But the good stuff did finally arrive, and the auction of the One Carter and Stonehouse properties was set to begin. The advertised 2-for-1 original price was $51 million, but I guess the representatives of Land America Default Services in attendance wanted to jazz things up a bit, because they set up what was for all intents and purposes a fire sale. The minimum bid for the One Carter Disaster was set at $19 million, with Stonehouse at $7 million. And this minimum bid nonsense was unfortunate because the $900 I had on me for the purpose of taking control of these properties was obviously not going to be enough. But had I been allowed to get in on the action I would have been the only one there doing so. Because on that cold and blustery December day, not a single solitary person put in a bid for either of those 2 properties.
So now it is late February, it is still cold, One Carter is still the White Elephant of the suckers holding the paper, and they're still pushing mud around up there. But what is up with Stonehouse? If you go to the Redfin.com site for properties sold here in town recently you'll notice something rather surprising. Scroll down to items 2, 3, and 4. Three different Stonehouse properties, and each was sold for the very same price of $7 million each. Or three times what the entire place was going for at auction last December! And check out the differences in the sizes of the houses. One is 1,212 square feet, another 5,700 square feet. Yet the prices are exactly the same.
Several people e-mailed me on this, including the person who first uncovered these mysterious transactions. And a person far wiser than I on these matters sent in the following:
"I opened the site I was sent and see now that these three different parcels with three different houses sold for $7 million each. How can that compute when they couldn't even get $7 million for the whole of Stonehouse last December? Two of the houses can be seen from Grandview and are on long lots that move northward from Grandview. The Heflin House is on the bigger parcel but the swimming pool is on the Grandview eastern most lot. My guess is that we will see three projects come forward for smaller developments that might be easier to finance."
I suppose the first step is finding out who exactly bought these properties. Then, of course, we'll have to let them know that they paid a hell of a lot more than they would have had they hung out with us in Pomona back before Christmas. And I did have $900 to contribute. But after that?
The symmetry of the buys in particular confuses me. Why would three distinctly different places within the Stonehouse suzerainty sell for the exact same price? Lucky 7s? I just don't get it. I'm throwing this one open to anyone who cares to weigh in. Anybody know what's up with this?