By Jesse Wood
April 2, 2014. The Watauga County Board of Commissioners received what it considered a lowball offer on a piece of property that the county owns located at 347 Oak Street in Boone. It was recently advertised for sale at GovDeals.com.
The final bid, which was rejected, was for $150,000.
The property was formerly owned by New River Behavioral HealthCare before its well-documented demise nearly three years ago, and in October 2011, the Watauga County Board of Commissioners agreed to finance New River’s payroll and other obligations by loaning the entity half of the property tax value of the Oak Street property and another parcel in Boone with a future advanced deed of trust.
The county eventually foreclosed on the property, and now it is trying to sell the property and recoup funds.
At its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, the Watauga County Board of Commissioners made it clear that it wasn’t going to sell the property for that amount. The GovDeals.com final bid wasn’t binding, so the county rejected the bid and put the property back up for sale on the auction website – this time with a minimum bid of $210,000.
Finance Director Margaret Pierce noted to commissioners at the meeting that the land value of the R-3 zoned land was about $201,000 and the building was valued at $169,000. Commissioner Billy Kennedy indicated he wouldn’t support selling the property for less than the value of the land, and Chair Nathan Miller agreed, mentioning that the value of the property was mostly in the land.
County Manager Deron Geouque told the commissioners that the GovDeals.com process includes a 7.5-percent commission to the auction house once a transaction occurs from a GovDeals.com auction.
The individual that posted the final bid was present at the meeting. That individual mentioned that his brother was planning to attend school at Appalachian State University and this might be a good time to jump into the local real estate market.
The bidder voiced concern when the commissioners mentioned that having the local fire department blaze the building and the local maintenance crew clean up the remains was a possibility because, as Miller said, the land was worth more than the building.
When the commissioners told the bidder that the property wasn’t going to be sold for $150,000 amount wasn’t going to fly, Miller attempted to negotiate and try to begin the upset bid process that was used in the attempted sale of the old Watauga High School. The young man, however, said he wasn’t going to bid against himself but remained interested in the property.
County Manager Deron Geouque offered that staff would take him to see the building in person, and the young man agreed. Commissioners also directed staff to place the property on the website at a higher amount – the aforementioned $210,000 amount.
The 2,394-square-foot building is on .324 acres of land and has one full bath and two half baths.
The current GovDeals.com auction ends on April 28, 2014. Check out the auction page here.