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UPDATE | Langley's Dog House snapped up at auction

Langley’s historic Dog House Tavern was sold just above the minimum bid of $590,000 in an auction Friday morning on the steps of the Island County courthouse.

There were two bids on the property.

Charlie and Janice Kleiner of Issaquah submitted the winning bid of $590,001, besting by a dollar Chesterfield Mortgage Investors of Seattle, which holds the mortgage on the property.

The 102-year-old building, a First Street icon, has been closed for almost a year as the owners fell behind on mortgage payments and missed an April 12 deadline.

The Kleiners, private investors who live in Issaquah, promised a dozen South End residents and business owners at Friday’s auction that they would work with Langley residents “to come up with something complimentary for the town.”

“We love Langley,” Janice Kleiner said.

She said the couple won’t know exactly what to do with the property until details are worked out and they have contacted members of the community.

“We’ll be talking to all of you,” Charlie Kleiner said.

Kleiner was born and raised in Seattle, and his wife has lived in the Puget Sound area since 1984. They and their children are frequent visitors to Whidbey Island.

“We hope to partner with the community to have a place we can all be proud of,” she said of the Dog House.

The Langley landmark, a fixture in the city since 1908, has been on the market for years. It was owned by the Jacobs family and has an assessed value of about $720,000.

Pete Jacobs, who was the driving spirit behind the Dog House, died in 2006, and the tavern began to go downhill. It closed in spring 2009.

The property has been listed for sale at a recently reduced list price of $779,000. It’s the only building in Langley on the National Register of Historic Places.

Paul Sarkis, owner of Village Pizzeria in downtown Langley, also had been pursuing the property.

He said in January that if he were to acquire it, he would move his pizzeria into the basement, would maintain the floor above as a restaurant and tavern, and would perhaps lease the upper floor as a residence or office.

Sarkis told the Kleiners on Friday that he would be talking with them soon.

Meanwhile, a group of South End residents that has been attempting to form a nonprofit to raise funds to buy the tavern and preserve it, welcomed the opportunity to work with the Kleiners. The group includes more than 1,500 people who have joined a Facebook page dedicated to preserving the Dog House. The effort also has a Web site, langleydoghouse.com, and Twitter and Google accounts.

“We’d love to do anything we can to help,” Aaron Racicot, one of the organizers of the group, told the Kleiners on Friday. “A lot of people are super excited.”

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