A public auction can be a success even when only one bidder shows up.
That's what happened Wednesday when Tamaqua auctioned off a 25-by-200-feet vacant lot at 23 Market Street.
Only one interested party showed at Borough Hall to pursue the deal.
The interested party placed the winning bid at the minimum price of $4,000 plus costs. The additional costs are estimated to include an administrative fee of three percent of the starting bid, or $120, and an estimated advertising fee of $600.
The property is zoned residential and has a fair market land value of $8,750, according to Schuylkill County assessment records.
The winning bid was placed by the three-person team of Tom and Catherine Domarecki of Summit Hill and Matt Coccio of Tamaqua. Coccio is married to the Domareckis' daughter Denise. The Coccios live right next door to the property.
The Coccios have been taking care of the lot for a long time in order to help maintain the neighborhood. At one point, Coccio found and killed a copperhead snake on the property, which is located very close to other residences where children live. The Coccios are excited about owning the fairly large lot because of the opportunities it represents.
"I might use it for a deck or maybe a carport for off-street parking," Coccio told the TIMES NEWS.
It was the second time the borough tried to sell the lot. Wednesday's participation represented a 100 percent improvement over the earlier auction held in February. At that time, nobody showed.
"It was around the time of a February snow storm," said Kevin Steigerwalt, borough manager.
The lot once contained a single Victorian-style house but the dwelling had deteriorated over the years and the parcel changed hands many times. Last year, the borough took control and hired a contractor to demolish the house.
The borough then created a nice, level lot at the site to offer for sale.
Coccio said the borough did a thorough job in leveling the house and depositing much of the waste into the cellar area, and then backfilling the site with soil.
Tamaqua Borough isn't normally into the real estate business, but the property was an exception due to circumstances.
"We acquired the deed in lieu of condemnation," said Steigerwalt. "We were repeatedly citing the owner for code violations."
After acquiring the deed, the borough took ownership and paid taxes on the vacant parcel. With the sale, the property will return to private ownership and upcoming taxes will be paid by the new owner.
Steigerwalt said the borough has the option of offering such properties for sale through an auction process or a sealed bid process. But market conditions are variable and there is never any guarantee that bidders will participate in either method.
Wednesday's sale wasn't the first time the borough successfully sold a parcel via auction.
A few years ago, the borough sold two parcels near the corner of Spruce and Cherry streets, creating a small parking lot. That parcel was purchased by owners of a delicatessen and food store in the neighborhood.
Both auctions were advertised in the TIMES NEWS.