November 19, 2015
Stevens Mill complex heads to auction block, future of Fall River businesses unknown
The Stevens Mill
complex will be auctioned off on Dec. 9.
FALL RIVER - There was a time when the Stevens name
was known worldwide.
That was early in
the last century, when the Stevens Mill on Stevens Street made 40,000 bedspreads a
week. Stevens Spreads were exported to the four corners of the world.
Pigeons roost on
the mill building now. Large windows look through to empty rooms. Piles of
leaves collect in the corners of the yard that once bustled with trucks.
Complex, a mill compound sandwiched between Stevens Street and Route 24, is for sale.
A public auction will be held on Dec. 9 at the property. The owner, Stecom Associates
LLC, set the minimum price at $500,000.
"The property has
been in the family since World War II," said Robert Capuano, a principal in
Stecom. "But I really don't want to comment on this."
The mill is in
better shape than many in the city. Built of red brick, it has been maintained
and updated with new window and safety systems.
"The Capuanos were
diligent, detail oriented owners," said Justin Manning, who will handle the
sale for JJ Manning Auctioneers. "They are retiring and getting out of the
business. They have owned it forever.
"They said they
liked it and it made money, but they didn't want to be landlords any more."
The property is
assessed by the city at $2.4 million. Manning said a 2009 assessment set the
value at $2.1 million.
"The property has
been listed with Remax/Right Choice," Manning said. "They have had some decent
offers. But offers are only worth the paper they are written on."
The Stevens Mill
was built in 1892 on the bank of the Quequechan
River. It expanded all
the way to Stevens Street
to the west and south past what is now Detroit Street. Part of the industrial
complex was sold and a community of 70 single family homes have been built on
the land in the past 10 years.
What will happen to
the existing mill is anyone's guess.
"A lot of what will
happen to the property will depend on the environmental conditions of the
land," said Ken Fiola, executive vice president of the Fall River Office of
itself has value to developers because of its location and its size."
His office has been
getting inquiries about the land since JJ Manning Auctioneers sent out fliers,
announcing the Dec. 9 sale, Fiola said.
Buyers have been
calling and signing up online for access to the file set up by the auctioneers,
listing the condition of the building, the results of environmental testing and
the most recent assessments, Manning said.
"We want to give
them all the information so they can do their due diligence," he said. "When we
do that, we can get a better price."
Included in that
package are the leases for a half-dozen companies operating in the complex.
Among them is Town Taxi.
Faith Latessa owns
Town Taxi with Buddy Humes. They just signed a second 5-year lease for the
office and garage they occupy. The company has 22 cars on the road with 50
drivers working 24 hours a day, Latessa said.
"We will have to
see what the new owners plan," Latessa said. "This has been a good location for
us. We would like to stay."
Auctioneers will offer a tour of the property on Dec. 2 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
for potential buyers. The auction will be on Dec. 9 at 11 a.m. on site. The
winning bidder must be able to post 10 percent of the purchase price in cash or
certified bank check within two days and the balance within 45 days.
With the auction,
the Stevens name is spreading worldwide again, Manning said.
"The volatility of
the stock market and the potential rise in interest rates have forced people to
invest quickly and heavily in real estate," Manning said. "We are seeing a lot
of foreign buyers, from China
"People will run
the numbers and see that they can make money with this. Income producing
properties are hot right now.
"This will sell."