Niagara Gazette

Local News

September 18, 2013

Bids come in for three city houses on the auction block


Niagara Gazette —

The sale of the house comes with a set of stipulations, as the auctions - this was the first of what the city hopes to be many - are part of a larger program called "Niagara Falls Open House" run by the Community Development department.

In agreeing to buy the house after winning an auction the buyers will be contractually obligated to:

• Live in the house for a minimum of five years.

• Submit a repair and rehabilitation plan to the city within 60 days.

• Agree to bring the house up to code within a specific timeframe.

• Submit a property management plan within 60 days if the house has multiple units.

• Be in good financial standing with the city.

The other two houses, both on Memorial Parkway, went for high bids of $1,750 and $2,650.

Winning bidders will next sit down with community development staff to discuss a rehabilitation plan. The sales will then need approval from the city's planning board and city council.

The house auction comes on the heels of the first program launched as part of "Niagara Falls Open House" in which the city offers vacant lots to owners of adjacent homes for prices well below the assessed value.

The city sold its first batch of lots in August.

Seth Piccirillo, the director of the city's community development department, said that by promoting home ownership the city not only reaps the benefits of property taxes it strengthens neighborhoods and drives up real estate prices in those neighborhoods.

"Home ownership is a game changer," Piccirillo said. "It saves and strengthens neighborhoods. This auction is about being proactive and having a plan. The community does want these houses to end up demolished or owned by a slumlord."

Piccirillo, who ran the auction, said the event had a larger draw than he was expecting, with 14 bidders and over 25 people in attendance.

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Yes. Items should be taxed like they are everywhere else.
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