ELLSWORTH, Maine — An unusual building on Route 1A that used to house an antique auto dealership was sold at auction earlier this week for one-third of its assessed value.
The former Moto Car dealership building, and the 4-acre lot it sits on, have a combined assessed value of $262,000, according to official information posted on the city’s website. On Tuesday, the property was sold at a foreclosure auction for $77,000, plus approximately $9,000 in back taxes, for a total of $86,000, according to Stefan Keenan of Keenan Auction Co.
On Wednesday, Keenan declined to identify the new owner of the building. Staff members at Ellsworth City Hall said they did not know who it was. Keenan said the new owner is a local resident who told Keenan he bought the building as an investment, but is not sure how he plans to re-use it.
The structure has 6,340 square feet of living space, much of it taken up by the unfinished auto showrooms. Originally constructed in 1923, the building has been renovated extensively over the years.
The auction company described the building as having “a custom-designed owner’s living quarters with sunken living room, many built-ins, exotic wood trim and flooring, telephone booth, fire pole and cupolas” on the second floor. Old doors apparently transplanted from hotels and courthouses are among the building features. It also includes walk-out basements and three bays of basement garage space.
In 2000, a fire caused damage to the apartment but the damage subsequently was repaired.
Terrence Pinkham, the prior owner of the building, lives next door on Route 1A and still owns and operates the Moto Car dealership from the adjacent property. Recently, Pinkham had a 1977 Trans Am, a 1968 Mercury Cougar, a 1955 Thunderbird, a 1958 Chevrolet Biscayne and other vehicles parked on display along the side of the road just north of his former showroom.
Keenan said there were six bidders at the auction, held Tuesday at the building site. The building had been mostly cleaned out and no cars, antique or otherwise, were part of the auction package.
He said the lender who foreclosed on the property — identified in auction documents as Jerome Goldsmith — is content with the outcome.
“It was well-attended,” Keenan said of the auction. “All parties are happy.”