By Lydia Wheeler
After 18 months on the market, the former Dairy Queen building on Colley Avenue in Ghent will go to public auction later this month.
Zero's Subs leases half of the 2,856-square-foot space at 1520 Colley Ave. The other half has been vacant since Dairy Queen closed last spring. The auction will be held at the site at 1 p.m. on March 14.
"This is not a bank auction," said Fernando Palacios, regional director of AmeriBid LLC, the real estate auction company handling the sale.
The owners had trouble selling the property through the traditional process and are eager to get it sold, he said. Theodora von Auersperg of Virginia Beach owns the property with her husband under HDMT LLC.
"People are interested, but I think we have to bring them to the table," she said. "Having an independent auctioneer do that would be better because it's final. You either want it or you don't want it."
HDMT LLC purchased the property in April 2004 from Dqs Inc., a Dairy Queen franchisee, for $325,000, according to city records. Built in 1997, the property was last assessed at $501,600 on July 1, 2012. Though he has no starting bid in mind, Palacios said he has interested buyers.
"I think it's going to be a great sale," he said of the property, which sits in the middle of Ghent's Colley Avenue business district. "There is a serious redevelopment opportunity to leave retail on the ground floor and build apartments above it, which was the original plan of the owners, but they didn't have the financial wherewithal to do that."
Zero's Subs' lease is month-to-month, and Palacios said the restaurant can stay if it negotiates a new lease with a new owner.
The high bidder at the March auction will be required to put a $100,000 deposit down and close on the sale within 30 days. The 0.33-acre property includes a 20-space parking lot, outdoor dining space and an ATM room.