It took just 7 minutes for the historic Casa Rodriguez property at 52 St. George St. in St. Augustine to be auctioned the morning of Feb. 20.
The 3,857-square-foot, three-story building that dates back to the 1700s sold for $2.31 million.
The winning bid was $2.1 million plus a 10% buyer’s premium. The premium is split between the seller and Great Expectations Realty, which held the auction.
The winning bid was placed by Rich Hogan, who was serving a proxy for his employer, Don Wenner, CEO of DLP Real Estate Capital. Wenner was out of town and phoned in his instructions.
DLP Real Estate Capital is a real estate, construction, financial and lending company headquartered in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and St. Augustine with offices in Daytona Beach; Poconos, Pennsylvania; Parsippany, New Jersey; and Asheville, North Carolina.
Hogan had the power of attorney to sign transaction papers and pay the 10% down payment that was due immediately after the auction.
The transaction will close within 30 days of the auction, said Jena Baker-Dennis, owner of Great Expectations Realty.
The jewelry store that occupies the first floor will be vacant before the closing date.
Hogan does not know Wenner’s plans for the property. Wenner is a St. Augustine resident.
“I didn’t know how high he was going to go. We didn’t discuss it,” Hogan said.
St. Johns County appraises the property at $444,776 and its annual taxes and assessments are $9,528.
The auction was held at the property, which is on the Department of Interior’s National Register of Historical Places.
Baker-Dennis stood on stairs in a second-floor living space and conducted the auction for the 10 bidders and the dozen or so spectators. Bidders placed a $100,000 refundable escrow deposit to qualify.
The property was sold at “absolute” auction rather than at a “reserve” auction. An absolute auction sets no minimum bid. In contrast, a reserve auction sets a minimum price for the property.
Baker-Dennis explained the process to the group. She spoke slowly and explained to bidders that they could ask questions during the bidding.
The 10 participants were issued numbered paddles used to recognize bids.
The bidding began at $1 million and grew in $100,000 increments, stalling at $1.9 million before jumping to $2.05 million.
Scott McAlister, a general contractor from Jacksonville, opened the bidding at $1 million.
While he had attended foreclosure auctions in the past, this was the first time he bid at an absolute auction. The paddle stayed in his lap after he bid $1.7 million.
“I had my number where I wanted to stick. I’m glad that the seller got more. It’s a great property,” he said.
“I didn’t expect this many bidders. But this is such a unique street. I think people were bidding on passion as well as value.”
Spectators are common at realty auctions, Baker-Dennis said. Some owned neighboring properties and wanted to know the selling price. Others were passersby curious to see how an auction worked.
“We don’t have any future auctions scheduled at the moment, but we had two potential sellers here today,” she said.