The Friday Harbor Village apartment complex was purchased by a Seattle-based investment firm for $940,000 at auction Friday, in the lobby of the San Juan County Courthouse.
Carson Rasmussen of Fairview Investment Fund, who submitted the winning bid at the Jan. 30 foreclosure sale, said the firm’s intent for the apartments is to “rent them” and that he and his partners have no immediate plan to alter the rent restrictions on the 26 units that have historically made them affordable for low to moderate income households.
“For right now, the plan is to let all the tenants stay and keep rents as they are,” Rasmussen said. “As they leave, we may consider lifting the restrictions on those that become vacant but at this point we’re not really sure about that.”
Because of long-standing legal restrictions for sake of affordability, monthly rents at Friday Harbor Village for income-qualified tenants typically cost about $700 for two-bedroom units, of which there are eight, $800 for three-bedroom units, of which there are 12, and $875 for the four-bedroom units, of which there are six, according to the company website.
Located at 445 Carter Avenue, Friday Harbor Village was previously owned by Friday Harbor Village Limited Partnership and managed by Ad West Realty. Friday Harbor Village Partnership, with offices in Seattle and Las Vegas, owed $849,793 on the property as of May 1, 2013, according to a published legal notice about the pending foreclosure sale.
At auction, bidding began at a fixed minimum of $916,906. Rasmussen, who first offered $920,000, outbid Rolf Dagg with a final bid of $940,000 after a series of back-and-forth bidding at the auction, which was overseen and administered by San Juan Island’s Leslie Brennan.
The sale of Friday Harbor Village comes at a time when affordable rentals have become increasingly harder to find on San Juan Island, according to local housing advocates. The pool of affordable rentals continues to shrink as more second homes and cottages are converted to vacation rentals, advocates contend.
Rasmussen said incentives for bidding on the apartments included the attractiveness of the local market and the price. Compared to what might be a similar sale in a metropolitan area, he said the public auction of Friday Harbor Village offered an opportunity to “get a good deal” without contending with as much competition.
He said that a business partner has family ties on the island and the sale was an opportunity to become involved in an attractive market.
“We like Friday Harbor, and like the market,” he said.
— Editor’s note: Carson Rasmussen of Fairview Investment Fund in no relation to Journal editor Scott Rasmussen.