CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The auction of the former West Virginia Housing Development Fund building in downtown Charleston was greeted with one thing Thursday morning: Silence.
Only a handful of people showed up for the auction of the 109-year-old, 31,680-square-foot, four-story building at 814 Virginia St. E.
It was put on the market more than two years ago with an asking price of $1.1 million, which was set according to a 2010 appraisal.
Though Realtor Jay Goldman opened the bidding at $445,000 - $40,000 less than the minimum bid the Housing Development Fund had requested - no one attending the event stepped up to bid.
"We're certainly disappointed the building didn't sell today," said Erica Boggess, acting executive director at the housing agency.
The Housing Development Fund has been working out of a new Kanawha City headquarters since 2011. The agency's board voted earlier this year to go forward with an auction to try to get the property off their books.
"It's certainly not helping us to have an empty building and I don't think it helps the downtown to have a big empty building, either," Boggess said. "We're just not in the business of maintaining property."
Goldman, a former Charleston mayor and now president at realty firm Goldman Associates, said he was surprised no one bit on the minimum bid - especially since it covered all the furnishings and equipment still inside the building.
"I think the minimum bid's a giveaway," he said. "I don't know of any building of this quality in downtown Charleston that has all the furniture and is in move-in condition that you can get for $15 a square foot.
"People have bought buildings for more than that and torn them down," he said.
The Housing Development Fund purchased the property for about $1 million in the early 1980s. Though it was more than a century old, it had been modernized in the 1970s.
When Goldman Associates first bid to become Realtor for the property, it did note some upgrades were needed.