Preservation Trust and Conservation Land Bank outbid for 58-acre waterfront property

Posted March 17, 2022 at 8:06 am by

The San Juan Preser­va­tion Trust and the San Juan Coun­ty Con­ser­va­tion Land Bank share an update about their efforts to con­serve crit­i­cal habi­tats in the Islands — and the chal­lenge of acquir­ing such prop­er­ties in our hyper-com­pet­i­tive real estate market.

The San Juan Coun­ty Con­ser­va­tion Land Bank and San Juan Preser­va­tion Trust announced last week that they joint­ly sub­mit­ted an offer to pur­chase the Glen­wood Inn prop­er­ty on Orcas Island. The prop­er­ty includes a third of a mile of shore­line, which the con­ser­va­tion part­ners would open for pub­lic access while pro­tect­ing near-shore nat­ur­al fea­tures to aid salmon-recov­ery efforts.

The 58-acre for­mer water­front resort, locat­ed near Point Doughty on the north­west tip of Orcas, was list­ed for sale on Feb­ru­ary 19. The Land Bank/SJPT part­ner­ship sub­mit­ted an offer on Thurs­day, March 10—the last day of the seller’s spec­i­fied bid­ding peri­od. Their offer was based on a mar­ket analy­sis by an inde­pen­dent appraisal firm. We under­stand, how­ev­er, that anoth­er par­ty bet­tered our offer.

“We weren’t entire­ly sur­prised that we were out­bid, giv­en the cur­rent hyper-com­pet­i­tive real estate mar­ket,” said Angela Ander­son, the Preser­va­tion Trust’s exec­u­tive direc­tor. “Of course we’re dis­ap­point­ed, but we remain ‘in the game’ and are hope­ful that a con­ser­va­tion out­come may yet come to pass.”

“At the Preser­va­tion Trust and Con­ser­va­tion Land Bank,” she added, “we felt we absolute­ly need­ed to go ‘all in’ to pur­sue this rare oppor­tu­ni­ty to secure com­mu­ni­ty access to shore­line on Orcas Island, in addi­tion to con­serv­ing crit­i­cal habi­tat to sup­port the salmon-Orca food chain.”

Pub­lic access to salt­wa­ter is noto­ri­ous­ly scarce on Orcas Island. Most of the island’s rel­a­tive­ly few pub­lic beach­es are small; for years, many mem­bers of the Orcas com­mu­ni­ty have held the dream of a lengthy stretch of shore­line avail­able for pub­lic enjoy­ment and recre­ation. The for­mer Glen­wood Inn prop­er­ty offers a rare oppor­tu­ni­ty to make this dream a reality.

“Our pur­chase offer showed just how impor­tant we rec­og­nize this prop­er­ty is for the com­mu­ni­ty on many lev­els,” said Land Bank Direc­tor Lin­coln Bor­mann. “The north­west­ern shore of Orcas is tru­ly one of the most out­stand­ing nat­ur­al areas on the island, and in fact, through­out the coun­ty, and it’s inte­gral to the Lum­mi Nation’s trib­al her­itage. Pro­tect­ing it from devel­op­ment and restor­ing and retain­ing its nat­ur­al char­ac­ter would mark a step toward respect­ing this liv­ing history.”

“In addi­tion to the much-need­ed pub­lic shore­line access that the Glen­wood prop­er­ty would pro­vide,” said Preser­va­tion Trust Board Mem­ber Bar­bara Rosenkot­ter, “this site has been iden­ti­fied as a top-pri­or­i­ty loca­tion to pro­tect for salmon recov­ery efforts. The nearshore area pro­vides an impor­tant nurs­ery for young salmon. The shore­line har­bors exten­sive beds of eel­grass, which pro­vides habi­tat for for­age fish along with juve­nile salmon. All are impor­tant links in a healthy Sal­ish Sea ecosys­tem and crit­i­cal to the sur­vival of our South­ern Res­i­dent Orcas.”

The ulti­mate fate of the Glen­wood prop­er­ty remains uncer­tain. “As Yogi Berra said, ‘It ain’t over ‘til it’s over,’” quipped the Land Bank’s Bor­mann. “Until the prop­er­ty deed is record­ed on behalf of anoth­er buy­er, we remain hope­ful that this tremen­dous oppor­tu­ni­ty for com­mu­ni­ty con­ser­va­tion could still go our way.”

If it does, look for more news on how you can help sup­port the effort.

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