Like a fine work of art, Casa Rodriguez at 52 St. George Street in St. Augustine will be auctioned at 11 a.m. Feb. 20 at the property site.
Instead of listing it for sale, owner Julie Jurecko decided to auction the historic property to the highest bidder at an absolute auction.
Great Expectations Realty, owned by Jena Baker-Dennis, is holding the auction.
Baker-Dennis explained the absolute auction allows the owner to complete the sale within 30 days rather than waiting for a buyer to complete a traditional purchase.
Jurecko wants to sell the property because she is retiring, Baker-Dennis said. Jurecko declined to be interviewed.
Great Expectations Realty sells property by listing and by auction
An absolute auction sets no minimum bid, Baker-Dennis said.
To participate, interested buyers must register with her company and provide $100,000 in refundable escrow to participate.
The money will be put toward the 10% down payment, due Feb. 20, for the winning bid.
In contrast, a reserve auction sets a minimum price for the property. Baker-Dennis prefers absolute actions.
“A reserve auction puts a number in people’s mind. Absolute auctions are more psychological. Everyone there wants a chance to bid. I don’t believe reserve auctions are as beneficial to sellers,” she said.
The property’s value listed on the Zillow real estate website is $1 million.
Baker-Dennis said that number was just placed in a box to get it listed on the website. She expects the property will sell for $1.5 million to $3 million.
St. Johns County appraises the property at $444,776 and its annual taxes and assessments are $9,528.
The three-story coquina building on historic St. George Street is a combination retail and residential property.
The 3,857-square-foot building houses the Casa Rodriguez jewelry store on the first floor, a kitchen and living quarters on the second floor and a dormer-style bedroom on the third floor.
It has two full bathrooms and ample closet space for a building of its age.
Built in the 1700s, it has a large, fully equipped modern kitchen with a vented gas stovetop.
The building’s several fireplaces are decorative. None are useable.
The jewelry store is holding a going-out-of-business sale and its inventory is not part of the auction.
The building could be used as it has been with retail on the bottom floor and office/living quarters above or it could be used as rental property, Baker-Dennis said.
It is across from the Bull & Crown Public House and is between The Panama Hat Company and Ben’s Soft Pretzels.
In all, the property is 4,105 square feet and includes a courtyard. Parking for up to four vehicles is accessed off Spanish Street behind the building.
Steven Walt, managing broker with Great Expectations Realty, said an absolute auction provides the opportunity for maximum profit.
Because so few properties are sold on St. George Street, establishing a comparative value would be difficult, he said.
“At an absolute auction, the public determines the value,” Walt said.
He said because of its age, the property is like a work of art. He compared it to Jackie Kennedy Onassis’s belongings that were auctioned after her death.
This is not the first time the property has been auctioned. It was sold to the highest bidder in 1791. In those days, most property was sold by auction, Walt said.
The building is on the Department of Interior’s National Register of Historic Places.
Great Expectations estimates that up to 15 prospective buyers will be at the auction.
Those interested who live out of town will have a proxy at the auction and will be able to bid over the telephone.
The auction will be more sedate than a traditional auction. The auctioneer will calmly start the bidding, acknowledge bids and keep buyers aware of the current price.
Buyers will raise paddles or numbered pieces of paper to place bids. Subtle gestures won’t be recognized as official bids.
Walt expects the auction itself to take about 20 minutes.
By: Dan Macdonald