Former Southeast Imports Property Sold At Auction

By
Joe Higgins - Athens Messenger Editor

Dateline
Updated Tue, Jun 4, 2013 11:33 am

The former home of Southeast Imports Superstore on Columbus Road has been sold to the highest bidder after an auction Saturday that saw the property split into three pieces and sold at a total of $535,000.

The sale price is reportedly lower than what Athens County recently offered when it was being considered as a new headquarters for the sheriff’s office.

Tom Parfitt (and business partner Brent Hayes) placed the highest bid on the first parcel sold, which included the main business office of the former used car dealership. The bidding started at $100,000, doubled and then hit $225,000 before slowly crawling to $275,000. Parfitt’s next bid was $300,000 and despite a desperate plea from auctioneer Henry Stanley III for more bids, the price would go no higher and was sold to Parfitt.

The next two parcels included the lot of the property that contains two large buildings. That section went for $200,000 to the only bidder, Buyer #6. The same buyer purchased the last lot, a small paved lot, for $35,000. According to auctioneers at the site, Buyer #6 was a person who represented Citizens Bank in Logan. However when contacted Monday, Spokeswoman Leslie Gray said the bank would not comment on its involvement in the auction and would neither confirm nor deny its purchase of the two parcels.

Nearly 40 bidders showed up for the auction, which included numerous other auctions of vacant lots and rental properties as well as the miscellaneous property inside the former Southeast Imports business office.

After the auction, Parfitt said he thought the second parcel that went for $200,000 was too high a price and that the third parcel was “too small for us to do anything with.”

Parfitt said he did not yet know what would become of the lot he and Hayes did purchase.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do with it yet. I’m not sure,” he said. “Columbus Road is getting the new blacktop and everything ... We’ve got several guys that want to move some businesses. Brent and I are called all the time for different things. We’ll find somebody for it.”

Prior to the auction, The Messenger reported that the county offered Jerry Cunningham and Charles Hupp, the now former owners of the property, a sum to purchase the buildings and land with the idea that it could possibly be turned into a new headquarters for the Athens County Sheriff’s Office. The deal fell through, however, when Cunningham said, “The bid they gave us wasn’t even a bid to consider,” and, “It was a real low bid — not even close to what we were looking for.”

Although the terms of the offer were never made public, Commissioner Lenny Eliason told The Messenger Monday that the county’s offer to Cunningham was “more than the sale price.”

When asked for comment after the sale, Cunningham declined to do so.

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