Former town offices going to ‘100% buyer-beware auction’

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From left, Granville Town Board members Jim Bradt and Tom Cosey, supervisor Matt Hicks, board members Matt Rathbun and Ken Quick at the Sept. 8 board meeting.

Following a long executive session with attorney Mike Catalfamo, the Granville Town Board announced it would sell the former town office building at 42 Main Street via online auction.

The board declared it would place the building for sale via an online auction through Auctions International and hopes to sell the former offices by the Nov. 10 board meeting.

Catalfamo’s advice to the board was to conduct the online auction at the same time as the Washington County Tax Foreclosure Sale at the end of October with the goal of “maximizing exposure of the property to interested bidders.”

The exact date has not been announced yet.

“You want them to get so caught up in the excitement of these RealProperty sales that they open up their pocketbooks and spend more than maybe what would be prudent to spend,” Catafamo said with a smile.

One of the main points of conversation amongst the five board members, Jim Bradt, Tom Cosey, supervisor Matt Hicks, Matt Rathbun and Ken Quick, was whether the board would announce an opening bid amount for the property.

Cosey was in favor of the move while Bradt, Quick and Rathbun declined, citing it would hurt the chances of the town to reel in more profit from the sale.

The Town of Granville’s former office building at 42 Main St.

“If we don’t, what we’re setting ourselves up for is a ridiculously low bid that we’re probably going to turn down,” Cosey said. “Bargain hunters are going to buy this, that’s the type of person that is going to buy it. So, I’m just thinking maybe we should have a semi-realistic starting point.”

“The thing is if you do set an opening bid, they may not even look at it,” Bradt said.

Catalfamo also explained that the board has the right to reject any and all bids for any or no reason at all.

In his rundown, Catalfamo told the public in attendance that pros and cons to allowing potential bidders to be able to walk through the building were discussed in executive session, but a decision on the matter was not made.

“Short of those variables, the terms on which the property will be sold are essentially ‘as is’, ‘where is’, ‘with all faults’ and ‘with no warranties, promises, assurances, representations as the condition or fitness of any kind or nature, whatsoever’,” Catalfamo said. “This is 100% a buyer- beware auction.”

According to Catalfamo, Auctions International’s website will include information on how to register to bid, the mechanics of the bidding and auction process and timeline of needed payments.

The action is subject to permissive referendum, which means the public has 30 days to file a petition to challenge the sale following the resolution to finalize the sale after the auction concludes.

A key note Catalfamo made was to ensure the deed of the sale is recorded into the potential buyer’s name onto the tax roll.

“The county or the selling taxing authority actually records the deed for them (Auctions International). That’s a little bit unusual, it doesn’t work that way in a private purchasing sales transaction. In a private transaction, the buyer gets the deed and it’s their responsibility to take it to the county clerk’s office and record it,” Catalfamo said.

“The reason we don’t do it that way in this situation is we want to make sure that the deed gets recorded and we want to have control of the recording deed. The reason we want to do that is because we want the property out of the town’s name and into the name of the new purchaser so that it goes on the tax rolls and becomes taxable.”