Purchasing the Skippers property: What do you think?

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The Edmonds City Council voted 5-2 on April 20 to purchase the vacant Skippers Restaurant property located across from the Edmonds ferry terminal. Do you think that the council should move ahead with the purchase?

[polldaddy poll=3099735]

36 COMMENTS

  1. A million isn’t a lot if you consider there are probably some million dollar homes in Edmonds — or will be eventually. Secure the property and figure out what to do with it later. Fact is, it’s only going to increase in value.

  2. Cost/benefit here is extraordinarily high, considering there is no plan.

    The Council is acting as if the money that the City received from the sale of the Fire Department is burning a hole in their pocket. But once we spend it, it’s gone forever – we won’t be have the flexibility to take on other projects and ideas that may have more merit.

    I propose that, instead of leaping at the first idea on the table, that the Council review the proposals of the Economic Development Commission. Or, at least have the Economic Development Commission quickly do some estimates on the utility of the property. That’s why they were commissioned.

  3. When you read about some of the potential uses for this property it’s apparent that many do not know how relatively small a site it is – just .37 of an acre; that’s only 16,117 sq ft.

  4. Please! You’re going to spend 1.1M for what purpose? It is a tiny hunk of property, there is no plan in place and you have no money to develop it once you decide what you want to do. Look at that eyesore you bought at Old Milltown. You bought it and left it. It looks terrible and it just sits there, no plants, no benches, no nothing to make it attractive. Are you going to turn the Skipper’s property into another forgotten eyesore? I’m pretty sure there are many other places you could drop that kind of cash that would better serve the city and inhabitants.

  5. Totally irresponsible to purchase this “over-valued” piece of property when there is no money and no plan! We already have a “gravel” Park in front of Mill Town purchased by the City for good money!. Such a short-sighted and foolish idea when we need to encourage business to come to town. In this poor economic time it would be wise to be pro-active to attract more businesses to fill the vacancies in town, from the Antique Mall, old Big lots, to many spaced Downtown and on Hyw 99. This will help with taxes and the general budget for Edmonds. I am hoping our City Cincil will start thinking about the future of our city.

  6. No vision, no plan, no citizen input, NO MONEY………..no question that the Skipper’s site is a piece of land with a very strategic location and the cost to acquire it has dropped as has all real estate…how about pulling back on the purchase..formulating a plan/vision that can gain support. and securing a funding source? As presented, the ready…fire…aim approach is irresponsible and violates the public trust. Shame on the 5 council members for their attempted end run.

  7. At a time the city is facing shortfalls it seems inappropriate to purchase a small parcel with no plans on how to effectly use it. I vote no.

  8. I think we should have a bake sale. Think of the kids playing in the park bounded by 8 lanes of traffic, a bar and railroad tracks. What parent wouldn’t want to take their children there? Or is it a visitor center? A shingle museum? What were we talking about again? I like cupcakes.

  9. Neither the City nor the Council have expertise in buying investment property, so all studies and responses to any proposals will have to be purchased from third parties, therefore the costs will roll on and on. Further, and more importantly, investing in property, whatever its merits, is not the reason the City or the Council exists. Without a stated and valid City purpose or need, this proposed action is an inappropriate use of public funds. Additionally, even if some vague City purpose is alleged to exist, this is not the time for any non-essential expenditure. I can think of few more disrespectful messages to send to those City employees from whom we have asked for financial sacrifice or to senior citizens on modest incomes paying taxes. Going forward with the purchase is poor stewardship of our strained financial resources.

  10. I thought that I had been around the block once or twice. Imagine my surprize. Apparently, as the Council President said, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Maybe the five are just kidding. Maybe the five wanted valuable and worthwhile advise from some very smart business people for free. Maybe the real plan is to gather a bunch of park proponents to pony up their own money to buy the million dollar right turn lane and make into a regal entrance ramp for the ferry speedway out of town. Then again, maybe I did just fall off the turnip truck.

  11. Hmm….a $1.1 million flower pot. The city doesn’t have money for transportation overlays, not to mention transportation improvements. Additionally, we are facing a revenue crisis. How is spending $1.1 million to create a big flower pot going to bring in revenue and solve existing basic needs?

  12. LETS GET THE FACT FIRST. Instead, what we first heard at the publc hearing was an emotional and uncivil 20 minute negative harangue by the Mayor and his two puppy dog followers, Wilson and Peterson (Don’t forget Wilson was the Councilman that threatened the community with building fences around all of our parks to keep citizens out if we failed to pass the levy that the Council proposed and then withdrew–and he also made a motion to support the mayor’s intent to CLOSE YOST POOL and REDUCE SENIOR CENTER FUNDING, which didn’t get a second, not even from Peterson.). This was scheduled to be a public hearing but rather we were rudely fillibustered by this angry uncivil trio for the first 20 minutes, prompting one aroused gentleman to ask the mayor in effect “What happened to the scheduled public hearing?”

