Sav-on to Joe Mentor: Get lost

Local businessman Joe Mentor didn’t seem too surprised — or upset — that his winning bid on Sav-on property was ultimately rejected.

He even suggested the property be given to the city to help redevelopment efforts.

Mentor’s lawyers have filed appeal after appeal for months — more like a year, now — to keep Albertson’s (Sav-on’s parent company) from re-establishing a grocery in East Bremerton.

Could this be the reason his bid on the Sixth Street and Naval Avenue site was rebuffed? Or was Mentor’s bid — $8 per square foot or about $500,000 for 1.33 acres — simply too low?

Albertson’s/Sav-on officials didn’t respond by press time with an answer to either question.

“I don’t know,” was all Mentor said. “I just got this letter from them that said ‘No.’”

There was a 10-day seller’s option to turn down any bid. No one at Higgenbotham Auctioneers of Florida could be reached, either. It’s unknown if, or when, another auction is scheduled.

Mentor said he received the rejection letter Friday, April 19, after winning the property when it came up for bid, on-site, April 8. Mentor said the bidding started at $34 per square foot. Others were present but he said no one else bid.

Mentor said information from the auction company on site indicated Albertson’s spent up to $3.4 million to clear the site of two businesses, a handful of homes, and the state liquor store to build a new Sav-on Drugs. About $700,000 was spent securing a new, remodeled location for the liquor store on Naval Avenue.

Soon after the auction, Mentor commented they (Albertson’s) would have to be a little crazy to let the property go so cheaply, and on reflection, he said he was wasn’t that disappointed.

“Albertson’s should show some public spirit and simply donate it to the city. The Fire Department’s been looking at it as a possible new site for some time,” he said. “It’d be close to the Navy’s fire station — a nice tie in.”

Meanwhile, Joe Mentor’s and the Mentor Law Group of Seattle’s final appeal to keep Albertson’s out of Bremerton will come before the city’s new hearing examiner, Ted Hunter, possibly May 21 at 10 a.m.

The date is tentative. City planners would like to hold hearing examiner sessions every third tuesday of the month at that time, said planner Jim Svensson. The sessions are open to the public. Call Building and Planning to confirm the date: 478-5275.

Mentor wants to keep Albertson’s from building a grocery near Wheaton Way and Sheridan Road. Albertson’s closest competitor would be Garguile’s Red Apple Market about a mile away on Perry Avenue. The owner of the shopping center there is Mentor.

However, Mentor said the reason he’s against Albertson’s at Wheaton Way and Sheridan Avenue is because of traffic-safety problems.

The site in West Bremerton is cleared, declared environmentally OK by the state, and is designated “general business,” ready to build on.

Sav-on is a subsidiary of Albertson’s, and Albertson’s officials have decided to sell off at least 77 Sav-on properties in 22 states — including the recently cleared lot in Bremerton, said company officials in previous interviews.

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