Land Auction Unloads City-Owned Tracts
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city unloaded some excess land on Wednesday night as bidders blew through some 50 lots in about 90 minutes.
People packed into the City Council Chambers to try for vacant lots large and small that had been taken by the city over the years for back taxes. Although many had once had houses on them, only a few now fell under the zoning requirements for new construction.
Quite a few parcels went to single bidders at the $500 starting price, more than a few found no takers and a handful sparked some spirited bidding wars.
Michael Nuvallie was battling a woman a few seats away from him for a plot on Galvin Road assessed at $32,600. Egged on by the auctioneer (who frequently urged "you came here to buy this, don't lose it now!") the price hit around $11,000 or $12,000.
That's when Richard Pellerin decided it was time to jump in — and the woman dropped out, shaking her head at the price. Pellerin and Nuvallie went toe-to-toe but Pellerin emerged victorious at $20,000 — one of the highest, if not the highest sale in the auction. Pellerin said his strategy was to bid later "to show I was serious."
Michael Nuvallie, second from left, was bidding against the woman in white for a Galvin Road plot until Richard Pellerin and John Sherman, in the photo at right, jumped in.
"That was the best lot in the auction," said Nuvallie. "That was still a building lot."
It was a building lot Pellerin didn't want anybody building on, he said. The parcel sits between his land and his neighbor, John Sherman, so they decided to partner and split the price and the lot down the middle.
"I don't want anymore neighbors," said Pellerin, as Sherman joked, "I'm close enough." Sherman needed more space to build a garage, to which Pellerin has no objection — there'll still be space between them.
Most of the bidders seemed to be abuttors looking to increase their yards. Jason Griffin and Julia Budway were eyeing a lot on Tremont Street that would significantly expand their property. But they walked away empty handed when someone else with more money in their pockets liked it, too.
The lots not sold will be rolled into the next round of tax takings, probably next year, said city Assessor Ross Vivori on Thursday. Collar City Auctions and Realty Management Inc. of Albany, N.Y., which ran the auction, was expected to have the final numbers of the sale by Tuesday.
"I think everyone who attended and got what they wanted, walked away happy," he said.