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Pittsfield Auctions Vacant West Housatonic Property for $450K
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
02:05PM / Friday, November 11, 2022
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The West Housatonic building was used for various purposes including as a restaurant and a car dealership. It's been vacant for about a decade.

Bidders had to sign waivers to tour the empty building.

The auction was run by Zekos Group of Shrewsbury.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A long-vacant property at 1685 West Housatonic Street was auctioned off for $450,000 on Thursday.

It was purchased by neighboring businessman Richard Wojtkowski, who owns Pittsfield Lawn and Tractor.

"I’ve owned the business for 30 years and I drive by every day," he said.

Wojtkowski has no set plans for the 30,000-square-foot building and 10 acres of land but intends to keep the structure and give it some TLC. He estimates that it will take a couple of million dollars to bring it back up to use depending on the level of work needed.

The auction had 15 registered bidders and began at $100,000.  It took under ten minutes to reach the winning bid and the initial investment required is $20,00 by Monday.

The property was taken by the city through a tax title foreclosure three years ago with its former owner owing almost $550,000. It has been out of use for at least 10 years, city officials estimate.

A request for proposals had been put out for its reuse but the city was not satisfied with the response.  The city then decided to auction it off through the Zekos Group auctioneers out of Shrewsbury.

"Ultimately, we just decided that it's in our best interest to auction it off with the idea of getting it back into productive use and back on the tax rolls," Finance Director Matthew Kerwood said.

The city's GIS map values the property at $687,500, with a $471,500 building value and a $216,000 land value.  

Before the auction, interested parties browsed the parcel after signing a waiver. The building previously housed a car dealership, a restaurant, a hair salon, and what appeared to be a go-kart or amusement facility.

It showed signs of age and vacancy, with caved-in drop ceilings, debris on the ground, and bathrooms in disrepair.

President of the Zekos Group Paul Zekos reported that the marketing was aggressive and had a good response.

"The city officials have worked very diligently and collaboratively with their teams to make sure this is a very open, public, and transparent process," he said. "So they've really done a great job of putting this together."

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