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City RDA to auction three properties next week

Times Observer photo by Josh Cotton This property at 103 Sixth Ave. is one of three owned by the city’s Redevelopment Authority that will be going up for auction next week.

The City of Warren is holding a public property auction later this month for three properties that the city took title to for delinquent sewer bills.

It’s a shift in approach — for years the city has handled the sale of property by sealed bid.

The three properties are located at 111 Pioneer St., 103 Sixth Ave. and 28 Hemlock St.

Department of Public Works Director Mike Holtz said an open house for each of the three properties is set for this Sunday at 5 p.m.

The auction will then kick off next Thursday at 6 p.m.

He explained that the auctioneers will start at 6 p.m. with the auction at Pioneer St. and then move to Sixth Ave. and Hemlock where the process will be repeated. He said it’ll take about 15 minutes to complete the auction at each site.

The city took title to each of the properties due to delinquent sewer bills. The properties were then transferred to the RDA, which city staff has indicated can more freely dispose of the properties than the city can.

“The RDA acquired these homes through some sales,” Holtz said. “(We are) hoping someone is able to bid on them, acquire (them) and put them back on the tax rolls” and “do some good, make them some viable properties again.”

This is the city’s first venture into auctions. The upfront cost is actually lower than the sealed bid process.

One difference is that there are no reserve prices — essentially a minimum bid price — for the auction. The city can also typically reject bids in a sealed bid process and that won’t be possible in this new format.

The auction will be put on by Chelsey Auctioneers out of North East.

“We certainly hope at the end of this process, the properties are in someone else’s hands,” he said, noting that websites set up for the properties have received “lots of hits.”

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