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County sells Columbus Avenue building for $44K

Andy Ouriel • May 27, 2014 at 9:50 AM

To at least two Erie County commissioners, a low-ball bid is better than no bid at all.

The third, however, believes underselling a public property undercuts the board’s philosophy to make money on behalf of local taxpayers.

Erie County commissioners recently voted 2-1 to sell off the Hedges Building for $44,000. The Columbus Avenue property is located by the Erie County Courthouse.

Only one person submitted a bid.

Officials previously tried selling the property earlier this year, but also received one offer, coming from Scott Thom, the same person who ended up winning the property this month.

Commissioners previously set a minimum threshold of $50,000 and said they’d reject any offer coming in under this amount.

But during the latest bidding process, Bill Monaghan and Tom Ferrell scrapped this stipulation and accepted a $44,000 offer for a long-vacant property.

“There is no private parking available with this building, and our realtor told us early on that this is a big drawback, and we would be lucky to get anyone to bid the $50,000” Monaghan said.

Erie County commissioner Pat Shenigo, who never agreed to removing a minimum price of $50,000, felt the board squabbled an opportunity to cash in at a higher rate, helping the government’s cash-strapped budget.

“Sometimes in the real estate business, patience is a virtue,” Shenigo said. “We didn’t need to fire-sale this property”

The empty structure most recently stored records for various county officials.

The nondescript, single-story brick building came under scrutiny in 2010 after the Register revealed tens of thousands of disorganized documents littered this property back then.

About 20 years ago, county prosecutor office employees worked out of this building. Erie County’s now-defunct drug task force later occupied this space.

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