“We were pleasantly surprised,” borough manager Bud Cassidy said.
Based on assessed values, borough officials set minimum bids totaling $483.000 for the eight residential-zoned lots in the sale. As of the last gavel blow, the borough had made $894,000.
“I don’t think in our wildest dreams did we think we were going to exceed it by that much,” Cassidy said.
While two Chiniak lots went for the minimums set at $40,000 and $50,000 to lone bidders, the other six sparked active bidding. The largest parcel on offer, a five-acre lot in the Raven Hills subdivision assessed at $90,000, drew 59 bids and finally went for $390,000, according to the borough website.
A Russian Creek lot got 31 bids and sold for $99,000, or $39,000 over the minimum.
They put their wallet where the interest is,” Cassidy said of the bidders.
While there were only 26 registered bidders, the sale attracted lots of family members and “window shoppers” who just wanted to witness the first land outcry auction in almost a decade. Acting as auctioneer, borough employee Bill Bissett kept the proceeding going in an appropriately lively Texas drawl.
“It really is a community event,” Cassidy said. “The assembly chambers was virtually packed.”
Bidders had to be at least 18 years old. Almost all of the bidders were local residents.
Winning bidders were required to put 10 percent down. The borough offered financing at 10 percent interest for 10 years. Homes on the lots sold Saturday are outside water service areas and will need on-site septic systems.
Money from the sale goes into a borough land sale fund used to pay for staff work and surveying for future sales.
“The long-term value is these properties are now taxable,” Cassidy said.
Sales like the one held Saturday used to be fairly frequent in the Kodiak Island Borough, he said.
Periodic sales of land are required by borough statute, but all lots offered have to have road access.
“The easy stuff is done,” Cassidy said. “We’re now kind of nipping at the margins of the developed areas.”
Four other lots previously slated for the recent sale were pulled from the docket. Cassidy said the property near Woody Way Field will undergo further review by the planning and zoning commission, parks and recreation, and the assembly before a final decision is made about selling.
“We could shoot for next year; that’s kind of the goal,” he said. “We recognize there’s pent-up demand for land.”
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