$830,000 Bid For Weyanoke

Published 3:38 pm Thursday, December 20, 2012

FARMVILLE – The sky was blue.

The December day offered broad hints of spring, not snow.

And the high bid during the Hotel Weyanoke auction Wednesday afternoon was $830,000 by Marc Galt, representing Sensei Development, of Richmond.

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One evergreen tree shaded the high bidder and those standing around him on the Weyanoke's lawn, immune to the seasons, all the other trees leafless.

And how does Galt and Sensei Development envision The Hotel Weyanoke blossoming in the future?

“It's a wonderful building. It has numerous opportunities, whether it be student housing, upscale housing for the local community, or possibly a boutique hotel,” he told The Herald just after signing post-auction documents. “We're going to evaluate that in the upcoming month, probably not make any firm decision in the short run.

“It's too nice of a building to make a snap decision,” Galt continued.

“We want to give it a good deal of due diligence before we kind of lean in one direction or another as to future development,” he said, the crowd of 30-plus onlookers, many lining the sidewalk in front of the hotel, considerably thinned by the time the paperwork was completed.

Kenneth Brumfield, who purchased the building in 2000, watched the proceedings from the historic building's doorway. After the auction, he had no comment when asked by The Herald.

There appeared to be four bidders, but Galt and a second bidder were mostly responsible for the climactic bidding.

The auctioneer initially sought a two million dollar opening bid, then one million dollars, $750,000, and $500,000, before $300,000 attracted the first bid of the afternoon.

The bidding lasted approximately four minutes.

Linda Terry, the principal broker in charge on Wednesday, explained prior to the bidding that “the high bidder will immediately sign a contract for sale of real estate…And you will pay a $50,000 deposit upon signing."

Terry added that the “sale is subject to seller confirmation, which we hope to have promptly.”

The balance of the contract price is due within 30 days.

“It's a 30-day closing,” said Terry who, along with the auctioneers, is part of the Tranzon national network of real estate firms.

Terry explained that the existing student housing and restaurant/sports bar leases “remain in effect, based on the terms of those leases. The student housing, the lease terminates the 15th of May, 2013,” she noted.

In recent years, Brumfield has been renting three floors to three Longwood University sororities, each of the three sororities occupying one of the hotel building's floors, with 10 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, a living room and a kitchen on each of those three floors.

Regarding the auction's terms, Terry said the property will be sold in “as is condition, with no warranty or guarantee other than clear marketable title. This means there will no outstanding liens or past-due taxes at closing.”

Bidders, she said, are bidding and buying “based on your own inspections, your own due diligence, and your own opinion of value, not on anything I or anyone else here today has said to you.”

A ten percent buyer's premium, she said, “will be added to the high bid to determine the contract price.” Wednesday's premium of $83,000 would make a total purchase price of $913,000.

The Hotel Weyanoke was built for about $140,000, that capital outlay raised completely by local citizens in 1924, according to Today And Yesterday In The Heart Of Virginia, published by The Herald.

The Hotel Weyanoke opened in 1925 and was so successful so quickly that the entire bonded indebtedness was cleared by 1933, with stockholders expecting dividends.

The hotel's most famous guests were Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan, who attended a state conference of the Lions Club there in 1927.