July 16, 2015
LYNN - History went on the auction block at
11:26 a.m. Wednesday, and by 11:32 p.m., a Winchester-based real estate
development firm bought the former Item building on Exchange Street for $800,000.
necessarily have a plan now, but we are leaning to condominiums or maybe fixing
it up as offices," said US1 Ventures Chief Executive Officer Christine
brother, Kevin, set the pace for six minutes of bidding overseen by auctioneer Justin Manning. Beginning with a
$200,000 bid, interest in the five-story building assessed at just over $1
million by the city climbed through $500,000 before topping out at $800,000.
purchase closing is scheduled for Aug. 28. Under auction rules, US1 will be
required to add a $80,000 buyer's premium to its bid amount.
comes on the heels of the purchase of The Daily Item newspaper by Essex Media
Group last October. The newspaper itself was not included in the purchase, as
its operations moved to 110 Munroe
St. in March.
Built in 1900 by
owner Peter H. Gamage's great-grandfather and great-uncle, the building for
years included Item operations, tenants' offices and a top-floor printing firm.
Gamage said Wednesday he hopes the property's new owners will assemble "a good
plan" for the Item building's future use.
"I think it is
terrific someone was interested in our building," he said.
Diarbakerly said she attended the auction with her brother and father, John,
without having previously visited Lynn
and having never seen the Item building. She said her family's companion
business, US1 Petroleum, buys retail service stations at auction and, in the
case of a former Brighton gas station, razed
the structure for a 118-apartment project.
"We show up where
there is a good opportunity," Diarbakerly said.
About 50 people
attended Wednesday's auction in the Item's former first-floor business office.
Charlie Patsios, owner of former General Electric land slated for development,
Century 21 Hughes' David Hughes and real estate owner John Gilberg were in
attendance, with Gilberg stressing the building's value as a building block in
"I'd love to see
residential here," he said.
Prior to the start
of bidding, Manning described the
sale as an "absolute auction" intended to provide seller and the prospective
buyer with a "very clean, very straightforward" sales process.
"It's one of the
prettier buildings in the city. What we are hearing is the city would like to
see something done with this. Something fantastic is going to be done with this
property," Manning said.