Community News

GEMS property

The City Council on Tuesday night okayed the purchase, pending an investigation, of the GEMS property along the Guemes Channel, site of an old cannery building, for $1.3 million.

The Council approved the purchase price along with a fully-refundable $25,000 deposit and a 180-day period to investigate the property for ‘fatal flaws” such as property contamination by pollutants.

The preliminary analysis would cost $5,000, city Parks Director Gary Robinson told the Council at their Tuesday night meeting.

He said depending on what the analysis shows, further work could range from $74,500 to $160,000 to do a complete review of the property or be as little as a few thousand dollars depending on the level of risk the city is willing to take.

Robinson said the wants the property to extend the Guemes Channel Trail, but could lease out portions of the property to help pay for the purchase. He said the Anacortres Parks Foundation could do some fundraising to help cover the purchase price.

GEMS, LLC had planned to build a restaurant, hotel and marina at the site a few years ago, but plans were dropped after running into a number of complications. The property went up for sale in 2012.

In a memo to the Council, Robinson said, “Initially the price for the property was very high and well beyond what the City was willing to pay. As time passed the price came down and we got involved in discussing a variety of possible ways to acquire the property, including the possibility of buying parts of the property, etc.”

After quite a bit of negotiations with the owners, city staff reached an agreement at the $1.3 million price, with conditions.