Parking lots are in the spotlight in recent real estate deals
Parking Lot Photo by Andrew Harris, MiddaughRealEstateInc.com
You have probably parked there and use this parking lot on a daily basis. There is ample parking between Madison Street and Facet Street, between Main Street and the train tracks. Former ‘Super Duper’ and ‘Bells’ grocers dominated the lot for years, with Allegany Steuben ARC occupying his former grocer space until around 2020. That parking lot now houses three of his popular businesses. Rub-a-Dub Laundromat, Tim, Tim Shea Plumbing, and Chelsea’s, a popular eatery and catering business. Many other small businesses rely on parking for their customers and employees.
The lot is fairly square and can accommodate about 100 cars. Some alleyways, right-of-way, and private lands have provided free or unlimited off-street parking to many shoppers, employees, tenants, and landlords for nearly 30 years.
Not long ago, well-known Wellsville philanthropist and businessman Walt Babbitt donated about two-thirds of the land to the village of Wellsville. It is said that Babbitt’s purpose was because he knew the importance of parking and wanted to make it accessible to the public. Walt knew he would spend less money on Main Street if the lot was privately owned, metered, or restricted in some way.
The remaining third of the parking lot is part of a Rockwell Building deed that was just sold to a new owner. When the new owner, former NYPD cop Tarek Otero, bought the building from Carla and Allan Hills, he also bought the parking lot. When Otero asked Hills about the parking lot revenue, the answer was zero.
According to Hills, a 99-year lease with the village to use the land had expired when they purchased the building. That lease was very simple. The owners of the Rockwell Building offered unlimited public parking in exchange for maintaining the property. This included snow removal work, which was practically necessary for the village to function for half a year. The parking lot, which was just completed this summer, is also paved.
Karla and Alan Hills have owned the building and operated the business from its location for years. The Hills will tell you without hesitation: They’ve asked for a new lease with the village many times over the last 20 years, with no luck.
“They never took me seriously or tried to come to an agreement. In fact, as far as I know, the village harassed us for just asking for a lease and eventually sold the building.” said Hills.
When Hills recently sold the building to Tarek Otero, the parking problem quickly became a major problem. Otello, noticing that the parcel was not managed under agreement, inquired with the village. The listing of the property describes it as “a prime location on North He Main Street in Wellsville Village with approximately 30 parking spaces.” Read that entire list.
Mr. Otero was clear. I’m not interested in getting into trouble with this parcel, but I need formal agreement. My insurance agent and lawyer told me I needed a lease to protect me and the people using the land. “
In addition to liability protection, Otero bears property taxes on its land. For his retired real estate investor, Otero, operating under a previous non-existent contract was not an option. He has asked the village for an agreement, and has reportedly reached a tentative agreement that Mayor Randy Shailer will present to the village’s all-board board tonight, Oct. 6.
Shayler acknowledges that plots are important to the village’s commerce and require agreement. He plans to meet with Otello to survey the land and parking lot and submit his findings to the village board.
Parking isn’t the only issue on the village’s agenda at this meeting. As previously reported, Sheiler addresses the problem of village vagrants and how to deal with them for the future. Stay tuned…..