City accepts bid for downtown property

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The city of Blaine will sell a vacant downtown property at 665 Peace Portal Drive to Nimbus Properties LLC for $325,000, slightly above its asking price of $300,000.

City council voted unanimously in favor of the sale at its July 27 meeting.

The purchase and sale agreement includes a $39,000 incentive for Nimbus to have a completed building ready for business within 18 months of the agreed upon closing date of December 1, 2020. That incentive comes in two six-percent rebates: One for submitting a building permit for a mixed-use structure within six months of closing and another for getting an occupancy permit from the city within one year of receiving the building permit.

That would essentially make the purchase price $286,000 – just above the amount the city spent on preparing the property for sale – if Nimbus meets those deadlines.

The city acquired the property, currently the site of a concrete pad on the Drayton Harbor side of the street just south of Blaine Bouquets, in lieu of foreclosure in October 2019. It spent about $283,000 overall in staff time, legal fees and other expenses to demolish a derelict building at the site that required asbestos abatement and other toxic abatement.

The council voted to list the property for $300,000 at a June 29 meeting and received three offers within two weeks of putting the property on the market.

Of the three, offers from Nimbus and Sall LLC were highest, though very different. Nimbus offered up to $360,000, depending on the next highest viable offer. Sall LLC made an offer of $429,000, but $129,000 of that was a deposit that would be returned to Sall LLC if it obtained a building permit within six months of closing.

Both potential buyers proposed to take advantage of new incentives the city offered for completing a project in a timely manner.

At its July 13 meeting, the council discussed the offers in executive session and directed Jones to renegotiate with Nimbus. Nimbus made its revised offer of $325,000 after that negotiation, according to a memo to city council.

Nimbus Real Estate, established in 2008 by developer Mike Mulder, opened an office at 225 G Street in downtown Blaine last year. The company’s tentative plan for the site is a three-floor building with a taphouse and grill/event center on the main,street-level floor, and four suites above and below that would be either vacation rentals or long term rentals.

The timeline for Nimbus to receive the rebates could potentially change through an amendment to the purchase and sale agreement, Jones said. If the developer is making a good faith effort but is delayed, council could vote to amend the contract to allow Nimbus more time while still obtaining the rebates. That hasn’t been discussed, but is a possibility, Jones said.

Before listing the site, some on council were concerned that Covid-19 would affect interest in the downtown property. “I think it’s exciting that in the time of Covid we’re still getting interest in Blaine,” said councilmember Eric Davidson, at the July
27 meeting.

Mulder said he considered the pandemic when making an offer, but demand for the vacation rental suites Nimbus owns above Kaisacole and the Drayton Harbor Oyster Company isn’t slowing down.

“The other thing is, there’s a few of us that have determined that Blaine seriously is a diamond in the rough,” he said. “If it gets its fair shake of development coming in, with enough to do and enough places to shop, we’re going to have a very interesting destination.”

Through Nimbus, Mulder also owns the Peace Arch Café property and the historic Goff Building, across the street from 665 Peace Portal Drive. He said the purchase would be beneficial for his other properties in a variety of ways.

“When that opportunity to buy that property came up, I thought, ‘I have to protect my development on the east side by making sure that property has a certain design where you can see the water from the east side [of Peace Portal Drive],’” he said. “That means big windows, maybe garage doors that open up on the first floor.”

The timeline to earn the city’s rebates will be difficult, Mulder said, but he has personal incentive to complete a project quickly – it’s going to impact his other nearby properties by bringing more people to downtown, he said.

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