The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Newest proposal for city land acquisition is on the council's table

Owners are willing to sell parts of the 14 acre parcel - at a higher price


Map source: City of Valdez

This graphic shows the portion of the 14 acre tract city administrators hope to acquire.

City administration's quest to buy land for a possible new fire station is making progress.

The Valdez City Council was presented with new findings Tuesday night after it directed city administration to look for alternatives to purchasing the entire 14 acre lot that fronts the Richardson Highway, between DOT and Eagle's Rest RV Park.

The matter was up for discussion with council and was not up for a vote. The agenda statement suggested that council schedule a work session to discuss the various options identified by city administration.

The asking price for the parcel is $1.3 million, but the land was recently appraised at $975,000 by Clint Lentfer of the Alaska Appraisal & Consulting Group.

In late November, council directed city administration to meet with the lot's owners, Gavora, Inc., to see if it is feasible to purchase only a portion of the lot, which has been on the market for three years.

Council members said they were not against buying land, but wanted a better evaluation of how much new land was actually needed vs. the amount that is actually for sale.

The agenda statement to council for discussion purposes identified land currently owned by the city that could fill some of needs such as storage and a site for a new fire station.

"The primary motivation behind this concept is to use land the city already owns to the maximum degree possible," wrote Lisa Von Bargen, the city's director of economic development.

To relocate the fire station near the hospital would require the relocation of the newly dedicated community gardens.

"This is a portion of the property where Harborview used to be located," Von Bargen said. "It also happens to be the location of the newly established Karen Davey Stewart Memorial Community Garden. The staff does not take it lightly that under this scenario the Community Garden will have to be relocated."

It was also noted that stakeholders such as the garden's backers and the hospital had not been notified of the proposal.

The new plan that was discussed would require the city buy around 6.88 acres of the 14.8 acre parcel up for sale by Gavors, Inc. It would also require the city buy acreage near its current warehouses.

However, Von Bargen's report says the company is asking a higher rate for a smaller part of the acreage.

Source: City of Valdez

A view of the land in question as a whole. City council is hoping to acquire a portion of the 14 acre lot.

"They are willing to sell the entire property at $1.53 per square foot at $1 million," the statement says. "Or, they are also willing to sell the portion of the property shown above (see graphic) for $2.25 per square foot for a total of $675,000."

The new proposal by administration would also require a possible land purchase from the Port Valdez Company, near West Egan Drive.

"If more space is needed it makes sense to acquire the property directly adjacent to the Maintenance Shops and across the street from Public Works," the statement says.

The actual meeting was slated to take place after the Valdez Star went to press Tuesday.

"This is one of many alternatives to be fully vetted," the report says. "Administration recognizes the Council is going to need additional information."


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