Dayton’s surplus property auction shows promising start, officials say

City sold 8 of 18 vacant properties in first auction for yard extensions, housing development; next auction is in February

Dayton sold nearly half of the surplus properties it listed for sale in an online auction two months ago, and the city hopes to have similar or even better success when it puts another batch of parcels up for sale early next year.

“In the first round we had pretty good success,” said Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein.

Dayton put 18 surplus properties up for auction through GovDeals.com in September, and half were purchased, though one bidder defaulted on their offer, the city said.

The 18 properties were spread throughout the city, including a cluster in the Burkhardt/Inner East area, a few in neighborhoods along North Main Street and others scattered in Westwood, Residence Park, Fairview and other neighborhoods.

The auction was part of a pilot program the city launched to try to sell some of the roughly 2,500 properties it owns.

The program is intended to get residential lots into the hands of adjacent property owners and others who will redevelop the sites or use them for gardens or yard extensions.

Dayton cannot prevent out-of-state real estate investors and limited liability companies from trying to acquire its properties.

But under this program the city vets potential buyers to make sure they do not have unpaid city bills, back taxes or unresolved code violations.

Of the eight properties sold — five in east Dayton and three in west Dayton — five will be transferred to adjacent property owners for yard extensions, and the other three are expected to be used for housing developments, says a memo from Tony Kroeger, Dayton’s division manager of planning and land use.

The winning bidders were vetted by various city departments, he said, and the sales generated about $40,000 in gross revenue.

Two bidders in the auction were determined to be ineligible due to program criteria and restrictions, said Todd Kinskey, Dayton’s director of planning, neighborhoods and development.

The city program seeks to return vacant properties to productive use while keeping them out of the hands of irresponsible owners, Kinskey said.

Selling and transferring these properties means the city no longer has to take care of maintenance and pay assessments and other fees, he said.

The city is proposing to auction 21 additional properties in February, as well as some of the parcels that were not sold in September, Kinskey said. Again, that list of properties is spread throughout the city, from Twin Towers, to Riverdale, to Westwood.

Properties are offered at minimum bid amounts equal to the Montgomery County Auditor’s valuation, the city said.

Vacant lots that can support new residential development are sold online at GovDeals, and properties are awarded to the highest and “best” bidders, meaning they met eligibility requirements outlined in the surplus property applications and guidelines.

Residential vacant lots that are too small or that cannot support new buildings for other reasons are sold through a different process, and preference is given to adjacent property owners.

Kinskey said the city hopes awareness of the program will spread through word-of-mouth and marketing efforts, and that more potential buyers will emerge.

The city notifies adjacent property owners who qualify for the program about the buying opportunities, said City Manager Dickstein.

“We think this is a great opportunity to continue to not only get property out of our hands but into more (productive) uses in attracting housing development into the city,” she said.

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