By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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Bill Foster of the Lynnwood law firm Hutchison & Foster, which is trustee for Whidbey Island Bank, said late Thursday afternoon that the bank had decided to push back the date of the auction that had been scheduled for 10 a.m. today at the Clallam County Courthouse in Port Angeles.
Foster did not say why the bank decided to postpone the sale or whether the decision was related to a request by trustees of the Museum & Arts Center in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley to delay the auction.
The museum officials had sent a letter to the bank last week asking for a postponement to allow them time to see whether the building at 531 W. Washington St. could be used to house the museum.
“We’re all very happy to hear about that,” museum spokesman Judy Stipe said after hearing that the auction had been delayed.
Whidbey Island Bank took ownership of the 85-foot grain elevator and the building at its base that last housed the El Cazador Mexican restaurant after EC Sequim Properties LLC defaulted on a loan against the building.
EC Sequim Properties owes the bank $912,644.11.
El Cazador closed March 3 after 33 years.
MAC treasurer Louie Rychlik said the museum wanted to explore the possibilities of a property swap for the elevator.
He said the DeWitt Administration Center at 544 N. Sequim Ave. and the Dungeness Schoolhouse cannot be sold because they are restricted under the museum’s bylaws, and none of the MAC properties is for sale.
The grain elevator dates back to the early 20th century and is a prominent reminder of the Dungeness Valley’s agricultural heritage.
It was used to store grains brought in as cattle feed on the Seattle, Port Angeles and Western Railroad, a subsidiary of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific.
Clallam Co-op built the retail building at the base of the elevator in 1944.
It was the Landmark Mall for years before being transformed into a Mexican restaurant in 1981.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at email@example.com.