Property auction gets only 3 bidders

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The Richmond County school board could face a $1 million shortfall in its current budget after an attempt to auction off surplus properties received only three bids.

This summer, the board gambled that it would be able to generate at least $1.5 million by selling seven properties to balance this year's budget.

But when bidding closed Wednesday afternoon, only three bids had been submitted. Two of those were below the appraised values of the properties, which had been set as the minimum bid amount.

It will be recommended to the school board that Augusta Capital LLC be allowed to purchase the Martha Lester School. Augusta Capital bid $241,000 for the vacant 1688 Broad Street property, which backs up to the Augusta Canal. The appraised value of the school is $235,000.

"As you know, Augusta Capital has been instrumental in the rehabilitation of several historic buildings in Augusta, including two historic schools," Anne Catherine Murray, of Augusta Capital, wrote in an e-mail. "In addition, we have a strong interest in the revitalization of Harrisburg. With that in mind, saving Martha Lester School seems like an excellent opportunity."

She would not discuss plans for the property, but said if the bid goes through the school will be saved. Clay Boardman is the CEO of Augusta Capital.

New Hope Church of God also bid on Martha Lester, but only offered $23,500.

The only other bid was by Augusta Wood Preserving Inc. for the old Hornsby Elementary School, which is next door at 415 Laney-Walker Boulevard. The company offered $200,000 to purchase the site, which is valued at $300,000.

Last week, the school board pulled the Floyd Graham School from its list of surplus properties, choosing instead to sell the school to the city of Hephzibah for $235,000, plus an additional $30,000, which the board would have had to spend to remove gas tanks on the property.

"I thought all along we would never get the prices we wanted," said Frank Dolan, chairman of the school board's finance committee. "Times are tough."

When asked what the board would do now, Mr. Dolan responded: "Cut, cut, cut."

The school board is expected to take action on the bids when it meets in February.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (17) Add comment
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NEone
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NEone 01/29/09 - 03:33 am
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Not many properties are

Not many properties are selling at what they are worth these days. The school board should cut their losses and accept any offer w/in a reasonable percentage of the appraised value.

icanusethat
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icanusethat 01/29/09 - 06:50 am
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nobody is spending money like

nobody is spending money like that anymore.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 01/29/09 - 08:38 am
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Take the offers and be

Take the offers and be thankful.

lifelongresidient
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lifelongresidient 01/29/09 - 09:02 am
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shows the wisdom, foresight

shows the wisdom, foresight and knowledge of the school board, "don't sell the vacant properties 3-4 years ago when it was a better chance to get the asking price if not more, wait until a recession hits then try to sell the vacant properties"...makes about as much sense as building football stadiums and b-ball gyms for 3 of the worse high schools in the county as opposed to using the money to purchase a sufficient number of text books for all of the students

disssman
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disssman 01/29/09 - 10:18 am
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It appears I was right about

It appears I was right about the board advertising only in Augusta. They should have placed the properties for sale at a price of appraisal + 25% with a national real estate company and forget the bid process, it appears that is what they are using the appraisal value anyway. It just amazes me that a sealed bid 2-3 % above the appraised value wins the pot.

truthteller1
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truthteller1 01/29/09 - 10:38 am
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Check my previous post on

Check my previous post on this subject I predicted that "none of the properties would sell at auction" besides deep pockets Boardmen my prediction held true.

SargentMidTown
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SargentMidTown 01/29/09 - 10:57 am
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What wonderful news. Clay

What wonderful news. Clay Board man is Augustas most elite gentrifier. This should signal others to buy into Harrisburg gentrification. www.hongkongaugustaga.org
The diamonds in the rough are in Historic Harrisburg

sprintman
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sprintman 01/29/09 - 11:31 am
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I think sell them and be

I think sell them and be grateful. That people even are intrested in these old buildings.

SargentMidTown
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SargentMidTown 01/29/09 - 11:33 am
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The land that boarders the

The land that boarders the canal bank behind Martha Lister is a prime location for upscale condos overlookihng the Augusta canal.

sprintman
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sprintman 01/29/09 - 11:43 am
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condos/lofts/townhomes would

condos/lofts/townhomes would be great. Broad street has build more residential areas in the last few years. And is continuing to build them downtown. Its time to move the new residential going up to other places off broad.

SargentMidTown
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SargentMidTown 01/29/09 - 11:47 am
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Check out these Boardman

Check out these Boardman gentififed properties: http://www.augustacapital.net/

SargentMidTown
8
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SargentMidTown 01/29/09 - 11:59 am
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If all of the side walks were

If all of the side walks were removed in Harrisburg and about half of the structures were razzed it would have international charm. From ghetto to gentrified mill village. Just ad upwardly mobile residents.

sprintman
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sprintman 01/29/09 - 12:11 pm
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Harrisburg is still nice in

Harrisburg is still nice in most parts. Its just the side going towards the kroger that has gone down. The other side facing the hill still has nice lawns outside etc. I think olde town should be gentrified first. Since that area is further along than harrisburg in that regard. Has more younger professionals and affluent population than harrisburg at the moment. But Harrisburg should be next. The laney walker area with the new single faily homes/ james brown towhome community/judicial center, and library should take care of itself.

elliottness
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elliottness 01/29/09 - 12:47 pm
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yeah i'll take a condo

yeah i'll take a condo overlooking the canal.what could be more priceless than seeing the what a burger,the boys club,and the ridiculous looking christmas tree on the roof of that mill.let me know when they;re leasing,seriously!

SargentMidTown
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SargentMidTown 01/29/09 - 12:57 pm
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elliottness That is only a

elliottness That is only a small part of the view. Are you aware that the boys club and what a burger will be gone when the Kroc center is built?

sprintman
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sprintman 01/29/09 - 02:04 pm
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The kroc center will

The kroc center will definitely help out harrisburg.

mable8
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mable8 01/31/09 - 01:55 am
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Be glad you received any

Be glad you received any offers at all; take the bids and be done with it. Properties are often overpriced anyway.

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