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Steel Electrics sale delayed, but $30,000 deposit made

It looks like the sale of four venerable ferries is on hold for a several weeks.

Laura Johnson, spokesperson for Washington State Ferries, said Wednesday the final negotiations for a purchase and sale agreement with Tacoma-based Managing Green for the four Steel Electrics will take longer than anticipated.

"That's going to go on for a couple of weeks," Johnson said of the negotiations. Originally, officials hoped the sale of the 80-year-old vessels would have been wrapped up seven days after Managing Green was selected as the new buyer for the Steel Electrics.

Johnson said Managing Green has submitted the $30,000 deposit for the vessels, but ferry officials decided to provide an extension so the firm's owner, George Heidgerken, could complete a business trip. She didn't know when the purchase and sale agreement would be complete.

Heidgerken didn't return a phone call for comment.

Managing Green was the only company to submit an offer earlier in February to purchase the Illahee, Klickitat, Nisqually and the Quinault. The company agreed to pay $650,000 for the four vessels. The ferry system had previously sold the vessels to a Seattle company for $500,000 and a percentage of the money made from scrapping the vessels. However, plans changed when the price of scrap steel plummeted.

Managing Green would look for an alternative use for the Steel Electrics, such as office or restaurant space.

In the meantime, the four Steel Electrics, which were last in service in November 2007, remain at Eagle Harbor. Once the purchase and sale agreement is finalized, Managing Green will have 45 days to remove the ferries.

Johnson said she didn't know if a new location for the ferries has been found.

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