    The city very well may not be able to afford the price and/or the Council may decide against purchase after they are able to examine the various funds available. Our budget has not exactly been an open book with our often uncooperative mayor and the current budget director. And the mayor may feel that this is a threat to Mr. Dykes’ plan to build extremely tall condos next door. Don’t forget that this mayor signed a SECRET written agreement with Mr. Dykes, so who is he really working for? Us, Mr Dykes, or himself? Also don’t forget that Wilson and Peterson between them have received $6000 from Mr. Dykes virtually compelling them to do his bidding. I’m suggesting the mayor might just have an ulterior motive that he hasn’t shared with citizens.

    There will be anopther public hearing on the 27th. Hopefully our mayor will not again preempt genuine dialogue with his rabble rousing and disrespectful behavior. This unfortunately in my opinion encouraged a few in the audience to also behave in a snarky manner as well.

    On the 27th lets raise our civility level as respectable Edmonds citizens, say our piece, and then LISTEN RESPECTFULLY TO OTHERS, including ALL of our elected officials. I understand the city staff should have some important input from which we will learn more, assuming the mayor’s cooperation.

  13. It is beyond comprehension why the five members of the City Council have voted to purchase the Skippers property. Our Council must have more pressing needs than spending time, effort and money to purchase a small piece of property of questionable value to the citizens of Edmonds. It’s a bad business decision, without planning and a waste of valuable resources.

  14. The idea for purchasing the strip in front of Old Mill Town in order to retain it as a park originated with a citizen, Alan Macfarlane, and I led the effort to make it happen. The process we used was to first attain an appraisal, and then we negotiated a price that was below the appraised value. This was done in 2007 when the city had adequate funds in the Real Estate Excise Tax fund, so there was sufficient money to cover the purchase. Finally we knew that we wanted the use of the property to remain as a park, and that would also keep the developer, who had owned the property, from building out to the sidewalk.

  15. Mr. Martin;
    I’m sorry that I won’t be able to make it to this next Council meeting, as I would relish the opportunity to repeat my past comments, and require no “go ahead” from the Mayor to do so.
    Instead, I will have to provide my input via email. I hope that you did not find my comments “snarky”, but rather, as a solidly one-way conversation. In the Navy, we call it an ass chewing. It’s what leaders do when they’re disappointed in performance, because we expected better. Especially from Bernheim, Buckshnis and AFM.
    I invite you, sir, to please review the comments contained in this news site, and the poll results above. I am confident that the sentiment will continue to reflect that the vast majority of the City cannot reconcile our financial crisis and this sudden move to acquire property.
    I expected better judgment. Now I expect responsiveness to public sentiment.

  16. at this point in time and the money the city does not have buying skippers would not be a smart thing to do, its not that a very nice property anyways the city should hang onto the money that they have and invest in things that have a better return so we dont have to have a levy. I think this whole thing is fueled about the fact that Jack in the Box was looking at the property, if you recall there use to be a safeway in that complex thats why skippers was there there skippers and fast food places like to be around shopping centers where people go and get food as an afterthought. Just look at where all the fast food places are at around grocery stores places where people go. I wouldnt worry too much about jack in the bo’x going where skippers is at its not that good a spot for that, anyways the city dosent have the money

  17. Having Ray Martin talk about civil conversation and discussing facts rather than emotion is richly ironic. Especially another one of his smokescreen diatribes firmly removed from any basis in logic or reality.

  18. Remember those who treat taxpayer money like Daddy’s credit card and help them find other work next election cycle. This is a micro version of the same lunacy that is happening on a national level.

  19. This pettiness will have dreadful political ramifications if the group of 5 continues on this course. The new council people should Shut up and learn before sticking foot in mouth, and or accusing others of wrong doing. Even Steve Bernhiem while expressing his opinions did way more listening and learning then mouthing off. I find the judgmental attitude of this new group very disrupting. In closing they should run not walk away from the skippers purchase.

  20. Sorry Ray it was no compliment, Just reread all these enteries and maybe you will figure it out or maybe not, it would be real nice if you would just share your views on matters and leave it at that. we dont need all the negitive remarks about public people thank you

  21. Adreinne I guess what you are saying the next moves are an appraisal a soils test and a refundable deposit not a purchase quite yet what about funding grants etc will you have enough time to have that in order, sounds to me like the bank is closing the time on this deal and wants it done

  22. Nice to see this back on the “Front Page” of the site.

    FYI – the Council members appear to not be paying any mind to online surveys, they gauge public support by direct emails. Please follow up by emailing each council member. Their email addresses are posted here (click on each member to get their email address):

    http://www.ci.edmonds.wa.us/cityCouncil.stm

  23. It appears that a lot of complaints about this is about money the city does not have. I just don’t like the property not for what they want to use it for now that’s neither here or there but everybody agrees that the city does not have a lot of money pro or con agreed. So with that being said and established what is the city doing hiring people on staff and paying them over one hundred thousand dollars a year with a lot of vacation days and a nice benefit package. Lets talk about that !

