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Trillium property near Freeland bought by banks

The former Trillium Woods, the 750-acre property north of Freeland that was once the site of a controversial housing development, changed hands at a public trustees auction in Coupeville today.

Shoreline Bank, holder of two notes in default from the previous owner of the property, submitted the only bid, the minimum of $3,477,344.

The bank bid on the property in conjunction with two other banks, North County Bank of Arlington and Coastal Community Bank of Everett.

About 10 people attended the auction on the steps of the county Administration Building. The sale was conducted by Everett attorney Thomas D. Adams.

The property, known most recently as Estates at Whidbey, is west of Highway 525 about a mile north of Mutiny Bay Road. It was being developed by Dogwood Whidbey Development, created by Jesse Molnick and managed by The Molnick Group, his development, investment and brokerage firm based in Arlington.

Adams said Molnick was in default on two loans, one for about $3.3 million, the other about $1.6 million, both from Shoreline Bank.

Molnick had proposed construction of planned residential developments (PRDs) to include clustered housing on three 50-acre parcels of 10 building lots each, a 12-lot PRD on about 60 acres, and a 5-lot PRD on about 24 acres.

Some of the PRD permits were obtained by Molnick from the county, but never recorded, Adams said, so the property couldn't be auctioned off in sections.

The property has a rich history, starting in 1988 when Trillium Corporation bought it and began clear-cutting timber in preparation for a housing development that was opposed by many on the South End.

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