Eastland Building Bidding Heating Up

Jackson’s Art Deco Eastland Federal Building is on the auction block, with bidding ending tomorrow afternoon. Three bids were placed today, with the top bid at $851,000. Check out the action at the GSA Auction site.



Categories: Jackson

17 replies

  1. I noticed the sale lot number begins with the word PEACH. And what a peach it is! I was taken aback by the low bid of 851,000. Oh my goodness! I hope the buyer doesn’t destroy it, but I can feel it coming. Good reporting! Keep us posted on who gets her. Holiday Inn Express or some other motel/hotel chain maybe? Parking is limited so maybe not. Oh dear! Central Parking – Yikes!!! Now I have one more thing added to my list to worry and wonder about :(

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  2. Perhaps David Watkins’ Julliard in Mississippi idea might take hold? I can’t quite imagine the building becoming a hotel, and a parking garage is unthinkable. As you say, I hope someone will buy it and take care of it. It will take creative thinking.

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    • Creative thinking would help, but I think it would also function pretty well as an especially elegant office building that has a few larger meeting spaces (the courtrooms). I agree that parking garage and hotel are too far out of the realm of possibility to be reasonable. For one thing, the feds are actually pretty good about putting covenants in place to protect historic buildings they are selling. Julliard in Mississippi would definitely be a unique use and bring a lot of creative and interesting people to downtown Jackson–my main concern would be hoping it could take off enough for the building to be maintained in the way it needs to be.

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  3. Looks like the bidding has been extended until tomorrow, based I suppose on the relative flurry of bids yesterday and in the half hour before the original end of bidding.

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  4. Inquiring minds want to know…I haven’t seen a thing in the papers yet.

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  5. Bidding’s been extended again, until tomorrow afternoon–check out the “Bidding History” tab on that website and you’ll see what’s going on. I guess they keep extending the bidding until no one bids again, just like in a real auction except much slower. I don’t know who Bidder #3 is, but whoever it is is winning with a bid of $1,050,009.

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  6. So far, that seems like a definite bargain!

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  7. Tom, I am still in the bidding and plan to stay. Yes, the building will be saved, no matter who gets it. Our proposal, of course, is to turn the facility into the Southern Institute of Fine Arts. Think Julliard, Savannah College of Arts and Design, and California Institute of the Arts. We see an amalgamation of those programs. The plan is to turn it into a public university and raise a ton of money for an endowment for programming/staffing.

    The bidding is now (Sunday at 2:49 pm) at $1,150,009. While it does appear to be a bargain, any renovation will be wildly expensive. The boiler system and pipes are original to the building and must be replaced, before any other reuse can be considered. We’re probably talking an initial $6-8 million in repairs needed to the mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems, not even considering any retrofitting for other uses. Our plan has preliminary estates at $15-20 million in initial conversion and upgrade costs, with an additional expansion later for a 1600 seat performance hall with recording facilities (probably and $20 million). If we’re successful, we’re still going to try to find a way to put on the tax roll. I hate tax-exempt properties in downtown Jackson!

    You can following the bidding at: gsaauctions.gov. Just go to the real estate tab and you’ll see the eastland courthouse building as one of the main auction items. Oh, and wish us luck.

    David Watkins

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  8. I wish you the best of luck David! Thanks for always thinking on a grand scale!

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  9. 59 minutes remaining…

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  10. Just rolled over again, literally at the last minute. Bidder #3 is still in the lead, with a bid of $1.35 million. Looks like tomorrow the period between bids goes down to 4 hours instead of 24, so I would think it will wrap up more quickly after that?

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  11. This does appear to be taking more time than I had anticipated!

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  12. Well, it looks as though Bidder #3 has won the auction. Who is Bidder #3?

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  13. I don’t know–I guess they’ll reveal themselves soon enough. I’m surprised they closed the auction today given the new bids. Maybe I just didn’t understand the rules? They had announced a 4-hour bidding period, so maybe that expired without new bids?

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  14. There was a small piece about the auction in the CL several hours ago, but nothing since. It does appear that the bidding has closed.

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  15. OK, folks, the verdict is in. We won the bid! Now, the really heavy lifting begins. It’s time to create the Southern Institute of Fine Arts (SIFA).

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  16. Congratulations David! I can’t wait to hear more about the SIFA!

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