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City block to hit auction block

Premier Auction Group will auction the property at 3660 22nd Ave. S in St. Petersburg on Aug. 20.

JAKE MAY | Times

Premier Auction Group will auction the property at 3660 22nd Ave. S in St. Petersburg on Aug. 20.

ST. PETERSBURG — Although property auctions are gaining popularity in the Tampa Bay area, it's practically unheard of for the equivalent of a city block to be on the market.

Premier Auction Group is hosting the auction of a St. Petersburg property whose size is equivalent to that of a city block on 22nd Avenue S between 36th and 37th streets.

The 2,500-square-foot building on the site was last used as an art gallery, Tribu, with gardens in back. The Times wrote in early 2007 that Kevin Ritter and John Rymer, art wholesalers from Ohio, bought the building in July 2005 and worked on it for two years before opening Tribu.

They said they felt a pull from Childs Park. "Every time we started to leave," Rymer said, "it just didn't feel right."

The property changed hands this past April.

A bidding war can help the seller, said Brett Kennedy of Kennedy Brothers Auction in St. Petersburg.

Selling property through an auction seems a little risky and does have its disadvantages, but it turns out it may be a smart decision, he said. The property in St. Petersburg will be sold in a live reserve auction.

A reserve auction allows sellers to set a price below which they do not want to go.

The reserve price is usually not disclosed to the public. If the highest bid is lower than the reserve, the seller has the option to allow the property to sell at that bid.

Vincent Gepp, the auctioneer for this property, said "reserves are a safety mechanism," the final bids can and do come in below the reserve, but this base price allows the seller the freedom to choose whether to make a sale.

Bill Hofacker of Hofacker and Associates said "there is no rhyme or reason to how much (a property) sells for" in an auction. But live auctions can bring out bidders' competitive side, taking the bids well above the market price or reserve, according to auctioneer Brett Kennedy.

Gepp, the auctioneer for this sale, said there is only so much one can do to market a property.

"It's that piece of property standing on its own merit in front of potential buyers" that ultimately gets results.

The property is classified as a NT4 (neighborhood transitional), which allows the space to be used for such things as a professional office or small cafe.

The property is 200 feet across, between 36th and 37th avenues, and 110 feet deep, which equals half an acre of land.

The auction is set to begin at 11 a.m. Aug. 20, with the option to arrive as early as 9 a.m. to inspect the property at 3660 22nd Ave. S. Gepp said he does not know how many bidders to expect. "You never know until that day."

Hofacker said "auctioning is an art form," but "there is no way of knowing what the outcome is going to be."

Emily Rieman can be reached at (727) 893-8215 or erieman@sptimes.com.

>>at a glance

Seeking bids

When: Auction at 11 a.m.

Aug. 20.

What: Property at 3660 22nd Ave. S, the equivalent of an entire city block measuring 200 feet wide and 110 feet deep.

Information: Go to www.pagre.com or call 785-4300.

City block to hit auction block

08/02/08 [Last modified: Friday, August 8, 2008 8:09pm]
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