Our View: Property problems
Craig — A potentially messy situation exists in the area of Pershing Street between a couple who owns a business and an out-of-town development company seeking to expand an existing business.
This situation, if not resolved, could have repercussions for not only the parties involved, but also the city of Craig and its residents.
It’s also an example of a situation that could arise more often as the city develops.
The property dispute involves Randy and Cindy Looper, owners of the Elk Run Inn for the past five years, and Four Hands Craig LLC, a company seeking to build a bigger City Market, where the Post office is now.
At issue is three feet.
Granted, that’s not a lot of property, but in this case, those three feet represent uncertainties for the Loopers and the City Market project.
Four Hands plans to close on a contract in October to buy the Post office building, located behind the Elk Run Inn on Pershing. Four Hands is negotiating with Rainier Sunwest Portfolio I, a Dallas partnership that owns the Post office building.
However, part of the Elk Run building encroaches by three feet onto Rainier’s parking lot, and therein lies the rub.
The encroachment, it should be noted, has existed for 60 years, long before the Loopers’ have owned the building.
But, Rainier doesn’t want to sell the three feet to the Loopers and Four Hands isn’t willing to pay Rainier the agreed upon sale price for the Post office property if the three feet isn’t included.
The Loopers said it would cost them $50,000 to $100,000 to demolish the part of their building with the three feet.
Adding to the dilemma is that the Loopers and Four Hands couldn’t come to an agreement on Four Hands’ offer to buy the Elk Run Inn.
For this situation to be resolved, the Editorial Board believes each party has to give in a little.
The last thing this community needs is a small business, owned by local residents, being squeezed out by a bigger company.
Likewise, the community can’t afford – particularly in this difficult economic time – to have an environment unfriendly to development.
In this situation, the Editorial Board wants – and the community is best served – by having its cake and eating it, too.
The board believes the Looper-Rainier-Four Hands situation can be resolved.
For the Loopers, perhaps they have to swallow the expense of demolishing the three feet, and accepting that expense by realizing an expanded City Market could benefit their hotel in the long run.
For Four Hands, maybe it has to up its sale offer to the Loopers, if the property they’re attempting to develop is so valuable.
The company should also recognize there is little to be gained by alienating a local couple in the town it is trying to do business in, and upping its offer would show the community a little goodwill.
There are plenty of other solutions that could be put to this problem, if thought of creatively.
The situation around Pershing Street isn’t an unsolvable one, but smaller businesses should be forewarned, the Editorial Board believes.
Big development in Craig isn’t going anywhere, and as vacant property is considered for such developments, neighboring small businesses need to pay attention to detail.
The Loopers knew ahead of time about the three feet encroachment, and that a deal was in the works between Rainier and Four Hands for possible development.
Maybe they could have handled the problem ahead of time.
It’s a lesson worth keeping in mind for the future for our community’s all-important small businesses. Development is coming, and smaller businesses certainly have less room for error than their big business counterparts.
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