A real estate deal arranged last year by the Tamaqua Area Community Partnership resulted in an $86,000 transaction loss, owing to fluctuations in the real estate market, say those involved.
The deal involved the former Wenzel Bakery building, 123-127 E. Broad Street, plus two additional properties, including a parking lot fronting on Mauch Chunk Street. One of the Broad Street parcels includes the building familiar to locals as the longtime location of Wenzel's Bakery. The buildings and adjoining parcel were owned by George Wenzel and Suzanne Krell and were being marketed for $225,000.
The TACP, however, purchased the property for less.
"The property was appraised in 2008 by a certified appraiser as is required whenever a nonprofit uses state funding to acquire property," said Micah Gursky, TACP treasurer. "The property appraised at $196,000 .... we negotiated a sales agreement for $196,000 for the three parcels, which took several months." The sales agreement allowed Wenzel to live in the property until July 2009.
After that, the TACP decided to market the property.
"We wanted a quality, private developer, so we advertised for proposals which asked for not just a purchase price but an investment and development proposal as well," said Gursky.
The timing of the sale coincided with the recent instability in the real estate market.
As the property was being marketed, real estate prices were taking a hit locally and across the country.
The property generated local interest and was eventually purchased by TKT Miller Partners, owners of several adjacent properties and other parcels in the community. TKT Miller Partners, owners of M & S Hardware, acquired the Wenzel property on Sept. 17, 2009, for $110,000, the high bid. Another interested party had offered $100,000, said Gursky.
Gursky said an easement guaranteeing that the property not be demolished was part of the deal.
"A perpetual historic preservation easement was placed on the deed, which, no doubt also lowered the resale price. Also between 2008 and 2009 property values dropped significantly in Tamaqua," said Gursky.
The purchase of the Wenzel property by TKT Miller Partners continues a long list of acquisitions, expansions and development in the Tamaqua area by the Miller family. Over the years, the Millers have spent some $400,000 in building and property acquisition in the downtown alone, not including additional monies spent for development and restoration.
On Dec. 15, 1995, the Millers purchased the former Hadesty Hardware Building on South Railroad Street for $60,000. The Miller family restored the structure and created a seasonal shop as a complement to their busy M & S Hardware store.
On Dec. 17, 1998, TKT Miller Partners acquired the historic Flat Iron Building at the Five Points intersection, purchasing the property for $75,000 from Lester I. and Berta B. Katz. The site, still owned and managed by TKT Miller Partners, now serves as a commercial and residential complex.
On July 21, 2001, TKT Miller Partners purchased the three-story commercial building 109 E. Broad St. for $37,500 from Larry G. and Frances Gloecker, and then, on June 9, 2005, purchased the adjacent Michael's Photo Studio building at 111 E. Broad St. from owner Michael S. Nesgoda, a $60,000 deal.
A year later, Feb. 14, 2006, TKT Miller Partners bought the former Moose Lodge Building at 133 E. Broad St., from PBE Companies, LLC, for $150,000.
That building is being marketed by the partners for $219,000.
The Miller family has been active with economic development in the greater Tamaqua area for many years.
Linda Yulanavage, executive director, Tamaqua Area Chamber of Commerce, recognized the contributions of the Miller family.
"TKT Miller Partners are staunch supporters of all of our economic development efforts throughout the entire area creating housing, commercial and retail space, and most importantly, job opportunities within our commercial district," said Yulanavage. "We are always looking for more people who are willing to invest in the future of our community."
The Tamaqua Area Community Partnership was founded in 1994 by then state Rep. David G. Argall along with representatives of business, industry, civic and social groups, and the general public.