By JOHN T. WARD
The auction of the former home of the Liberty Hose Company, vacated late last year over needed upgrades that the borough says it cannot afford, was over in five minutes, as no voice bids or sealed bids were made.
The oening bid had been set at $475,000. The property is assessed at $782,400, though no taxes are currently collected because it’s owned by the town.
Six members of the public, plus Councilwoman Cindy Burnham, sat silently in the council chambers as attorney Sean Byrnes conducted the event.
“Seeing none, the auction is closed at this time,” Byrnes said, after asking one more time for bids.
The question of what to do with the building now goes back to the borough council, which could set a new minimum, proceed to a direct sale or take another option, said Administrator Stanley Sickels.
Afterward, a prospective bidder told Sickels he had a certified check for $400,000 in his pocket, and had hoped that the auctioneer would drop the the minimum if no immediate bids came in. Sickels said he was not authorized to do so.
The Liberty Hose company moved in November to the home of the Red Bank First Aid Squad, on Spring Street after the borough shuttered its 103-year-old building, located between the Bow Tie Cinemas movie theater and the south gate of a vacant lot that site approved in 2008 for 27 condos that haven’t been built.