Friday, September 23, 2005

Council sets meeting on Bavarian Village auction

Public officials line up in support of obtaining condos


By REBECCA MEANY
Express Staff Writer

The Internal Revenue Service plans to auction off the Bavarian Village condos in Ketchum as a single sale for all 14 units on Oct. 4. Photo by Willy Cook

Online Editor's Note: Auction information is at the end of this article

The Ketchum City Council will hold a special meeting Wednesday, Sept. 28, to discuss buying for affordable housing the Bavarian Village apartment units that have been placed on the auction block by the Internal Revenue Service. The meeting is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at Ketchum City Hall.

"What we're asking for is a resolution allowing the (Blaine-Ketchum) Housing Authority to use $500,000 for leverage in funding for the Bavarian Village project," said Rebekah Helzel, founder and director of Advocates for Real Community Housing.

Helzel said she and the Blaine-Ketchum Housing Authority are lining up partners to assist in the bidding, which is scheduled for Oct. 4.

Sun Valley Mayor Jon Thorson is among proponents of saving the West Ketchum units for affordable housing.

"I'm vitally interested that it stays available for workforce housing," he said. "That's number one. Number two, whatever that would take in supporting that effort, I would be behind."

That could include financial assistance, he said.

"There's a responsibility for helping people who are displaced," he added. "It's critical."

Helzel said affordable housing advocates have contacted Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo and Rep. Mike Simpson, both Republicans, for assistance in the process.

The Internal Revenue Service says the auction will bring to end a nearly 10-year-long investigation into an international drug-smuggling ring.

The Bavarian Village condo units were among $4 million worth of assets forfeited by Patrick Cannon of Ketchum and David Brocklebank of Hailey when they were sentenced to 40 months in prison in February 2004 on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to smuggle and distribute drugs.

A portion of the proceeds from the auction of the 14 condos also will likely be given to local law enforcement agencies, said Jean McNeil, spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Justice in Boise.

The 14 units in the three buildings, at 106 and 110 Rember St. and 154 Bird Drive, include a mix of studio and one- and two-bedroom units. They will be auctioned together in one sale. The IRS announcement of the auction says the buildings represent "an excellent redevelopment opportunity" and that new high-end condominiums in the areas are selling between $800,000 and $1 million per unit.

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The auction is scheduled to take place at the condominiums at noon Oct. 4. Bidders can register an hour prior by depositing a $100,000 cashier's check. Potential buyers can preview the property on Sunday, Sept. 25, and Sunday, Oct. 2, from 1-4 p.m.

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