Real estate deal hampered by squatting used cars
The hodgepodge collection of used cars, trucks, boats, go-carts and jalopies were given a polite notice to leave the non-sanctioned used car lot that has developed on the corner of Meals and Egan Streets in Valdez.
Polite signage noting that overnight parking is prohibited on the conspicuous corner in downtown Valdez is meant to be a polite eviction notice to the owners of the vehicles stationed on the empty lot, according to Valdez businessman Joe Prax.
Prax said he has been in negotiations to buy the lot from its owners, Tesoro.
“I am trying to get it. It isn’t quite done,” Prax said in a telephone interview Tuesday morning. “The last step is, we got to get the cars cleared off the lot before I can sign anything.”
The property has been what many call an eyesore for the past 10 years. The lot was once home to a Tesoro gas station; when the station’s old underground fuel tanks caused the business to close, it remained vacant for several years before the old building was torn down.
Instead of weeds sprouting on the lot, used cars began to dot the property.
Apparently, without permission from the property owners at Teseoro.
“I had the signs put up,” Prax said. “Tesoro couldn’t find anyone to make the signs.”
However, he said he put them up as a proxy for the current property owners.
“…I don’t want to be the one to kick people off,” he said, but “people shouldn’t be squatting on the land anymore. The cars gotta go no matter what.”
If the polite signage does not prompt title holders to the vehicles and boats on the corner, Prax says police might be called in to ticket laggers.
Prax said he has no immediate plans for the prime piece of Valdez real estate, which he does not yet actually own; he just sees an opportunity to obtain a nice, downtown corner lot.
While he has no immediate plans for expanding his current business, Prospector Outfitters on Galena St, the property would be a prime location for a future expansion.
In the meantime, he said that once he owns the lot, he is considering asking the city to put temporary benches and flowerpots on the land to spruce up its appearance to the public until a time it can be developed.