Several Beaufort properties of commercial and historic significance, including a private island and a Bay Street mansion, will be sold at auction next month.
The properties are almost all part of the Trask family estate and will be sold through National Auction Group Inc. on March 15 at the Best Western Sea Island Inn on Bay Street.
John Trask III, a family member involved in the sale, said his family had considered selling some of their property through more conventional methods, but an auction would be an effective and immediate means of sale in a challenging real estate climate.
"In today's market, you have to look at all options," Trask said. "Auctions have proven to bring the highest price in both an up and a down market."
Cane Island, a 220-acre private development south of downtown Beaufort, is among the properties to be sold. The island has more than a half-mile of deep-water frontage and access to the town's sewer and water utilities.
Also up for bidding is Port Republic Square, one block off Bay Street and the harbor in the town's business district. The commercial block includes a BB&T Bank, Nippy's Fish Restaurant and a building that once was home to a Piggly Wiggly grocery store.
A 95-acre expanse surrounding the Lowe's Home Improvement store on S.C. 170 will be offered in 11 tracts, and is zoned for both residential and commercial use.
A four-bedroom mansion on Bay Street, which Trask said his grandparents purchased in the 1930s, will also be available. Trask said the home includes gardens designed by Robert Marvin, a notable local landscape architect who also worked on the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.
Some of the properties will be sold by Alabama-based NAG in an absolute auction -- awarded to the highest bidder on March 15. However, most will require a minimum bid, Trask said.
"That's so this auction won't hurt the market, and command a price that we think is fair," Trask said.
It's unusual for properties so diverse and valuable to be sold at once, according to NAG president William Bone.
"This is very, very rare," he said. "We're talking about substantial commercial and residential properties that will be sold in a manner that's quick, simple and easy."
Bone added his company is advertising the auction both regionally and nationally, and has already fielded calls from prospective buyers from around the country.
"This could be a real opportunity for a perceptive buyer," he said. "It ought to be quite an interesting day."
Follow reporter Grant Martin at Twitter.com/LowCoBiz.