I’d like to add some facts and another perspective to (The Times-Gazette) article about the recent sale of the Fettro property uptown.
At the auction, the city stated that they had about $25,000 already in the Fettro property up for sale. The bidding started at that price. I bid against the city up until they bid $28,000 then I bowed out. The city effectively paid $53,000 for the lot, which, by any measure, is far more than it was worth.
In an auction where a private party bids more than what the city has already expended on it (the price of demo and cleanup), it would make sense that the city would let the other bidder have it since the city has now been made whole. But the city was quoted as saying, “they hoped to use it for economic development.”
For the city to pay $53,000 for a lot that it has no specific plan for and when the city is facing losses and uncertainty from the current virus climate, made no sense. Granted, I had a vested interest in this auction because I was interested in acquiring the lot to use in conjunction with the opera house, which I own.
I would argue that the private sector would have a better track record at economic development than the city, who is starting with two strikes against it by having overpaid for the property, and still has to acquire the adjoining property which the owner will certainly drive the price up having seen what the city paid.
In essence, they made a big mistake.