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First-ever Online City Auction Puts 26 Surplus Properties Back Into Private Hands 

It was a successful experiment.

The City's first-ever online auction of 26 surplus tax-sale properties netted more than $280,000.

Even more importantly, the auction provided potential private owners a convenient opportunity to see photos of and get details about available properties. That easy access to information is leading to new investment in neighborhoods and may help put more blighted or vacant tracts back into productive reuse.

Bids ranged from, on the low end, $1,200 for empty lots on Bernhurst Drive and on Bertie Rand Street to five properties that are being sold for more than $20,000 each.

Four of those five highest bids were placed on properties in Fountain City - in the 100 block of Tillery Lane ($32,600), the 200 block of Tillery Lane ($25,000), the 400 block of Forestal Drive ($23,000) and the 500 block of Midlake Drive ($20,000). The fifth bid was on a property in the 3800 block of Wayne Drive in East Knoxville ($22,300).

One of the 26 surplus properties being sold through the City's first online auction.

"It's not unusual for the City to try to get surplus property back into the hands of private owners," said Chip Barry, the City's Deputy Chief of Operations. "But we've never used an online auction before, rather than a live auction at a government building. This reached a wider audience of interested bidders."

That's good for the neighborhoods, because by reaching more potential buyers, it's increasing the likelihood that a motivated owner will see the opportunity and decide to invest in the property.

Powell Auction & Realty managed the auction on its website from Dec. 18 through Jan. 12, and the properties varied. Most are vacant lots or involved condemned structures. Some tracts are hilly; others are flat. A few are wooded or covered by kudzu. Others are grassy and neatly flanked by neighbors’ trees, fences and back yards.

They were all acquired by the City after the tracts had accrued overdue taxes and there was no buyer at the tax sale.

City Council on Tuesday authorized Mayor Madeline Rogero to execute documents to complete the sale of the 26 surplus properties, and the sales are expected to close within two months. The highest bidders were required to make a non-refundable deposit to complete the purchase after approval by Council.

The person submitting the high bid also paid a commission directly to Powell Auction for their services. So the auction was completed at no cost to the City.

Interested in future auctions of surplus property? Check www.knoxvilletn.gov in coming weeks. Another round of surplus tax-sale properties will be listed for auction this spring, and details will be published through the City's social media and on the City's media release webpage (click on the "news" tab on the homepage).

Posted by evreeland On 14 February, 2018 at 4:54 PM