Saratoga County

Pair of downtown Saratoga Springs buildings fetch $3M at auction

Two downtown commercial buildings fronting on Broadway were sold to new owners at a bank foreclosure

Two downtown commercial buildings fronting on Broadway were sold to new owners at a bank foreclosure auction Friday at the Saratoga County Courthouse in Ballston Spa.

The building that currently houses the Saratoga Shoe Depot at 385 Broadway was sold to Thomas Newkirk, president of the Saratoga National Golf Club, for $2 million.

Across the street, the three-story retail and apartment building at the corner of Spring Street and Broadway — which by all accounts needs major interior renovations — sold for $1 million to Scott Grodsky of Nassau County.

“I think the building’s a mess, but I was looking for a condo here for myself. I can have a place for myself with a little rental income,” Grodsky said.

He said he had significant family connections to Saratoga — a family member owns Mama Mia’s Pizza and Cafe on Ballston Avenue.

The current retail tenants at the building, located at 322-328 Broadway, include Antara Home Furnishings, Plum & Crimson, Red Wolf Boutique and the Factory Outlet Store. There’s also a 5,000-square-foot music theater inside the building, but Grodsky said rehabilitating that space would be a major project.

“I’d really like to renovate the theater,” he said.

Newkirk said he plans to find retail tenants for the Shoe Depot building, which sits between the now-empty Borders bookstore on Broadway and the Adelphi Hotel.

“We plan to bring a few retail merchants back to Broadway,” he said, declining to provide specifics.

The court-ordered auction was overseen by referee Carrie McLoughlin Noll of Clifton Park and auctioneer Charles Anderson of Buffalo to satisfy a $3.46 million mortgage debt owed to HSBC Bank. Frank S. Panza and Jennifer Flynn, the prior owners of the two properties, have been in foreclosure since February 2010.

Anderson, of Anderson Auction and Realty, was retained by HSBC to attract interest in the properties, and he said earlier this week that he expected strong interest.

“These are two exceptional buildings on an exceptional street,” Anderson told the audience at the opening of the bidding.

With Anderson calling for bids in the traditional fast-paced auctioneer’s manner, there was competitive bidding for both properties, with the final prices being roughly twice the initial offers.

Ten parties registered as potential bidders, Anderson said, and about 35 people attended the auction.

Jeff Pfeil, a retail consultant who owns the commercial building known as the Eddie Bauer building next door to 322-328 Broadway, attended the auction and said both buyers got bargains.

“The Shoe Depot is a great location,” he said.

The 322-328 Broadway building is also at a prominent location, across from Congress Park.

“I think these guys got bargains, but that’s what happens at auctions,” Pfeil said. “For this kind of [real estate] market, this is an extraordinary amount of interest.”

The high bidders had to pay 10 percent of the price immediately and have 30 days to complete the sale. The new owners will also be responsible for unpaid back taxes on the properties — about $250,000 on 385 Broadway and $97,000 on 322-328 Broadway.

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