Prime real estate set for land grab

Tenants of the Fourth Street Building, 245 Fourth St. were notified Tuesday that the building is scheduled for sale at public auction on Jan. 3, 2005, unless its owner is able to pay off his existing loan.

“Essentially the loan became due in July and to avoid sale, Mr. Laine must come up with the full amount,” said Edwin G. Woodward of the law firm Wolfstone, Panchot and Bloch in Seattle, which is handling the sale.

The building is owned by Bremerton resident Michael J. Laine, who according the notice given to the building’s tenants owes almost $720,000 to First American Title Insurance Company for the purchase of the building.

According the notice of sale Laine was given a written notice of default on July 7.

However, many of the building’s current tenants said they signed leases in August and were never told about Laine’s financial troubles.

Several tenants said their leases expire after the possible sale date and have paid their leases six months to a year in advance.

Had they known about his financial situation, many of them said they would have attempted to find other locations in the downtown area.

The property’s current value is more than $770,000, according to the 2004 county tax statement on the property.

Bremerton community development director Chris Hugo said the building has numerous possible uses.

“It could be anything from street-level retail with residential above it or it could be a software company,” Hugo said. “It could be just about anything you could think of.”

Tenants of the building expressed concerns about their futures, but declined to go on record.

The building has 20 tenants including a men’s consignment store, a couple of art studios, an antique store and a software company.

Numerous attempts were made to contact Laine, but all were unsuccessful as of press time.

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