Business

Anacortes Ace owners in negotiation for Friday Harbor site

Ace Hardware in Anacortes could expand into the Friday Harbor Ace Hardware site if lease negotiations with the  property’s new owners are successful.    - Journal file photo
Ace Hardware in Anacortes could expand into the Friday Harbor Ace Hardware site if lease negotiations with the property’s new owners are successful.
— image credit: Journal file photo

The building and land that’s home to Ace Hardware in Friday Harbor is back under local ownership.

And a new tenant is expected to be announced by the end of the week: an extension of the Ace Hardware in Anacortes, owned by Randy Burgess and Pat Strand.

Strand and Dave Moorhouse — he bought the Ace Hardware building at auction with Lynn Danaher — confirmed Monday they are negotiating a lease.

Located at the corner of Argyle Avenue and Nichols Street, the two-story building was purchased Oct. 9 by Danaher and Moorhouse at a public auction on the steps of San Juan County Courthouse.

Nearly a dozen prospective buyers attended the auction, which had been postponed several times in the past two years after the former owner of the building, J. Phillip Miller of Camano Island, defaulted on a $670,000 loan and, faced with foreclosure, filed for bankruptcy protection. Miller also owed nearly $70,000 in interest and $40,000 in unpaid taxes, according to court documents.

The building was purchased for $904,384 by DanMoor, LLC, a partnership which Danaher and Moorhouse recently formed with direct intent of buying the property. It was valued at $1.5 million following its most recent appraisal.

Danaher said earlier that she and Moorhouse hoped to have a new tenant by February, and that they plan for that tenant to operate a much-improved Ace Hardware-like store on the ground floor. She said those currently employed by Ace have been assured of an opportunity to apply for positions when a new tenant takes over. She also expects a few more jobs will be created than exist at Ace today.

“It’ll be better stocked and with an inventory that’s much improved,” Danaher said. “It’s going to be a far better store — no ifs, ands or buts about it.”

Miller bought Ace Hardware on Argyle Avenue from the Nash brothers, Al, Kenneth and Charles, in 1978. He moved it to its current site in 1995.

Danaher is owner of Carter House and Churchill House, both of which are located on Argyle Avenue, about two blocks west of Ace Hardware. Both are remodeled and refurbished historic homes that today are home to an assortment of businesses.

Moorhouse formerly owned Petro San Juan, which he sold in 2000. He owns investment property in Friday Harbor — among hius holdings are the Little Store property and the Big Store property.

In addition to establishing an improved hardware store on the ground floor, Danaher said roughly 4,500 square feet on the second floor, which is unfinished, will be improved and possibly converted into potential office space or apartments.

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