A secure building leased by Bath Iron Works to the U.S. Navy so officers can monitor shipbuilding and get training on new ships is being sold by the same online auctioneer that sold the Bangor Mall and the former MBNA building in Belfast.
The New York real estate investment firm Colony Capital is selling the 39,000-square-foot, three-story building at 580 Washington St. in Bath for a starting bid of $1.25 million. BIW leases the building from Colony and the Navy occupies it.
Online real estate auctions have become popular in recent years as investors look to quickly buy and sell properties to a broader swath of potential buyers via the internet, said Erik Urbanek, managing director of the Urbanek Group, a Portland real estate firm that has partnered with the auctioneer on the sale.
Online bidding can ratchet up the price quickly as potential buyers place confidential bids. Bidding on the Bangor Mall topped out at $14.95 million and the MBNA building at $5.95 million, both well above their starting prices. Urbanek expects the new auction to draw eager bidders as well.
“There is a lease in place that means long-term stability, so this property should be attractive for investors,” Urbanek said.
BIW has leased the property since it was built in 1989 and recently extended the lease until 2025. BIW also pays to operate and maintain the building.
The auction by Ten-X Commercial will be held from noon on July 27 until noon on July 29. The property is valued at $5 million and brings in $105,521 in taxes to the town, according to the Bath assessor’s database. The auctioneer takes 5 percent of the winning bid as a fee, or a $40,000 minimum.
Urbanek said the sale was planned for late spring well before the coronavirus and the strike at BIW hit. Urbanek said that three vessels typically are under construction at BIW, and each of the three floors houses the future naval crews for each vessel under construction.
There have been challenges, though, for both the realtor and potential buyers to gain access to the building. The building contains sensitive information, so there are security restrictions. Prospective buyers from out of state would have to quarantine for two weeks or show proof they had quarantined to see the property, he said.