2012-07-05 / Front Page
Gas station purchase paves way for coffee shop
The approval of the purchase agreement paves the way for HCP, LLC, a Durand company, to buy the abandoned gas station from the city and construct a new Biggby coffee shop on the site.
The City of Swartz Creek originally obtained the property back in December of 2010 after Genesee County foreclosed on the site for unpaid property taxes, which was followed by two public auctions that did not see any bidders.
Swartz Creek city manager Paul Bueche said nobody wanted the property even at the minimum public auction bids, mostly because of environmental issues on the property .
So, the property wound up in the hands of the City of Swartz Creek through the due process of law.
“City council wanted the property to come back to the city,” Bueche said.
The property suffers from various recognized environmental conditions from the storage and sale of petroleum products and the release of petroleum on the land, as well as asbestos.
“It’s an environmental nightmare,” Bueche said.
Therefore, the environmental situation must be assessed and taken care of before any new development, including a Biggby coffee shop, can take place at the location.
Bueche said under environmental law the responsible parties must clean up the site. Thus, as previous owners of the property, the Marathon Petroleum Company is thrust back into the picture.
“Marathon is ultimately responsible,” Bueche said.
On June 25 the Swartz Creek City Council also approved an agreement with the Marathon Petroleum Company for the excavation and removal of three underground storage tanks from the property. The tanks were used by Marathon for holding petroleum products.
Ultimately, Bueche is just glad the property found a buyer that will clean up the corner, whether or not the plans for the Biggby coffee shop actually go through to completion.
“Our concern is get that eye sore gone,” he said.
The Biggby coffee shop project must now be submitted to the Swartz Creek Planning Commission, with the submission expected to happen sometime during July. If the planning commission approves the project, construction is expected to begin at the site in late summer of 2012.
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