Gas station struggles to find new home | ParkRecord.com

Gas station struggles to find new home

Maverik one of the casualties of Bonanza redevelopment

Monika Guendner
Park Record

Tanzi Probst/Park Record Maverik is one of the businesses that will have to relocate once the city begins redeveloping Bonanza Park East into an arts and cultural district.

It's a landmark, a convenience, a place that visitors and residents depend on, and soon, it may become a piece of Park City history.

With the redevelopment of a 5.25-acre parcel of Bonanza Park, dubbed Bonanza Park East, the Maverik gas station will have to move or move out of town. The latter is not an option either side favors.

Aaron Simpson, Vice President of Marketing at Maverik would rather go bigger than go away. "It's been a great location for us, despite being one of our smaller stores … We would have loved to have built a bigger store there … We would love to have two stores up there," he told The Park Record in a telephone interview this week.

Park City Planning Director Bruce Erickson sees the gas station, which has stood in one form or another on that corner for almost 40 years, as a community need.

"I think it's very important [to have a second gas station in town.] It's part of the way we live, and the convenience supports our construction industry and the kids from the schools … We have several thousand people in town every single day. And one gas station in the city limits and the next one six miles away is not particularly… it makes me nervous," he said.

Park City Manager Diane Foster also see a second gas station wuthin the city as an important service, despite the city's push for electric vehicles in its own fleet.

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"We have a strong preference for keeping it in town if we can. We're not going to go to an electric vehicle infrastructure fast enough. Because of the timeline, we're probably in the 2019-2020 timeframe of when Maverik would move," Foster said.

All the businesses on the parcel have been aware of some change coming to the area for a while.

"They've all had their leases… changed to short-term leases by Mark J. Fischer [one of the property owners of Bonanza Park East], because Mark has an application in and he's been going through the planning process… They'll probably stay on the property longer with the city," she said.

The purchase agreement between Park City Municipal Corp. and Bonanza Park, LLC, JPS Nevada, LLC and Maverik Park City, LLC notes in several passages that the property is being purchased "as is." Fifty thousand dollars of the $19.5 million purchase price will be held in an environmental escrow account for remediation and contaminated materials costs, but any additional costs would be the responsibility of the city.

According to Nate Rockwood, Capital, Debts and Grants Budget Manager for Park City Municipal, the city is currently performing a due diligence that is expected to find any issues, challenges or problems with the land, buildings and/or business leases. If soil remediation or any other issues are cost-prohibitive, the city has two choices: absorb the costs above $50,000 or pull out of the deal, he said.

Since underground parking has been part of the city's plan for redevelopment, the cost of removing soil is already budgeted into expected costs, he added.

A conceptual rendering of the area by the city outlines the sale of just over one acre to the Sundance Institute, which would include the property Maverik currently leases.

Passing the remediation costs on to future property land buyers, Sundance and the Kimball Art Center, is not an option, Rockwood said. The letters of intent promise that both organizations will purchase property with "clean soil" from the city.

The due diligence period, which lasts until October 31, 2017, includes testing multiple soil samples from throughout the parcel.

"We have the due diligence period to figure out what those costs would be. If we found something that was totally prohibitive to developing the site from a cost standpoint, we would have to reevaluate what's there," he said. "But preliminary findings don't indicate that."

The council voted Thursday to approve the $19.5 millionpurchase agreement and continue on the path to creating a new arts and cultural district in Bonanza Park East. The council also unanimously accepted the letters of intent between the city and Sundance Institute and the Kimball Arts Center, as well as implementing a 1 percent Municipal Transient Room Tax beginning January 1, 2018.

A social gathering space

The Maverik gas station on the corner of Bonanza Drive and Kearns Boulevard was not just a convenience. For some residents, it was a communal gathering place.

Longtime resident Mel Fletcher, now deceased, had a special connection to Maverick, according to his widow Peggy Fletcher. “Years and years ago, the guys would go at the old Skaggs Alpha Beta (now Fresh Market) and when that changed and became Albertson’s, they had to find a new place to go. It was about then, they ended up going over to the Maverik.

“Then my husband got to the point where he couldn’t drive, and this was the time when only the guys would meet, there were no women. But they said well, OK, if Mel wants to go, if they [women] want to participate and drink coffee, they would let the women start coming,” she added.

Merrill Sanchez, Rich Martinez, CD Fish (the one woman), and Johnny Fritch were among the regulars. Later, Fletcher, Suzie Williams, and former Park City High School coach Bob Burns became part of the “new” wave of coffee drinkers who gathered to talk about old Park City.

“Sometimes, if somebody passes away, we talk about memories of them. Politics, sometimes and religion sometimes, which are two things you should never talk about… It’s just a gathering to talk about whatever we want to talk about,” Fletcher said.

Known simply as “the boys going to coffee,” according to Fletcher, the group moved to the Top Stop gas station when the crew outgrew the space at the Maverik a few years ago.

Change is not the end for Fletcher, who has lived in Park City for the past 53 years

“It’s just one more fun thing. The Maverik won’t be there, but we can have our coffee group on Sunday mornings,” she said.