Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Friday, March 8 @ 4:07 p.m. / Local Government, Ocean

Crescent City Harbor Finalizes Settlement Agreement With Fashion Blacksmith; Long-Time Tenant To Vacate Premises in June

After more than four decades, Fashion Blacksmith will leave its home at the Crescent City Harbor in exchange for a payout from the harbor of $2.6 million, plus 5 percent interest. | File photo: Jessica C. Andrews


Crescent City Harbor Seeks To Spread Out Fashion Blacksmith Payment

Harbor District Owes Fashion Blacksmith $1.298 Million in Damages, Must Resume Dredging Near Business By October


The Crescent City Harbor District and Fashion Blacksmith have reached a settlement agreement that has the port paying its tenant $2.6 million plus interest over 10 years.

In exchange, Fashion Blacksmith, which has operated a shipyard at the port for more than four decades, will vacate the premises by June 30, the Harbor District announced in a Wednesday press release.

The $2.6 million payment, plus 5 percent interest, seeks to compensate Fashion Blacksmith for its projected profits had the business served out the remainder of its 12-year lease, according to the Harbor District.

According to Assistant Harbormaster Mike Rademaker, negotiations between both parties concluded during a closed session meeting on Wednesday. The Harbor District Board of Commissioners approved the settlement agreement with a 4-0-1 vote with Commissioner Brian Stone abstaining, Rademaker told the Outpost on Friday.

In a Nov. 29, 2023 interview with the Outpost, Harbormaster Tim Petrick, who had been negotiating with Fashion Blacksmith CEO Ted Long and his attorneys, said the outcome of those negotiations would be a “full take of the business.” The negotiations was to determine what the business is worth for the next 12 years of Long’s lease with the Harbor District.

The settlement agreement comes after a state arbitration panel in June 2023 ordered the Harbor District to pay Fashion Blacksmith $1.298 million in damages and to dredge to a depth of 18 feet under the business’s Synchrolift by the end of October.

In August, the Harbor District Board passed a resolution to make that payment in equal installments over a period of 10 years. According to its resolution, the total judgment was expected to exceed $1.8 million.

On Wednesday, the Harbor District stated they felt the settlement was a fair resolution for both parties.

“Fashion Blacksmith, along with the Long family, has been a valued tenant of CCHD for over 40 years,” the Harbor District stated. “The District extends its best wishes for their future endeavors as they depart the premises.”

Fashion Blacksmith owner Ted Long could not be reached for comment on Friday.

In a complaint filed in Del Norte County Superior Court on Feb. 9, 2022, Long accused the Harbor District of breach of contract because it did not maintain a depth of 18 feet below its Synchrolift — a wooden platform that lifts boats onto land for maintenance work. Fashion Blacksmith also stated the Harbor District failed to maintain its facility.

The dredging stipulation had been included in a 1996 lease amendment for Fashion Blacksmith, according to the arbitrators’ final decision issued June 5, 2023.

Arbitrators found that Fashion Blacksmith lost about $3.3 million in revenue because he couldn’t use the Synchrolift. Roughly $1.3 million of that is an estimate of the profits the business lost in 2021, 2022 and 2023.

Long testified that if the dredging wasn’t completed in 2023, he would have to close his business and would lose $3.5 million in future profits.

In June 2023, Petrick told the Outpost that regulations were more relaxed in 1996 and dredging wasn’t really an issue.

In its press release Wednesday, the Harbor District states that it has plans to modernize the boatyard to “serve the needs of all boaters and vessel owners.”

In November, Petrick said Fashion Blacksmith’s current home will continue to be a boatyard. He estimated that it would take about $8 million to bring the facility “up to current standards and improve all of the equipment to the point where we can bring in another operator.”

Grants for boatyards are available, Petrick told the Outpost. The Harbor District would keep the Synchrolift for extreme emergencies, he said, such as trying to keep a boat from sinking.


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