Letters to the Editor

Chorus of critics had their chance | Letters

With the dark, cold nights closing in, islanders who have to give up their gardening, tennis, and nice summer walks need to find something to keep them warmed up and energized.

How nice of the Department of Homeland Security to give us an issue to get us all hot and bothered over and take our minds off the outdoor gloom.

The Journal calls the former Windermere space “prime office, or retail, space in the heart of town.”  But if it’s such prime space, how come none of the merchants or business people now bewailing the rental to DHS ever came forward to rent it?

For how long did they expect Mr. Petersen to sit on this prime space without a long term lessee willing to pay market rate for his building? How many local merchants stepped up to help Mr. Petersen find a more acceptable tenant to fill the space? I don’t see any hands raised.

How many of those attending the “All Community Meeting” were willing to put their hands in their pockets to rent this space to keep it out of the hands of a tenant like DHS?  I don’t see any hands raised.

How many even now are willing to pay Mr. Petersen’s mortgage and other building expenses that he keeps incurring until some tenant more acceptable to the community steps forward to lease the space? I still don’t see any hands raised.

The business community was happy enough to let the space rent for a significantly below market rate and not come forward to rent it themselves. After at least a year of no local businesses coming forward to sign a long-term market-rate lease for this prime space, Mr. Petersen finally found a tenant willing to do so.

But now the business community, which was quite happy to let his space remain underutilized and under-producing, is outraged by the tenant who finally did come forward to give Mr. Petersen the financial security he is entitled to.

If the business community, and the Journal, really wanted this space used for office or retail space, they had plenty of time to act to make that happen.

They didn’t. They had their chance. They flunked it.

Even now, I don’t see the community coming forward and offering to match the lease terms that the DHS has agreed to. Somebody?  Anybody?

I didn’t think so. It’s easier to whine.

Christopher Hodgkin, Friday Harbor


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