Eighty-nine city-owned properties were up for grabs at an auction in Trenton this week in an effort to eliminate blight and attract new buyers and developers to state’s capital. Bids were placed by 150 people on abandoned and tax-lien properties being sold in ‘as is’ condition over the course of the four-hour event.
Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora had high hopes for the auction. He anticipates the city making even more than the $1 million made at last year’s auction.
“We have many row houses that need to be taken down. That they can be bought at auction prices and then hopefully a developer will come and transform that neighborhood into something better for the city’s future,” said Gusciora. “So we’re hoping not so much what the city is gonna gain, and that is important, but the long range, what is gonna be there next after they buy the property.”
The city did not determine bidder qualifications, nor provide financing for a purchase prior to the bidding. And some Trentonians felt there was no way for residents with modest budgets to compete with developers and contractors who bid on multiple properties.
“I saw a couple I liked, but the prices went too high,” said Hoggarth Stephens. “These are not Trentonians running up the prices.”
Investor Rafael Valentin contends that higher bids are a good thing for the city.
According to Gusciora, the money made from the auction will go into the general fund to help defray property taxes.