  24. mike – The positions to which you refer are senior Director positions for major departments within the City. The salaries are competitive, but not exorbitant. I’d recommend you go to the City and ask about how salaries are set. These positions, by the way, are in the budget. (General Fund). I propose that we continue to pay for the work that gets done, at a competitive level. By way of comparison, this salary is about equivalent to a lowly Lieutenant submariner with 6 years in.

    Besides, the Council has made it (somewhat) clear that they do not intend to use General funds for this purchase. So, the argument about the General Fund budget would be off the table. It’s a lie, but it’s a useful one – keeps attention steered away from the failed Finance Committee.

    So, while we don’t have the money, here’s a bigger problem. Even if we DID have 2 million or so dollars just lying around, is THIS where we should spend it? Why? What other good could be done with such an amount of money? The Council has made no effort to justify this purchase in any terms – arguing that anyone opposed is “in favor of taller buildings!” This is brutal arrogance – nothing less.

    Every economics student knows that large capital expenditures must be analyzed in one of two ways prior to investing money: return on investment, or cost-benefit. For pubic investments, we should compare cost-benefit for various uses of the money, and choose the one that gets the most out of our money. Saying that we need to buy this NOW because that’s what the bank says…. fails this test.

    Would be nice if the Council woke up, and actually started doing some analysis of potential uses for capital instead of “knowing” that this is the right thing to do.

  25. Sounds like a good purchase to me. Don’t know where the money is coming from and don’t know what they are going to do with it if they get it.

    Kind of sounds like that’s how it became available in the first place.

  26. Hey Todd and Dj wilson lets something cleared up the money for skippers will not be used from the general fund . The money that the city got from the change in fire depts went into the gereral fund because they had to put it somewhere but thats the money there going to use to buy skippers its in the general fund but its not general fund money. There is also real estate excise tax money that money is suppost to be used for “like purchases” . I wish you people would get your facts right

  27. Mike – How do you know the money will not come from the general fund? Where will it come from? There is no giant pool of REET money as most of that is spoken for and no one knows how much we will really get this year. Retroactively getting money from the state for a park is a gamble, and a poor one at best if one looks at the qualifications needed for said grant.

    We cannot get our facts straight as the council isn’t giving us any.

  28. michael young if you go to the meeting ask michael plunkett how much exise tax money they got he will answer i have to work cannot make , When I talked to him yesterday other than the fire money he assured that it would not come from general funds, He will give out the numbers,

  29. mike – I agree (and said that) the advertised plan is to not expend the General Fund for this purchase. However, let’s see how it actually plays out. A few complications Mr. (Finance Committee Chair) Plunkett may have failed to point out:
    1. The numbers for the FD1 money and the REET fund don’t come close to 1.1 million. Actually, make that 1.2 million, given 100k in due diligence.
    2. Even so, that only secures the property. Converting the property to any use will take further money. A thumbnail estimate of development is about 1/2 million, then add on O&M to that, and subtract the current tax revenue the property generates.

    BUT, the main point is (again) lost on the “yea-sayers”. It’s not that we can’t spend money, it’s that once this big chunk of FD1 money is spent, it’s gone forever. There are a lot of things that we could spend that money on, and that chance is being squandered on nicely positioned, but essentially useless, property.
    No plan.
    No vision.
    No assessment.
    No risk calculation.
    No cost/benefit analysis.
    No justification other than “I wanna”.
    No comparison with other possible uses of this “one time only” money.

    I am all for spending the FD1 money to improve the economic climate in Edmonds! We desperately need to – we are under-diversified, and our local economy continues to underperform compared to our neighbors.

    However, I disagree that this property purchase is the best way to improve the vitality and resilience of Edmonds in these trying times.

  30. Todd and Michael Young I just want you guys to know I don’t want the city buying that property either. I think they should leave FD1 money in the bank for a while, The council has already spent too much money and time on this thing its not that nice and won’t bring in a penny. Plus there paying full price. Maybe the problem is that its a new council and they just want to do something,well a lot of times doing nothing is the best thing to do, If you let someone else buy it you one stop spending money get real estate excise tax money get sales tax money get a little property tax money now whats so bad about that

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