Nearly 300 Niagara Falls properties went on the auction block Wednesday in the city’s In-Rem Tax Foreclosure Auction including the highly publicized Dome Theater on Main Street.

The auction, which was held at Antonio’s Banquet and Conference Center on Niagara Falls Boulevard, is held annually in an effort by the City of Niagara Falls to recoup back taxes on homes and vacant lots.

“The purpose of the auction initially is to encourage people to pay their taxes,” said City Controller Maria Brown.

Brown said that there were originally 1,300 properties that were scheduled to be auctioned off but that number was narrowed down to 297 because several of the property owners paid their back taxes prior to Wednesday’s auction.

“We have to write off city, school and county taxes,” Brown said, adding that depending on the purchase price, the city often just breaks even and in some cases registers a loss on certain properties.

According to Brown, the total gross revenue from Wednesday’s auction was $1.2 million with the high bid of $85,000 for The Dome Theater by Ken Pawlukovich of Main Street Properties.

Read Thursday's Niagara Gazette for the full story.