Parking Lot Attracts Crime, Shenanigans

Dennis Evanosky A row of abandoned boats and trailers blights the southern border of the Extended Stay America parking lot on Marina Village Parkway. The city’s Code Compliance Department opened a case last Tuesday to resolve the blight.

 

City to open case file on lot local hotel denies it owns

Steve Meckfessel has put down deep roots in Marina Village. He came aboard when Vintage Properties started developing the former site of the Bethlehem Steel shipyards. Vintage sold the property about 10 years ago, but Meckfessel stayed. Today he is the managing investor for SRM Managing Investors, owners of the Marina Village Yacht Harbor. “We are honored to be the stewards of this special place. We take this honor seriously,” Meckfessel said. 

He became concerned about his “special place,” in 2015 when he began noticing a growing accumulation of abandoned boats, boat trailers and automobiles in his neighbor’s — Extended Stay America’s — parking lot. When he contacted Extended Stay, its management denied that the hotel even owned the property where the boats, trailers and cars sat abandoned. 

Meckfessel did his homework at the Alameda County Assessor’s Office and was able to show the hotel that the growing mess was indeed on its property. Again the hotel denied ownership and responsibility. 

“Our General Manager at that location has reviewed a site map and the area you refer to is not owned by Extended Stay,” Christopher N. Dekle, the hotel’s general counsel and vice-president stated to Meckfessel in a letter. Meckfessel contacted the city of Alameda. The Alameda Police Department and the city’s Public Works Department got involved. Meckfessel was able to convince city staff of the obvious: Extended Stay did indeed own and was responsible for the deteriorating property where the abandoned boats, trailers and cars continued to blight the parking lot.  

Last Monday, Meckfessel received news that brought the issue up a notch. He heard from a neighbor who described some “seedy activity”: someone living in one of the abandoned cars, prostitutes using the blight as cover to ply their trade and young adults drinking and using drugs there.

Meckfessel called the Alameda Sun and a reporter visited the Extended Stay America parking lot. He discovered and photographed 25 boat trailers, 16 boats and six automobiles — all abandoned on what the assessor’s records clearly show is Extended Stay America’s property. The Sun’s reporter also documented the trash and debris littering the area around the abandoned boats, cars and trailers.  

A call to the city of Alameda led to the first step in a resolution to the problem. On Tuesday, city staff opened a case file on the property and the city will now take a close look at a problem that sorely needs resolution. Stay tuned.