Heritage House goes unsold at auction

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- The dilapidated Heritage House on Oglethorpe Boulevard failed to sell at a tax auction on Tuesday. More than $14,000 remain unpaid in delinquent property taxes, Dougherty County Tax Director Denver Hooten said.

Albany City Manager James Taylor said Wednesday that his office had contemplated bidding on the property, but learned that it would be on the auction block too late to get approval from the City Commission.

Last year, Greenbriar Holdings, owners of the Heritage House, paid the delinquent taxes days before the property was due to be auctioned.

Dougherty County Attorney Spencer Lee, who oversaw Tuesday's tax sale, said there were no bidders on the property when it came up for sale at the auction, which was conducted on the courthouse steps.

The City Commission remains locked in a legal battle with Greenbriar over rights to demolish the property. Muncipal Court Judge Willie Weaver ruled earlier this year that the former hotel was a threat to the human safety and welfare and ordered Greenbriar to demolish it or allow the city to step in and raze the property.

Romeo Comeau, the principle of Greenbriar, is appealing the decision to Superior Court, where there will be a trial later this year unless an agreement is reached between thye city and the company.

Estimates for the cost of demolition have varied widely. City officials have estimated that the cost to tear down the property would be somewhere between $900,000 and $1.2 million because of asbestos still in the property.

Greenbriar Holdings also owns the old Broad Avenue School, which did not sell at yesterday's auction. Back taxes on the school property are just slightly less than those on the Heritage House.

Hooten had no immediate figures on how much in deliquent taxes the county was able to reclaim through the sale, but said that, for the first time in recent memory, "We had more no-sales than sales."

Properties like the Heritage House that don't sale at the auction remain on the deliquent list and continue to rack up a monthly penalty of 1 percent interest until the next tax sale.