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Ex-Housing Development Fund building gets no auction bids

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- An auction of the former West Virginia Housing Development Fund building at 814 Virginia St. E. in Charleston was suspended when no one bid Thursday morning.

Bidding for the 31,000-square-foot building started at $445,000.

"We're certainly disappointed it didn't sell today," said Erica Boggess, acting executive director of the Housing Development Fund. "It's certainly not helping us to have an empty building, and I don't think it helps the downtown."

The four-story building, equipped with office furniture, was appraised at $1.1 million by Darrell Rolston of Rolston & Company in Charleston.

Jay Goldman, of Goldman Associates, is facilitating the auction and said his company would contact all those who previously expressed interest in the building. Anyone interested in registering to bid still may do so. Another auction might be scheduled, Goldman said.

"I don't think you worry about it [the building not selling at the auction]," said Goldman, a former Charleston mayor. "You have to recognize the economy is fragile."

The Housing Fund continues to pay insurance on the building, as well as utility fees. Boggess said she hopes to see a deal made by the end of the month or, at least, September.

"We're just not in the business of maintaining property," she said. "We don't want to deal with it anymore. It's not our long-term business plan to be dealing with an extra piece of real estate."

Goldman said he remains optimistic about the property's future. He said he wonders if some of the people he gave building tours to but who didn't show up for the auction now wish they would have attended.

"I think the minimum bid is a giveaway," he said. "I don't know of any building of this quality in downtown Charleston that has all the furniture in move-in condition that you could get for $15 per square foot."

Reach Caitlin Cook at caitlin.cook@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.


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