First it was sold. Then it was not.Then came a lawsuit, which, like the sale that preceded it, was lifted as well.
Now, the property at 100 King St., under the ownership of 100 King LC since December 2002, has been sold for the second time in less than five months after Tuesdays foreclosure auction held in the main dining room on the buildings ground floor.
Auctioneer Jonathan Melnick began the bidding on the property sold to Douglas Development Corporation of Washington, D.C., last December for just over $2.4 million at $3 million.
That sale never made its scheduled March closing after a new lien was filed on the property and recorded with the city the day before the closing was set to occur.
This time around, though, the building sold for an even $2.5 million, however Melnick could not confirm the name of the buyer after the bidding had closed and the sale was over.
When asked if Douglas had repurchased the property, Melnick said, I can tell you that, for a fact, is not true, clarifying that the property was sold to an entity other than Douglas Development Corp.
Under the terms of the foreclosure, the buyer was required to deposit a minimum of $200,000 and must close the sale within 20 days.
Due to the new lien and the subsequent collapse of the initial sale, Douglas had filed a lawsuit on April 15 against 100 King and its lenders based on what Douglas saw as breach of contract, fraud, tortious interference and a quiet title, according to the complaint filed with the Alexandria Circuit Court.
The lis pendens on the property stemming from the suit was announced to the crowd of about 30 as part of the terms of the sale, but representatives of Douglas and the trustee confirmed before the auction occurred that the suit had been settled and the lis pendens lifted prior to the sale.
In spite of the announcement that legal action related to 100 King had been lifted, the air of the auction had changed, something Melnick could notice right away.
As this sale went, it seemed like by virtue of the fact that [the lis pendens] existed and even after it was clearly stated that it was guaranteed that good title could be conveyed by the trustee, I think it still chilled a bit, Melnick said. People were not happy about it and no matter what I said I couldnt cure that.
Melnick said that the process, including the removal of the lis pendens immediately prior to the start of the bidding, was one he had seen before as an auctioneer.
I dont think it was the intent to chill the bidding, he said. I think, though, when crafted intentionally, its a wonderful maneuver because then you can still be the good guy and lift it at the sale, but when you do it spooks people.
Douglas had not responded to inquiries about the circumstances around the withdrawal of the lawsuit before publication.
My estimate is that a deal was made, certainly [the lis pendens] wouldnt have been removed if there were not a deal, Melnick said.