Followup: 2nd round of offers today for ex-Fire Station 37

(Student journalist Nicholas Trost, on assignment for WSB, shot this video tour before ex-FS 37 was vacated)
Seven months after the City Council gave final authorization for the sale of city-landmark former Fire Station 37 at 35th/Othello – vacant for a year and a half – it’s on the brink of being bought. We’ve tracked the sale process through the listing and the March/April open houses; April 20th was the deadline for offers – but senior vice president Arvin Vander Veen from Colliers International, handling the sale of ex-FS 37 and another one elsewhere in the city, tells WSB they asked a small number of prospective buyers for a second round of offers, and those are due today. Why a second round? we asked. His reply: “Because several offers were high and very close to each other, so we went back to a few for a best and final offer.” (They had said they wouldn’t accept offers less than $250,000.) The circa-1925 building is expected to become a private residence, in no small part because – as pointed out in a city report we excerpted last year – the site is zoned for single-family housing. Proceeds from the sale are to go back into the city’s Fire Levy program.

10 Replies to "Followup: 2nd round of offers today for ex-Fire Station 37"

  • Jason May 2, 2012 (5:15 pm)

    “Because several offers were high and very close to each other, so we went back to a few for a best and final offer”
    I’m at a loss here, since when isn’t the BEST acceptable offer the BEST offer when the deadline comes, no matter how close it is to the next lower one??? This seems completely unfair to whoever it was that had that best offer; “Hey, you won, but now that we know what your bid was compared to others, we think we can squeeze more out of you, so you have to bid again”

  • Cstar May 2, 2012 (5:41 pm)

    I was thinking the same thing, Jason. Seems like they’re trying to create a bidding war. I am so curious as to the amount of the offer(s).

    It will be interesting to see who ends up purchasing the place and what they do with it. I toured during one of the open houses and it’s definitely a unique space in need of a lot of work. Best of luck to the high bidder!

  • flynlo May 2, 2012 (7:33 pm)

    Too bad that Seattle Public Schools can’t adopt this technique!!

  • losarayas May 2, 2012 (8:30 pm)

    this is such BS. there was a minimum bid required. by the nature of the bidding process OLD # 37 went to the highest bidder, except it didn’t. My heart goes out to all of the bidders. Get ready to be further pinched by your city.

  • WTF May 2, 2012 (11:07 pm)

    I’m with you guys. I’m afraid greed with get the best of the city and all current bidders will say thanks but no thanks. So ridiculously unfair…

  • Jason May 3, 2012 (9:41 am)

    WTF, that would be perfect if everyone said “No thanks, not interested!” and walked away, then the whole bidding process had to be started over. Karma bites Colliers in the ass, and they end up with a lower “high” bid the second time. But! Seeing how they work, my guess is that they’d tell that high bidder “Well, we had higher bids the first time, so we’re going to have a third round…”

  • Andy May 3, 2012 (2:25 pm)

    I talked to one of the realtors at one of the open houses, and it sounds like this was the plan all along. Specifically, I asked “If I’m $10K under the high bid, do I just lose or do I get a chance to bump my bid?” and he said the high bidders would be contacted and invited to do a second round of bidding. I don’t think anyone should be upset with this because, as he said, they are trying to maximize the value for the city.

  • Andy May 3, 2012 (2:31 pm)

    Jason – I don’t think they’re going to get a lower high bid the second time around. The initial bids all had to have an pretty big bank check for good faith money ($20K maybe – the details have been taken down from the site). And more to the point, the people who submitted those bids want the place. They are indeed trying to have a bidding war, but why is that bad? That’s how most real estate is sold. They just wanted the “real” bidding to have a controlled group of people and starting point.

  • Jason May 3, 2012 (5:25 pm)

    “If I’m $10K under the high bid, do I just lose or do I get a chance to bump my bid?”
    You -should- lose! If you’re willing to spend more than your bid, put an escalation clause in with it. This approach is just plain not fair. An offshoot of the old “We’ll keep asking the same question til we get the answer WE want” game. When are they going to stop having additional rounds? When everyone except for one person taps out?

  • MAS May 5, 2012 (7:12 am)

    Yes, by all means let’s not try and get the most value for the taxpayer. The rules were clear for all of the bidders (which included what’s happening) so lets change the rules and get less for public property than we can. I for one vote that we sell it to the lowest bidder now, just to teach those taxpayers a lesson.

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