January 23, 1997 in Nation/World

Spokane Casts Doubt On Restaurant’s Move City Wants To Buy Salty’s Out From Under Clinkerdagger

By The Spokesman-Review

The city of Spokane might scrap a popular restaurant’s chance at acquiring the best view in town.

Clinkerdagger Restaurant had planned to move from the Flour Mill to a location overlooking Spokane Falls in early February.

The restaurant’s Seattle-based owner, RUI, had begun remodeling the former Salty’s at the Falls restaurant, but it has not signed a lease with the property owner. RUI already has spent about $500,000 on furniture, equipment and advertising while negotiating a lease with Happy Guest International.

But last week, the city told RUI it wants to buy the site, said Jim Welch, executive vice president of RUI.

“The city said they’d be happy to make a lease with us for a year and a half,” Welch said. “It’s not a real happy situation. We’re very upset. We’ve told all of our guests we’re closing the restaurant.”

Clinkerdagger, which has operated in Spokane for 22 years, already has terminated its Flour Mill lease but now is negotiating for an extension.

City officials would say only that the city is trying to buy the old Salty’s site on North Lincoln. Deputy City Manager Pete Fortin confirmed that the city’s interest in the property is related to the Lincoln Street Bridge construction, due to begin in late 1997 or mid-1998.

“We’re looking at a real estate transaction,” Fortin said, declining further comment.

Though Clinkerdagger owners have yet to sign a lease with Happy Guest, Welch said the two companies had arrived at a “legal agreement” for a 25-year lease. Happy Guest also had given RUI keys to the building and allowed construction to begin, Welch said.

“We’re way down the road on the remodel,” Welch said. “We’ve definitely been injured here, and we’ve done nothing but act in good faith from beginning to end.”

During the negotiations with Happy Guest, Welch said, RUI talked to city officials about the restaurant’s operation during the Lincoln Street Bridge construction.

The bridge would be built just downstream from the restaurant.

Welch said city officials assured RUI the city would try to reduce the negative impacts of construction. No city official mentioned the city might want to buy the property, he said.

RUI now is negotiating with the Flour Mill about extending its lease, Welch said, but he did not know how long the restaurant would remain open.

, DataTimes

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