Ketchikan’s historic firehouse went up for a live auction Thursday. And the winner was… nobody.
Residents packed Ketchikan’s city council chambers to watch the city’s first live auction in recent memory. The spectacle lasted barely a minute. Two potential bidders registered with the city, but neither raised their hands.
“I was hopeful that we would have a few bidders. We got a lot of interest in terms of the showings,” Public Works Director Mark Hilson said.
He said he’d expected more interest today.
“So I was mildly surprised that no one bid the minimum,” he said.
A commercial appraiser valued the Main Street property at $330,000 earlier this year. The city council set the minimum bid at $335,750 to include the cost of the appraisal.
“I think the outcry auction is an indication that the appraisal is a little higher than we could expect to get,” Hilson said.
With no sale today, what’s next?
“So, this’ll go back to Council for more deliberation,” Hilson said.
The council will have a few options. It could order another outcry auction with a lower minimum bid, it could hold a sealed bid auction or simply put the property up for sale.
Ketchikan City Council Member Janalee Gage says she’s not in a hurry to dispose of the 77-year-old property.
“Having a closed auction would be a good second start,” Gage said. “I don’t see that it’s, like, an emergency to get rid of it and undersell ourselves.”
The council could discuss its options as soon as Nov. 7.