city including AK tires just down the street which is consistently rated the best tire store in Flagler county. I always shop at AK Tires and while the place looks a little run down they beat every other tire store I have ever been to here or elsewhere. They have low prices and don’t try to sell you tires or services you don’t need and are helpful and friendly from the desk to the installers. They would have eaten Discount Tire alive.
I think the tire co. CEO came to view the site and 45 days later he and some others got Red Light tickets from the camera at the intersection there. Oh well some more casualties under the pretense of safety.
@Diana …with al due respect I disagree with you in your defense of the mentioned city officials…maybe you are right this time but….I just read in the Daytona NJ that now Volusia and Flagler County cities are struggling with their budgets given the reduced tax revenue income. Then is when my blood boils because after we majority, by referendum opposed the city hall in order to avoid $$$ short falls and because is a luxury we can do without, your hailed officials approved the city hall anyway with total disregard for our wishes voted against it in the referendum….Now they cry wolf…not enough money in the budget for the services we pay up front with our taxes.
Steven Nobile says
Business is booming in many other places. We need a sound, aggressive committee focused on bringing business with higher wage jobs to the city.