Event draws observers, bidders out for bargain

Kendrick Brinson/Staff
Jerry Campbell points out a bid at the auction for condominiums at the Landing at River Club in North Augusta. Nine condominiums were up for auction at the North Augusta Community Center.

NORTH AUGUSTA --- Evans resident Timothy Heard did the beckoning of the auctioneer Wednesday, and got his piece of the North Augusta riverfront.


Mr. Heard, the father of two young children, bought a two-bedroom, two-bath condo with views of the Savannah River and The River Golf Club at auction for $110,000, including the $10,000 auction house premium. He said he bought the property as an investment.

"It's 1,132 square feet, that's less than $1,000 per square-foot; and the location, I think it's a great deal," he said. "I'm going to call the wife and tell her the good news. I'm glad to get one."

Nine of the 25 condos along the river, a likely casualty of a slowing housing market, went up for auction at the North Augusta Community Center.

Terry Howe and Associates held the auction for Grampian Hills Development LLC, the owner of The Landing at River Club condos.

More than 130 people filled a room in the community center.

Some came to buy, most seemed inclined to watch the action.

Six of the 25 units sold within the first 40 minutes of the auction. Prices ranged from $100,000 to $185,000.

It was the second time units in the development had been up for auction.

All 48 condos in The Landing originally sold in a pre-construction auction in 2006, according to reports in The Augusta Chronicle . But many buyers exercised a clause in their contract and pulled out before the community was completed, city leaders said.

One and two-bedroom condos that were previously listed before Wednesday's auction for between $119,000 and $149,000 opened for bids at $95,000.

Three-bedroom units that had listed in the low-to-mid 200s opened at $142,500, and condos once priced in the high 200s and low 300s opened at $175,000.

North Augusta City Councilman Jason Whinghter was a curious observer to the proceedings. A real estate agent, Mr. Whinghter said he was hopeful the developer could recoup his investment and that a vacant community would soon be occupied.

The townhomes, many of which nestle against the 13th Street Bridge, conform to the buffering required of the zoning in the area, Mr. Whinghter said. He said the property had been zoned for a hotel, but a market study didn't support the facility.

"(The development) made sense economically in a lot of ways, but it's unfortunate it came to this point," he said.

Reach J. Scott Trubey at (706) 823-3424 or scott.trubey@augustachronicle.com.