The Edmonds City Council spent nearly two hours in executive session Friday morning considering a counter offer from Cascade Bank in response to the council’s $1.1 million offer for the vacant Skippers restaurant property across from the Edmonds ferry terminal.
The bank’s counter offer didn’t involve a change in the purchase price, however. Instead, it addressed the amount of time the city can take to conduct its “due diligence” activities on the property before deciding whether to actually buy it. The city had originally requested 90 days to perform due diligence — activities such as an appraisal and environmental assessments — but the bank had countered with a 60-day period.
After the council emerged from executive session to take action in public, it voted to direct Mayor Gary Haakenson to submit a counter offer that would give the city the option of an additional 60 days — beyond the original 60 days the bank requested — if a more extensive environmental assessment is required. The vote was 4-1, with Councilmembers Steve Bernheim, Michael Plunkett, Diane Buckshnis and Adrienne Fraley-Monillas in favor, D.J. Wilson against, and Strom Peterson and Dave Orvis absent.
The council decided to put off a decision on securing professional services to actually conduct those due diligence activities until the property is officially off the real estate market. Councilmember D.J. Wilson noted that the bank does have a second offer from another potential buyer, which is for less than the council’s offer of $1.1 million but would involve a two-year contract rather than the city’s offer, which would be in cash.
The bank was scheduled to receive the city’s counter offer and the other offer Friday afternoon. It has two days to respond, so the city should know prior to next Tuesday night’s council meeting whether the counter offer was accepted.
Meanwhile, Mayor Gary Haakenson said Friday afternoon that he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of exercising veto power over the purchase when the time comes. While the mayor doesn’t have the authority to veto the actual purchase and sale agreement, he could veto any ordinance the council passes to raise or spend the money, such as a bond sale or designation of city funds.
A mayoral veto would force the council to revote and obtain a “super-majority” vote of 5-2. Since the council’s original decision to make the offer on the Skippers property passed by a 5-2 vote (Wilson and Peterson dissenting), one member would have to change his or her position for Haakenson to “strongly consider a veto,” he said. “Even if the vote remains 5-2, I will still strongly consider it just to make them take one last vote,” the mayor added.