211 Reed St., No bids – No sale

Posted November 21, 2018 at 8:00 pm

By Julie Ann Madden

With city officials wanting to gift the remaining walls of the former Jacobson Auto Parts store at 211 Reed St. to adjacent property owners and refusing to answer liability questions regarding these walls, there were no bids made at the Nov. 13 auction of the lot.

Both Dave Boettcher, owner of the former bar building at 201 Reed St., and Dr. Jeff Van’t Hof, owner of Akron Veterinary Clinic at 215 Reed St., had been interested in the 211 Reed St. property and attended the auction.

City Administrator Dan Rolfes clarified the terms of the property sale by saying the buyer would need to construct a 1,500 square feet building, which was completely enclosed with finished interior and exterior walls and ceiling. The building must be insulated and sealed off to all outdoor elements. Heating and air conditioning systems were also required.

Furthermore, the adjacent property owners would be gifted 1 to 2 feet of property, which included the exterior side walls from the former Jacobson Auto Parts building. This gift would not only be given to Boettcher and Van’t Hof but to Mike Caskey who owns the building along the northwest of the former Jacobson Auto Parts building, said Rolfes, explaining if Boettcher had the winning bid, Van’t Hof would get the party wall gift and vice versa if Van’t Hof had the winning bid.

“The property will be platted so there will no longer be any party walls,” said Rolfes.

“What if I don’t want the wall?” asked Boettcher.

“Then you have to redo your whole roof because your downspout is hanging over that other property,” said Rolfes.

“But you guys let the guy put that roof on so that’s on your ordinance,” said Boettcher. “That’s not on me.”

“You bought it that way,” said Rolfes.

“Yeah, but I didn’t know I was going to gain a wall,” said Boettcher.

“Then don’t bid,” said City Attorney David Stuart.

“If (Van’t Hof) out bids me, why do I have to take on that wall?” asked Boettcher.

“Because you are the other wall,” said Stuart.

“But I don’t own that wall, you guys own it,” said Boettcher.

“If I was a business owner and I was in your spot,” said Stuart, “I’d want control of that wall. I don’t want someone else to own it. I want to be able to have control of that wall.”

“But you guys left me a mess,” said Boettcher, explaining water has run down between the two walls since city officials partially removed the former Jacobson Auto Parts Store and is now freezing as he has frost appearing on his basement wall.

“It’s connected to your building,” said Stuart.

“If I took that wall, it’s a liability on me,” said Boettcher.

“I’m not going to argue,” said Stuart. “The point would be when it’s sold on an open market, it’s at an auction, you can bid accordingly — take any risks that you feel you are taking and knowing the terms of the auction. If you don’t feel comfortable with that, you need to adjust your bid what you think it would be.”

“I agree with that,” said Boettcher, “but if I get the lot or he gets the lot, I take responsibility of the wall. If he out bids me, you can’t force that wall on me.”

“That’s correct,” said Stuart, explaining city officials can’t force a gift on someone.

“So who’s wall does it become?” asked Boettcher.

“Right now it’s the city’s,” said Stuart.

Then the liability for water damage is on the city because the city owns it, said Boettcher.

“You are correct,” said Stuart. “If you’re not the successful buyer, we, as a city, we are saying we are willing to gift and give you that additional (footage), you don’t have to accept a gift. We can’t force that gift on you.”

“We’re setting up some parameters saying we’d like to try and end the party walls,” said Stuart. “If it’s acceptable and you want to do that — if you want control of your wall and what’s on the other side.”

“Then whose wall is it?” said Boettcher. “It stays yours.”

“Sure,” said Stuart.

“Then all the water that gets down between the walls and freezes — you know that’s what it’s going to do — in that case who’s responsible?” asked Boettcher.

“I’m not going to debate all those questions,” said Stuart.

“You’re the attorney,” said Boettcher. “You should debate those. You’re the one with all the answers.”

“Listen,” responded Stuart. “We’re going to commence the auction. If you want to bid, bid. If you don’t want to bid, don’t.”

“We’ve had how many different city council meetings discussing this,” said Stuart.

“And never once have I got an answer,” said Boettcher.

“We’ve discussed this,” said Stuart.

When Boettcher requested to see in the council’s meeting minutes what the answer was, Stuart refused to review the minutes saying this was the time set for the auction.

“If you’re interested, you’re interested,” said Stuart. “If you’re not, thanks for coming.”

“That’s really good,” said Boettcher.

Councilor Alex Pick requested the auction begin.

When Rolfes stated the minimum bid was $1,000 and called for bids, he was met with silence.

“We’ll just consider the property as no sale,” said Rolfes, “and we’ll move forward with another direction. This concludes our auction.”

When Boettcher asked what happens now, City Clerk Melea Nielsen responded, “It’s up to the city’s discretion moving forward.”

“So the city will decide what they want to do with it,” said Rolfes.

“You could have told a guy the options, right?” asked Boettcher.

“Pretty much how an auction works,” said Rolfes. “You either bid or it’s done.”

“I hope my walls don’t cave in,” said Boettcher. “I’ve already got frost on them in the basement.”

“Plan B,” said Councilor Jenell Lanning. “Let’s get rid of the wall and put up a spec building.”

Since the auction was over at that point and the council was not meeting at that time, Stuart told them they couldn’t discuss the matter further.

During the actual council meeting, there was no more discussion on the matter.

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