Despite interest from would-be buyers, the historic Ellen Glasgow House in downtown Richmond remains on the market after a planned auction was called off before bidding could start.
The online auction by New York-based Concierge Auctions was originally scheduled to begin in late October. It was initially pushed back two weeks due to potential buyer interest, but ultimately was called off by sellers Jack and Tricia Pearsall.
The 180-year-old mansion at 1 W. Main St., named for the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist who once called it home, remains listed with an asking price of $2.3 million, dropped from its $3.5 million listing in September 2020.
Patrick Sullivan, a One South Realty Group agent whose “reRVA” team has the listing, said the auction received a good amount of interest but was called off due to not enough bidders placing an opening bid beforehand.
Because the sale was a no-reserve auction, meaning the property would sell to the highest bidder with no minimum bid set, Sullivan said the Pearsalls were not comfortable going through with the auction without more bidders at the table.
“There just wasn’t enough bidders in play,” Sullivan said, noting an algorithm that he said Concierge uses to project a sale price based on number of bids received.
“The algorithm got us to a number that Jack would have sold at, but he wanted to have somewhere between five to seven opening bids in place. So, he decided to pull the plug,” Sullivan said. “If there had been a reserve in place, we definitely would have went forward and it probably would have sold. But he had set the parameters that he was comfortable with and, when it wasn’t reached on the number of bidders, he decided the risk-reward for him wasn’t there.”
Sullivan said he’d received offers on the property leading up to the auction, but that those offers could not be entertained based on the arrangement with Concierge.
With the auction cancelled, he said he’s been in touch with two of the parties that had expressed interest. He said a formal offer from one of them was expected in coming days.
Since the auction was announced this fall, it generated inquiries from 519 prospects, 23 showings to qualified buyers and more than 13,000 webpage views, according to data provided by Concierge.
Sullivan said multiple inquiries came from parties interested in using the house as an urban winery or brewery.
“The most interest we’ve had has been for hospitality, either a bed-and-breakfast or an entertainment-type venue for an urban brewery or winery,” he said. “I think that would be an awesome use for that building, and you have the ability to purchase the parking lot next door with it, with 36 spaces.”
In addition to the 11,000-square-foot house, which was built in 1841, the listing includes an adjoining parking lot that adds two-tenths of an acre and could be developed.
Totaling six bedrooms and 5½ bathrooms, the house also has served as offices over the years, including for Jack’s law firm until he retired and ended the business in 2019. It includes a rear annex addition that isn’t included in protective covenants restricting use of the rest of the house, which is listed on state and national historic registries.
The house is a block from The Jefferson Hotel and the downtown YMCA, which is slated for a mixed-use redevelopment.
The house is also across Foushee Street from another property that was tied to the Pearsalls and is now under development by Eagle Construction of VA, which recently started site work for the 21 townhomes it’s building along Foushee between Main and Cary streets.
The 1-acre infill project, which is replacing parking lots, involves properties previously owned by a business entity managed by Jack Pearsall. The two parties also collaborated on the McRae & Lacy townhome development in Manchester.
A call for journalistic excellence: communication is enhanced when proper rules of grammar and spelling are used consistently. Perhaps one can get the point across without following accepted rules, but professionalism is shown, and respect is earned, when communication is clear, concise and grammatically correct. By publishing, we also set an example for others to follow. Corrections shown in CAPS: “There just wasn’t (WEREN’T) enough bidders in play,” Sullivan said, noting an algorithm that he said Concierge uses to project a sale price based on number of bids received…. “If there had been a reserve in place, we… Read more »
I appreciate your point, but when a reporter is quoting a source, they don’t have the luxury of correcting their grammar. Personally, I’ve always felt the BizSense crew embodied journalistic excellence.
You never change words in a direct quote. Ever.
Steve, I have to agree with you.