BELFAST, Maine — An auction of a local landmark mansion Tuesday brought out plenty of onlookers but few registered bidders, according to the Portland attorney who ran the bidding for the James P. White House.
In the end, the highest bid for the White House — $700,000 — came from the bank that foreclosed upon the property late last summer, Jacob Manheimer of Pierce Atwood said Tuesday afternoon. Efforts to reach officials from the Damariscotta-based The First, N.A., the bank that purchased the home from Rich Enterprises, were unsuccessful.
Serious bidders had to bring a $10,000 deposit to the auction, and not many did, Manheimer said, adding that he could not disclose exact numbers.
The 1840 home, a Greek Revival mansion placed on the National Register of Historic Places 40 years ago, has most recently been run as a bed and breakfast. Former owners Diana and Santiago Rich ran the property for four years after borrowing a total of $875,000 from the bank to purchase it in 2009. They defaulted on the mortgage more than a year ago, and efforts to sell it privately over the last year did not succeed.
In 2012, the city of Belfast placed a $7,000 lien on the property for nonpayment of taxes. The land and buildings are assessed at $688,000 with about $14,000 in annual property taxes.
According to the website for Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International Realty, the White House is in “mint updated/restored” condition and is suitable as a six-room high-end boutique bed and breakfast with a 14-seat restaurant, or as an “exceptional” private home. The property also boasts the oldest copper beech tree in Maine on its acre of in-town land.