Dori Randall — and others whose businesses occupy the Brookings Harbor Shopping Center — is more than a bit concerned about their future since an auction has been scheduled to sell the property in Harbor.
The deadline for auction bids, which will be hosted by Hilco Real Estate of Northbrook, Ill., is July 15.
“Right now we’re a little nervous,” admitted Randall, the founder of the Brookings Harbor Community Theater. “We don’t know what’s going on; we know very little.”
The Brookings-Harbor Shopping Center is one of the largest commercial properties in the community and is up for auction as part of C&K Market’s attempt to reorganize in bankruptcy proceedings.
C&K, which opened its first store in Brookings in 1956, operates 45 grocery stores in Oregon and California. Last fall, the company closed stores in Harbor, and Smith River and Crescent City, and closed all its pharmacies, including Chetco Pharmacy in Brookings and Pharmacy Express in Harbor.
According to Joel Schneider, senior vice president of Hilco, the company has “definitely had interest” in the property from clients who are involved in commercial projects. He declined to say who has submitted bids, but indicated most are from the Pacific Northwest.
One of those is Leroy Blodgett, who manages Fitness at the Club in Harbor. He said he and a newly formed company plan to bid on that property “and others.” He declined to name the company, the other properties, or others who might be involved.
Bids will be evaluated and Hilco officials will make an announcement at an undisclosed date.
“It’s flexible; there’s a lot of give and take in bankruptcy,” Schneider said. “Any bid is subject to a higher and better bid. We’ll see how many offers we get, and we may ask all the bidders to come back with their best and final offer.”
Or, Hilco could accept the bid they find the most amenable.
C&K Market officials have told tenants at the shopping center it will be “business as usual” Randall said. The property includes everything from the U.S. Postal Service on the north end to Harbor Performing Arts Center at the other.
“We signed a new two-year lease in October,” Randall said. “We didn’t know at that time they were going to do a bankruptcy. We were given a new shopping center manager and found out shortly after that the shopping center was part of the foreclosure. They (C&K officials) have been to shopping center tenant meetings and continue to say, ‘Don’t worry; everything’s going to be OK.’”
Most of the business owners in the Brookings Harbor Shopping Center are not pleased because they have yet to get any information about the auction or their future from the new property manager, Jayme Palodichuk of CPM Real Estate Services of Medford.
At first, it was a rumor,” said Pacific Coast Antiques owner Dick Strever, of the auction. “Then we read it in the newspaper. They’re ignoring all of us. They won’t tell us anything.”
“I would disagree with that,” said Wendy Orvis of CPM Real Estate. “We’ve addressed all the issues with the tenants so there’s not an issue.”
When asked further questions she said the information was “not any of your business” and hung up.
Palodichuk did not return phone calls.
Randall and others hope the new owner — if there is one — will honor existing leases.
“That’s a best-case scenario,” Randall said. “It depends. There are so many rumors, and none of them are confirmed.”
Other rumors have skittered through Brookings that Albertson’s is interested in the local property, as well.
“Well, the shopping center itself is in very poor condition,” Randall said of that rumor. “Would they tear everything down? Would they let it go back to the bank and buy it at a lower price? And oh, my gosh; if it doesn’t sell at the auction and the bank takes it back and doesn’t want tenants? …”
“The rumor is that they don’t think the shopping center will sell because it’s so empty,” Strever said. “So then, are they going to get it back? So we’re stuck with them as landlords? That’s what we’re waiting for next month.”
Only Woof’s Dog Bakery has left the center, to 1031 Chetco Avenue in Brookings — a store that’s twice the size of the space they occupied in Harbor.
“We really needed a bigger location, and it’s right off the highway,” said Melinda Riddle. “It just worked worked out that we got a better spot.”
‘We’re still open!’
The remaining tenants are working hard to let people know the mall is still open and home to AT&T, CC’s Clothes for Cancer, Barron’s Home Furnishings, the post office and Department of Motor Vehicles, Ye Olde Wash House; Harbrook Jewelers, Pacific Coast Antiques Mall, Sears, Marion’s Barbershop and Coastal Country Property Management.
Karl Wissmann was hired in late February in hopes of leading C&K Markets out of its recent financial difficulties.
Goodwill Industries has purchased the property Chetco Pharmacy leased, and is remodeling the building with plans of opening a store in mid-September. The two other tenants, Spotlight Video & Tan and Brookings Liquor Store will remain.
“Our theater company is going forward as if it’s business as usual,” Randall said. “We’re already planning the 2015 year as if we’ll always be there. We’re keeping our positive attitudes. The whole board has agreed that we will be OK.”
“We’re waiting it out,” Strever said. “It’s supposedly out of Chapter 11 in the middle of next month. That’s going to be the real tell-tale. If they come out of Chapter 11 after sticking all their vendors. … We’ll see. No one knows. If it all goes wrong, there’s going to be some big auctions in this shopping center — and mine will be the biggest of them.”