Bidding war for Harpswell lighthouse eclipses $250,000, extends deadline

Posted Sept. 04, 2014, at 5:50 p.m.
The Halfway Rock Light Station
U.S. General Services Administration
The Halfway Rock Light Station

HARPSWELL, Maine — Federal officials have extended the deadline for bidding on a Harpswell lighthouse as offers continued coming in late Thursday, crossing the $250,000 line.

The auction will end whenever 24 hours passes without anyone upping the ante by at least $1,000, Patrick Sclafani of the U.S. General Services Administration said Thursday.

The federal agency is not identifying bidders, but an apparent bidding war has broken out between two — listed as Bidder No. 6 and Bidder No. 2 on the General Services Administration auction website.

At 3:55:26 p.m. Thursday, Bidder No. 6 was the first to push the high bid to the quarter-million-dollar mark. One second later — at 3:55:27 — Bidder No. 2 topped it with an offer of $251,000.

The two rivals pushed the bidding up by $6,000 since Tuesday.

If nobody bids $252,000 before 3:55:27 p.m. Friday, Bidder No. 2 will claim the prize: the 76-foot-tall Halfway Rock Light Station on the tip of Harpswell’s Bailey Island.

If Bidder No. 6 or someone else offers that amount, the 24-hour clock resets and will again each time the high bid increases by $1,000 thereafter.

The lighthouse is named “Halfway Rock” because it stands halfway between Cape Elizabeth and Cape Small, about 10 miles east of the famed and picturesque Portland Head Light.

The 1871 granite tower has an iron dome-shaped roof and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Earlier this week, the General Services Administration identified Portland real estate developer Art Girard as the winning bidder for Boon Island Light Station off York, at 133 feet in height, the tallest lighthouse in New England. Girard paid $78,000 for the beacon in an auction that closed on Aug. 17.

In 2010, the General Services Administration sold Ram Island Ledge Lighthouse at the edge of Portland Harbor for $190,000 to Windham neurosurgeon Jeffrey Florman in an auction that Girard also bid in.

The U.S. Coast Guard puts about five lighthouses in New England and the Great Lakes up for auction each year, Sclafani told The York Weekly.

Excess lighthouses are offered to other government agencies, nonprofits and preservationists before being placed on the auction block.

The sales of Boon Island Light and Halfway Rock will bring the U.S. General Services Administration’s total to 38 lighthouses to be sold to private owners through auction, while another 68 have been transferred at no cost to nonprofits, according to The Forecaster.

The most expensive lighthouse sale recorded was the $933,888 sale of Graves Light in Boston Harbor last year, The Forecaster reported.

 

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