The City Council has accepted an offer from the owners of the popular Cedar Creek Inn in Laguna Beach to buy the historic downtown train depot for $875,000.
Under the deal, the transaction would not be final for three weeks. A member of the Ayres family, which owns and operates the restaurant, said Wednesday that nothing should scotch the sale. The offer was approved late Tuesday night by the council in a closed session.
"We feel real honored to have been chosen for the site," said Susan Ayres Keedy, manager and owner of the Laguna Beach Cedar Creek Inn. "It has a lot of charm."
Keedy said the family recently sold its Palm Springs restaurant and wants to focus on Orange County.
The City Council voted 4 to 0 to accept an offer of $875,000 in cash. Councilman Gil Jones abstained because he owns a business near to the depot, which he said created a conflict of interest for him.
The city bought the 100-year-old train depot in 1987 for $1.1 million. It has been vacant since January, when a restaurant there shut down.
The city listed the property for sale earlier this year at $1 million.
A second offer on the property was not accepted.
Mayor Carolyn Nash said that bid was "similar" to Cedar Creek Inn's offer and would be considered if the pending deal falls through.
Council members said Wednesday that they based their decision on Cedar Creek Inn's experience, ties to Orange County and the fact that the restaurants are family-owned and operated.
"They have a good proven track record," Nash said. "They're very excited to be coming here. I think they are as committed to doing this as we are."
Keedy said her parents opened the first Cedar Creek Inn in 1976 at Lake Arrowhead. They sold it after opening one in Palm Desert in 1980.
In 1985, the family opened a Cedar Creek Inn in Palm Springs, then the one in 1989 in Laguna Beach, which occupies a historic building.