Former truck stop sells for $60,000 at tax sale

Following a tax sale Monday morning the former truck stop at the Interstate 80 Strattanville exit has new owners. Local developer Miles Brothers LLC entered the winning bid of $60,000 for the 63.9-acre site. A section of the building above was burned recently. The burned area had been the location of the restaurant when it was in operation.

CLARION - A large crowd gathered for the sale of a small number of properties Monday morning at the Clarion County Courthouse.

The Clarion County Judicial Sale listed six properties but one drew the most attention.

The former Keystone 76 truck stop at the Interstate 80 Strattanville exit drew the most attention.

At least three parties bid on the property but it was local developer the Miles Brothers LLC that entered the winning bid of $60,000.

"Miles Brothers acquired the property in agreement with the high bidder through the auction at the purchase price plus the realty transfer tax ($8,137.27)," Miles Bros. said in a statement in response for comment from the CLARION NEWS.

Miles Bros. added, "Through a large collaborative effort, the brownfield site will be remediated for future development to transform the crossroads of U.S. Route 322 and Interstate 80.

"This is a remarkable opportunity to invest in the future of Clarion; we're excited to be involved and look forward to the growth and prosperity this will bring to our community."

A house in Clarion Township sitting on a half-acre of land sold for more money -- $76,000.

Once a property is delinquent for two years, it is advertised and put up for tax sale.

If the property is sold, the purchaser is responsible for paying all back taxes associated with the land, as well as any mortgages, judgments and liens for the bidder.

If the property does not sell, it is exposed to the judicial sale, which is free and clear of back taxes, mortgages, judgments and liens.

Opened in the 1970s, the truck stop, also once known as the "All American Plaza" has been closed for nearly a decade.

The site received an Industrial Site Reuse Program grant from the Pennsylvania DEP.

The site contains a masonry-panel 16,650 square foot two-story multi-purpose rest area, amenities (showers) and a 5,925 square foot garage facility.

The building was recently damaged by a fire. No report was issued on the fire and no damage estimate was made.

According to a document filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, in 2007 Able Oil Company combined with All American Travel Plazas to form All American Properties. The company determined in April 2008 to close the Strattanville plaza since it was experiencing "substantial, continuing losses."

While property sold at a judicial is sold free or any liens, meaning the buyer is not responsible for any debts connected to the land, the new owners Miles Bros. did not identify the other people or entities connected to the purchase -- inherit an extensive list of expensive problems with the site itself.

One of the most outstanding problems could be with the numerous underground fuel storage tanks still on the property.

Another problem is the deteriorating truck stop building itself the roof of the building reportedly has in spots collapsed and the interior throughout the building, which also housed a popular restaurant, has suffered fire, water and weather damage.

The state Department of Environmental Protection is aware of the former truck stop.

"The former Keystone 76 facility is a closed truck stop and service area with seven registered underground storage tanks which have been temporarily out of service since 2008," said Tom Decker, DEP community relations director. "The tanks are still in in place and will need to be permanently closed or put back into service in accordance with the storage tank regulations."

Decker said DEP's involvement began long before the truck stop closed.

"Investigation and cleanup activities began in 1991and were completed in2002, when DEP approved a Remedial Action Completion Report," said decker. "If the tanks are ever removed, soil and groundwater will be assessed to determine if a release from the tanks has occurred."

Decker said the DEP Dec. 27, 2019, approved a "scope of work" submitted by Environmental Remediation & Recovery, Inc. on behalf of Clarion County Economic Development Corporation, to conduct a Phase I Environmental Assessment and Limited Phase II subsurface investigation to evaluate groundwater and soil.