The faithful who gathered today at the weekly 6 a.m. meeting on the Winthrop hotel efforts heard the complex saga has taken a new twist: Apparently a second potential buyer has made an offer for the building.
Tom Absher, whose Absher Construction firm is a partner in an effort to acquire the downtown landmark and restore it as a four-star hotel, said his group has little idea where it stands this week.
A.F. Evans, the Oakland firm that originally was to buy the building for low-income housing, was supposed to acquire the former hotel and resell it to the group that includes Absher, Gig Harbor businessman Tim Quigg and Astoria, Ore., hotelier Chester Trabucco. Neither Quigg nor Trabucco were on hand today.
Absher said it isn’t clear whether A.F. Evans actually closed on its purchase of the hotel last week; it was supposed to have closed with Winthrop Hotel owner Al Hanson by Friday. Absher said his group was informed that A.F. Evans has received another offer for the property, but who made the offer was not disclosed.
For now, Absher said, his group is in a wait-and-see stance. He said he believes the other would-be purchaser has set a Wednesday deadline for wrapping up its offfer to A.F. Evans. Ric Teasley, a city economic development official, said there is considerable doubt whether A. F. Evans can hold together all the pieces of its original purchase offer, which depends heavily on government subsidies and grants from a variety of sources. A.F. Evans hold the option to purchase the Winthrop from owner Al Hanson.
Today’s meeting was the the latest in a series of Monday-morning Winthrop briefing sessions held at the Tully’s coffee shop at South Ninth Street and St. Helens Ave., across the street from the Winthrop building.
Tacoma attorney Erik Bjornson summed up the mood of hopeful uncertainty that prevailed this morning. Two years ago, he called, no one wanted to buy the Winthrop. Now, apparently, there are two potential buyers competing for the building. That, at least, is another sign of progress in Tacoma’s downtown turnaround.