True bidding war erupts at auction in Brooklyn

State Supreme Court Building in Brooklyn, where auction was held.

At an estate auction in Brooklyn that raised $7.225 million for New York City, a mixed-use Bay Ridge building went 76 percent over its minimum price of $1.6 million in a heated bidding war on Tuesday.

Not only was the competition for the property marked by the drama of late entrants bidding well into the final rounds, apparent handshake deals among the hopefuls and rare bursts of applause, but the auctioneer for Kings County Public Administrator Bruce Stein mistakenly called out the wrong paddle number when declaring the building sold at $2.82 million.  He then started to re-open bidding.

“You said it was sold!” many who attended the auction shouted as the actual winner strode in consternation from where he was seated in the back row toward the front of the courtroom in State Supreme Court, Brooklyn, where the auction was held.

After conferring with Stein, the auctioneer corrected himself and announced the holder of paddle No. 6 as the buyer.

The winner identified himself to me afterward as Scott Sherman, whose LinkedIn profile shows him to be a senior associate for acquisitions at Thor Equities, described as a “real estate private equity fund focused on value-add[ed] urban retail and mixed use properties in the U.S., Latin America and Europe.”

Scott Sherman (via LinkedIn)

When I spoke with Sherman, I didn’t know about his connection to Thor, so I can’t say whether he was bidding for himself or the company. If for the company, as seems likely, the purchase apparently would be among Thor Equities’ smallest of 18 other properties it owns in Manhattan and Brooklynincluding parcels on Coney Island.

Sherman was vague about plans for the property.

One of the losing bidders, who happened to be sitting in front of me, said the building at 463 E. 86th St. between Fourth and Fifth avenues, has a clothing store on the ground floor and an apartment on the second level.  In fact, there is a women’s apparel store called Flavour that shows up online there.

Regarding the auctioneer’s bad call, Sherman was philosophical.  “He just made a mistake.,” the winner said.  “It was a miscommunication.  I’m very happy.”

Stein echoed the comment, remarking tht “I think it went great.”  But, oddly for a public official, he declined my request to photograph him as he signed purchase contracts.

With proceeds 7 percent higher than the $6.777 million minimum for the 13 properties that made it to the auction block, Stein expressed pleasure with the total collected, despite the absence of bids for three of the properties that were offered for sale and the withdrawal of three others prior to the event.

Although it has been close to a year since the last such auction in the borough, the crowd of close to 150 persons was approximately 25 percent thinner than usual.

Below are the properties originally scheduled to be presented with minimum bids followed by results:

1145 E. 14th St.            $ 465,000/550,000

1347 E. 85th St.               290,000/295,000

15 Pulaski St.                     445,000/withdrawn

1509 E. 94th St.                 320,000/no bid

151 Prospect Ave.              275,000/340,000

163A Halsey St.                  400.000/415,000

2247 E. 8th St.                    450,000/505,000

244 Hawthorne St.             359,000/475,000

28 Paedergat 7th St.          499,000/no bid

3217 Avenue P                   400,000/435,000

439 82nd St.                       725,000/765,000

463 86th St.                     1,600,000/2,282,000

50 Tapscott St.                    399,000/399,000

622 Macon St.                     325,000/withdrawn

64A Jewel St.                      595,000/625,000

688 Madison St.                  435,000/withdrawn

Of those on the auction block, five failed to find buyers the last time around: E. 85th St., 64A Jewel St., 28 Paedergat 7th St., 151 Prospect Ave., and 163A Halsey St. were offered for a second time.

Properties that fail to sell get a second chance and then are marketed by real estate brokers.

Everything at these city estate auctions, which are conducted by public administrators by borough, belonged to individuals who died without a will or heirs with a claim.

Tomorrow: Don’t ask

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201
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