ATLANTIC CITY — Dozens of bidders participated in a property auction at Revel Casino Hotel on Wednesday to get a slice of the Southeast Inlet on the cheap.
AuctionAdvisors of Montclair, Essex County, auctioned 48 vacant and mostly contiguous lots as part of a federal bankruptcy reorganization for GMAB Realty LLC and SPE Realty LLC. Auction organizer Oren Klein, a managing partner for AuctionAdvisors, served as auctioneer and found lukewarm interest for the two largest blocks, in the shadow of Revel off Vermont and Seaside avenues.
“This could take a while,” Klein said after getting no initial bids for the auction’s first offering. “We’re here to sell it. Hopefully you’re here to buy it. We know you are.”
The two largest blocks represented 37 of the 48 lots, including two Boardwalk-fronting parcels north of Revel, and sold for the auction minimums of $2.3 million and $3.3 million in single bids that were not contested.
A third block of lots, off Dewey Place and New Hampshire Avenue, attracted no single bidder. Instead, the lots were auctioned individually for as little as $20,000 apiece. But some of these lots were smaller than the city’s construction code requires for new construction.
Michael Sklar, a partner with Atlantic City firm Levine Staller, was the most active bidder, winning many of the parcels while talking to an unknown party on the phone throughout the auction. Sklar, whose firm has represented local developers and the New Jersey and Pennsylvania gambling industries over the years, declined to comment after the auction.
The properties are zoned as resort-commercial, which will give developers a wide choice of residential, commercial or hotel construction.
By comparison, nearby property off New Jersey Avenue, where Revel now stands, sold for $74.5 million in 2006. The Revel footprint is about three times as big as the land sold Wednesday.
“I think they were good deals,” said auction participant Matt Howard, of Absecon.
The former casino executive did not submit any bids, saying he attended out of curiosity.
“As long as the developers do right by the city, I think it’s good,” he said.
City apartment owner Marc Zarych attended the auction to see what development interest there was in the neighborhood where he owns property. He said some of the higher bids for individual lots surprised him.
Zarych said years ago these vacant lots were home to a neighborhood where everyone had flower boxes on the front porch and knew their neighbors.
“It was a lot like Ventnor is today,” he said. “It was a community.”
Today, this part of Atlantic City would benefit from a mixed-use development with new apartment buildings and retail, he said.
The auction results and the sale of the lots are subject to approval by the bankruptcy court, with a hearing for that purpose scheduled for May 27 in Trenton.
After the auction, Klein said he was happy with the auction results and level of interest in the properties. The auction was the largest his firm has handled for property in Atlantic City. He is auctioning four properties on the 2400 block of Fairmount Avenue in June.
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