Beaufort auction of historic premium properties falls short of expectations

gmartin@islandpacket.comMarch 19, 2012 

Four days after his family put much of their valuable local property up for sale at auction, John Trask III is still coming to terms with the disappointing results.

"There's not a lot we would have done differently," said Trask, a third-generation Beaufortonian.

Organizers of Thursday's auction promoted it as an opportunity to purchase elite properties in an unconventionally immediate manner. But only three properties in the "absolute auction" were sold, according to Trask. Remaining property, for which minimum bids were required, did not sell.

Among the properties that did not move were Cane Island, which is a 220-acre private development south of downtown Beaufort, and a four-bedroom historic mansion on Bay Street.

Another key property, a block of commercial land near Bay Street, was pulled from the auction by its sellers before it began.

A few parcels near the Lowe's Home Improvement Store on S.C. 170 were the only properties sold, Trask said. Even those failed to command the prices he'd hoped for, he said.

William Bone, president of an Alabama-based company conducting the auction, declined to characterize the auction as a failure and said his office has fielded many calls from prospective buyers since the auction's close.

"There were about 35 bidders there from nine states," Bone said. "It was a good response, and we're still working on closing some of the sales."

Trask didn't blame the auction company for his disappointment and confirmed that negotiations for several properties continue.

"The bottom line is, it wasn't as well attended by serious bidders as we had hoped," he said. "It just shows that the commercial real estate market still has a long way to go."

Follow reporter Grant Martin at Twitter.com/LowCoBiz.

Going once, going twice: Historic Beaufort properties to be sold at auction, Feb. 13, 2012

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