Sanatoga Village Shopping Center Goes Up For Auction

A sgn anouncing the Auction.com sale of Sanatoga Village Shopping Center was erected last week

A sign announcing the Auction.com sale of Sanatoga Village Shopping Center was erected last week

SANATOGA PA – Sanatoga Village Shopping Center – home to the Sanatoga Thriftway supermarket, an M&T Bank branch office and a strip-style building that houses several smaller retailers at 2162-2190 E. High St. – will go on the auction block in 34 days, real estate representatives say, with a minimum starting bid of $700,000.

If the 2.77-acre property and its three buildings sell at that price, the buyer might reap an extraordinary bargain. Montgomery County property records indicate its last appraised value exceeded $1.1 million.

No one knows for sure how much, if anything, the auction will fetch. Online-only bidding is scheduled to start April 21 (2014; Monday) at 10 a.m. at the Auction.com website where the parcel’s sale has been posted, here.

Two local tax-levying entities, the Pottsgrove School District and Lower Pottsgrove Township, are sure to be watching the sale’s outcome with interest. When properties sell for less than appraisers estimate, owners usually petition for a reduction in the assessed value on which taxes are calculated. A future drop in assessment could mean less tax revenue coming in to the district and township.

The same property records show the district is slated to annually collect more than $41,000 in taxes from the center’s owners; the township, another $3,200; and the county, $3,500.

Reassessment actions have become commonplace since the economy began sinking in 2007 and real estate prices were up-ended. The district and township have routinely accepted, or been forced by court decisions to accept, new assessment terms with many commercial land owners.

The most recent occurred earlier this month (March 3) as Lower Pottsgrove commissioners signed off on a lowered assessment agreement with developers of the Raven’s Claw housing community on Rupert Road. Pottsgrove school directors agreed to similar terms with Raven’s Claw a month earlier.

Interested in making a bid for the shopping center? You’ll be required to register with Auction.com, and then deliver a bid deposit in the amount of $10,000. Bids will be accepted over 48 hours, through April 23 (Wednesday), according to the site. Successful bidders will pay a buyer’s premium that is 5 percent of the winning amount.

Here’s what bidders will vie for:

  • 51,725 square feet of retail space and net rentable area, built in 1997;
  • A lot of plus-or-minus 2.765 acres;
  • Three one-story buildings: the supermarket, 2190 E. High; the bank, 2186 E. High; and the strip center consisting of the former Hollywood Video and GameCrazy,  former InkStop, and former Springleaf Financial store fronts (all of which are vacant), a dry cleaning shop, Optima nail care salon, and Oletowne Jewelers. The occupancy rate in the tenant stores as of March 10 was 79.89 percent, according to listing information.

No matter what happens in the disposition of the property, the center’s tenants likely will continue with business as usual.

The site also notes that Thriftway “currently pays a reduced rent,” a fact which the sellers contend “gives an investor/developer a premier opportunity to redevelop the shopping center.”

The K-Mart department store centered on the plaza’s south side and which faces East High is not part of the auction, the listing makes clear. Although it shows photos of the K-Mart, the sellers specify that building is a “shadow anchor” on a separately owned adjacent parcel at 2200 E. High. The center depends on an agreement with K-Mart owners to share parking spaces there, it added.

Representing the seller, which county records report as “Sanatoga Retail LP,” in the transaction are agents Joseph Dougherty and Valerie Pettine of Metro Commercial Real Estate Inc. Their company currently fills the role of the center’s leasing agent. Representing Auction.com is Shaena Ruebsamen.

The shopping center is one of 30 properties scheduled to be sold during the auction period. The others include an industrial aircraft hangar in Florida, an outlet mall in Texas and a regional mall in Missouri, a condominium in Michigan, a mobile home park in Arizona, and three different hotels. Their combined value: more than $260 million, the site said.

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