Friday, December 19, 2008

One Carter - Stonehouse Auction: Can We Say White Elephant?


Just got back from the frozen front steps of the Pomona Superior Courts building, and I can report that there were NO TAKERS for the One Carter and Stonehouse properties. Not one single bid was placed. Before the bidding (or lack thereof) began, the auctioneer read off a near endless series of numbers denoting the financially interested parties flypapered to these two forlorn properties. Then he looked up, smiled, and said, "Be very careful on this one."

The initial combined asking price of $51 Million had apparently been cut just before the bidding by the representatives of Land America Default Services in attendance, with the minimum starting bid for today being Stonehouse at $7 million, $19 million for One Carter. Prices far less than what was originally paid for these properties.

After failing at auction, the two properties were apparently returned to the banks currently holding the bag. Who knows, maybe some of that $700 billion in our tax money the Feds have been using to bail out banks will be used to clean up this mess? The excesses of earlier this decade have even come home to roost here in Sierra Madre.

The auction took place outside the front doors of the Courthouse, and between the cold and the rumble of trucks going by, it was quite a hardy experience. Over 400 properties were being considered today, the vast majority being bankruptcies and foreclosures. A true sign of our troubled times.

10 comments:

  1. That would be a short-sale. Really short. Well, this shows the folly of these developments now and they were always baloney. And meanwhile, 1 Carter has been completely chewed up by bulldozers, etc. Too bad we're not in better economic times--it would be great to get one of the conservancies interested. I imagine the $19M would come down substantially. I wonder how much remedial work would be necessary to restore that ravaged landscape. IMHO, approving this property was always a sin and those who supported it should be ashamed. The city was hoodwinked by people who stood to make a pile of money along the food chain and there was never much likelihood of ultimate success here. Good luck.

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  2. Here's a question I have no answer to ... once the value of 1 Carter crashes (probably after whatever banks involved dump it on the Feds), could we seize it as blighted property under eminent domain? I know that 'fair market value' would be required, but maybe in a year or two we'll be talking, maybe, a million?

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  3. Wouldn't it be great if the Mountain Conservancy or the City could buy that One Carter property and make it open space?
    We could have a big community effort to replant trees and plants, the wild life would return, what a legacy for our future generations of Sierra Madreans!

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  4. The City Council that voted yes on that project and the Public Works Dept Head who gave permission in the fall of 2007 to grade after the rainy season started should be tarred and feathered.

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  5. They'd make one funny looking flock of chickens, wouldn't they?

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  6. Somebody needs to take a serious look at this. I'm not sure that eminent domain is the answer and "open space" is definitely iffy after what's been done to that property. On the other hand, right now the city is on the track to being required to use the bond money to install public works stuff--curbs and gutters which would only make the matter worse. A very careful look at some of the "outs" is essential or things will go from bad to worse

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  7. What happened to the bond money that was posted to insure the project was completed?

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  8. Speaking of blighted properties begging for city takeover,
    what's up with the Skilled Nursing Center? How long is that
    mess going to be allowed to sit there like that? Can't we turn
    it into a parking lot or something?

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  9. I know many folks in town would like to see some sort of a health care facility built there.

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