Coast Guard housing is going up for bids in government auction
BY CATHERINE KOZAK
on long-vacant U.S. Coast Guard Group Cape Hatteras family housing
units in Buxton will be opened in two weeks, with a minimum offer set
at $2.5 million.
An invitation for bid package was posted late last week on the General
Services Administration website, along with a notice about the online
auction beginning Oct. 24.
Built in the 1990s for about $8.5 million, the 45-unit housing complex
sits on 7.96 acres. Inspection of the “premiere investment
complex,” as it is described in the notice, will be available on Oct.
20 and 21 and again on Nov. 9 and 10.
“We welcome your participation in the unique opportunity to contribute
to the community’s rich history and economic success,” the notice said.
“The near oceanfront units are structurally sound and in fair
condition, though a new sewage system will need to be installed for
operational use of the complex.”
Dare County last year gave up trying to acquire the property from the
federal government to use for affordable housing for teachers and
public sector employees.
A deposit of $50,000 is required to bid on the property,
as “Cottages at the Cape.” A finder’s fee of $25,000, with
conditions, is being offered to a registered broker.
The complex consists of 23 separate buildings, including 24
two-bedroom, 14 three-bedroom and seven four-bedroom units , most with
carports, screened porches and decks.
The sale has attracted interest so far from more than 50 prospective
buyers, said Kristine Carson, point of contact at GSA’s Real Property
Utilization and Disposal Office.
“Quite frankly, we’re very pleased,” she said in a telephone interview
“Some are quite serious and some are just curious.”
Although the auction had not yet been announced, Carson said,
start date was put off until Highway 12 reopened and prospective buyers
could visit the site.
Information about the sale on the website, www.realestatesales.gov,
includes condition assessments of the property and a copy of a letter
from the Dare County planning department explaining the natural
historic district zoning.
The zoning designation limits the range of options for buyers, and it
is unclear how sewage disposal could be addressed under the restrictive
conditions at the site.
“They can do repairs to the structures, but if they are torn down or
destroyed then any structures would have to be rebuilt in conformance
with zoning codes,” Dare County Planning Director Donna Creef said in
“The wastewater treatment will be a challenge, and I’m not sure how
that can be accomplished,” she said.
But Carson said that GSA is being open about the wastewater situation,
and the problem does not appear to be “insurmountable.” She also said
that the buildings do not have more than 50 percent of their value in
damage, which is the amount that would trigger stricter zoning
Condition assessment reports on each of the units were uploaded onto
the website, she said, to help prospective buyers with useful
The reports, which include photographs, describe, in varying
degrees, evidence of “organic growth” in walls,
ceilings, windows and siding; inoperable heating and air conditioning
units; missing shingles on roofs and siding; defective windows and
electrical systems; cracks in drywall and stained flooring
carpet; and damaged or warped entry doors.
Shortly before the Coast Guard left the base in 2005 to relocate to
Fort Macon, the housing complex had been subject to storm-driven ocean
overwash from the nearby beach, which had lost its dune. Since then,
the duneline has been restored, although it has not yet been tested by
a strong Atlantic storm.
Recent flooding at the complex after Hurricane Irene was caused by
heavy rains, Carson said.
Despite the evident deterioration -- much of it caused by moisture --
of the vacant property, she said it has been maintained “as best they
could” over the years by the Coast Guard.
“We would say certainly that there’s significant value to the complex,”
she said. “Most of them are in relatively good condition.”
The auction will remain open as long as interest demands, Carson
said. Anyone who is interested will be able to follow the
activity online, but bidders’ names will not be revealed.
For details on the auction, go to www.realestatesales.gov
For an earlier Island Free Press article about the background on the
Coast Guard housing complex, go to: http://www.islandfreepress.org/2011Archives/06.15.2011-CoastGuardPreparesToPutFormerBaseHousingInBuxtonOnTheMarket.html