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