On October 31, 2018

CSJ buildings auctioned to low bidders

By Katy Savage

PROCTOR—Two Main Street buildings owned by the College of St Joseph sold to the first and only bidders Friday afternoon.

Fred Watkins, the owner of Watkins Building and Roofing Specialists in North Clarendon, purchased a 30,000 square foot building at 61 Main St. for $16,500 after fees Oct. 27, while Joe Casella, who owns Casella Construction, purchased 39 Main St. for $11,000 after fees.

Casella wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with the building yet.

61 Main St. has a recently upgraded heating system and a new elevator. The sidewalks outside the building are also heated.

Watkins had only visited the buildings the morning of the auction. He wanted to turn his building into affordable senior housing.

The buildings had been listed for sale for 1½ years by Ray Ault of Ault Commercial Realty, Inc. in Rutland.
Ault listed the 61 Main St. building for $460,000 and he listed the 39 Main St. building for $170,000.He said 30 people made offers but none came to fruition. Ault declined to say what the offer prices were.

“I think everyone was shocked at how low the prices were that they went for,” he said.

There were about 40 people in the room for the auction Friday but only six of them were registered to bid, Ault said. Nobody raised their bid numbers as auctioneer Mike Carey of Tranzon Auction Properties rattled off numbers.

Carey asked for a $100,000 bid, which garnered no interest. He then asked for a two-minute break after Casella gave a $5,000 bid and Watkins gave a $10,000 bid—the minimum deposits required to be part of the bid process.

The break turned into a one-hour negotiation period between the parties on Friday. Casella ended bidding $10,000 and Watkins ended up bidding $15,000. The sales prices were more due to fees.

College of St Joseph President Jennifer Scott was pleased with the sale, despite the low prices. “I’m not surprised and neither am I offended,” she said.

Scott became president of the college in May, following questions that the college would close due to financial issues.

“This is what’s best for the community,” she said of the sale.

The buildings have been vacant about six years.

The buildings were once owned by one of the largest company in the world. They were donated to the college by Omya, Inc. about four years ago. The college started renovating the 61 Main Street building to become a physician’s assistant program until construction plans abruptly halted.

The decision by the college to pull out of the project disappointed community members who were excited for the economic boost.

“It’d be nice to have people using it,” said Town Manager Stan Wilbur. “That’s the most important piece—to get something going on to spur other development in Proctor.”

He wanted to see markets, bank kiosks—”all these good things we were envisioning when we thought the college was going to do something,” he said.

Both bid the buildings for far less than real estate value.The 39 Main Street building was listed for $298,000 on the grand list while the 61 Main Street building was listed for $500,000.

Neither sale was final as of Friday. The winning bidders have 30 days to close on the sales.

Photo By Katy Savage
Fred Watkins became the owner of 61 Main Street after placing the winning bid.

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