AP NEWS

Developer proposes truck stop in east Scottsbluff

February 20, 2019

SCOTTSBLUFF — At their Tuesday meeting, city council members declared a property in east Scottsbluff as blighted and substandard, clearing the way for potential development of the site.

Eric Reichert, president of 26 Group, LLC, has filed an application with Scottsbluff’s Community Redevelopment Authority (CRA) to build a branded fuel station, convenience store and co-branded fast food area on the site. A truck wash and scale is also being planned for the future.

The entire blighted property is bordered by East Overland, 21st Avenue and Highway 26, just north of the Scottsbluff Western Sugar plant. The proposed five-acre truck stop would be located at the northwest corner of Highway 26 and East Overland.

Reichert purchased the property from Western Sugar Cooperative last fall and is now applying for $1.5 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to help defray the cost of land acquisition, site development, installing infrastructure and paving the building site, an approximate 100,000 square feet of parking space.

According to the application, no demolition would be required on the truck stop property, as it is currently an old alfalfa field.

The CRA will meet at noon on Feb. 20 in the Scottsbluff City Council Chambers to consider Reichert’s TIF application.

The first step in the process was taken the night before when the city council voted 3-2 to declare the site as blighted and substandard.

Council members Nathan Green and Scott Shaver were “no” votes. Most of the concern was over whether the entire property had to be blighted, given it contains four zoning classifications: undeveloped, ag land, office and professional, and industrial.

M.C. Schaff and Associates is assisting with some of the engineering studies for the project.

“The obvious reason for the property to be designated as blighted is because of the lower elevation compared to the surrounding area and the consequences of drainage constraints,” Schaff representative Susan Myers told council members.

She said the study was reviewed by the city’s legal counsel and they found the study to be dependable and meets the state statutes for declaring a property to be blighted and substandard.

If the Community Redevelopment Authority approves the TIF application, Reichert’s development group would like to start on the project in March with a completion date estimated for October.

The 26 Group application estimates 14 employees will be required to operate the truck stop. The total cost of the project is just over $6 million. A financial analysis conducted by Great Western Bank determined the project would not be feasible without Tax Increment Financing.