Actual road blocks holding up Galaxy land sale
MONROE - To say there are road blocks in the way of a significant sale of land for the city would not be an understatement, it’s literally happening.
For the past 11 years, large concrete ecology blocks have been blocking the passage way between the Galaxy Theatre’s parking lot and a neighboring strip mall, making travel between the two impossible.
The issue has become more than a thorn in the city’s side. It is now what’s keeping the city from closing a deal with buyer Richard Brunhaver, who wants the blocks gone.
Brunhaver is a partner at Beta-Kelsey Station, a real estate company based in Bothell.
Galaxy Theatre owner Frank Rimkus put the blocks in place and said he would remove them and grant the sale’s necessary easement once the city reimbursed him for an extra $248,000 he spent building the theater.
The city’s response to Rimkus was to send him a letter notifying him the theater is defaulting on its lease with the city because the concrete blocks are not a permitted use and if he doesn’t remove them, the city can evict the theater.
The letter was sent Aug. 18.
Jeff Sax, economic development manager, is handling the dispute for the city. He said Rimkus has until Sept. 20 to respond to the letter or remove the blocks.
The city has not yet heard back from Rimkus regarding the letter.
City officials claimed recently that they “want to get out of the landlord business” and began looking for buyers to purchase the property on which the theater sits.
The sale could generate $2 million, which Sax said would be placed in the city’s reserve funds.
The city owns the property and Galaxy pays about $156,000 a year in rent. Several years ago Galaxy spent thousands of dollars to build the theater that sits on the property today.
Galaxy decided to move the theater back 300 feet from the street than in the original plan, which cost the theater $248,000 to extend electric, sewer and water lines.
Brunhaver, who entered into negotiations to buy the property in June, wants the blocks gone before he’ll close the deal, and he has already made his own efforts to have them removed.
Brunhaver recently arranged to have the blocks hauled away, but the theater was not on board.
Galaxy called the police and the blocks were returned to the parking lot, where they’ve remained, continuing to hold up the property’s sale.
Sax wouldn’t say if the implications of the letter will end the dispute.
Beta-Kelsey Station LLC, a subsidiary of the family-owned real estate company Beta Commercial Properties, previously purchased about four acres of property directly to the south of the Galaxy Theatres.
Adding the 9.1 acres under Galaxy just made sense, Brunhaver said.
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