CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) – A second government attempt to auction off a federal building in southeast Missouri still hasn’t received a single bid a month later.

The first auction this summer for the nearly 48,000-square-foot building in Cape Girardeau drew top bids of $615,000 and $625,000, but all three bidders backed out including two who forfeited $25,000 deposits.

“I’m really concerned now that the building may become empty and vacant for an extended period of time,” Mayor Harry Rediger told the Southeast Missourian in a story for Sunday. “It’s by far a very unusual situation.”

General Services Administration spokeswoman Angela Brees said auctions usually start out slowly and then pick up after a close date is announced. She said GSA intends to announce that date within the next three to six weeks, depending on bid activity.

Also, the holiday season is not usually a time for a deluge of bids on any government-owned property the GSA wants to get off the government’s hands.

The asking price for the federal building, constructed in 1967, is $750,000. Brees said the agency has given some tours and fielded a number of calls from prospective bidders.

“So we know there’s interest in the building,” she said. “We’re still hopeful we’ll be able to sell it.”

Rediger isn’t so sure about that. He said he is worried about the building’s future, especially with the city focused on revitalizing Broadway in time for next year’s scheduled opening of Isle of Capri’s new $125 million casino.

“It’s a very important building and in my mind it should be a government building,” the mayor said. “We just need to be able to work with GSA to find an answer for this. At this point, I’m very frustrated.”

The city had been interested in a partnership with the Cape Girardeau County Commission to share the building for a mix of government offices, but the entities couldn’t agree on how to share the space.

Since then, the county commission has been the only public body that has expressed interest in the building. Commissioner Jay Purcell said the commission is still committed to buying it, as long as it makes economic sense.

The commission made “serious offers” that GSA rejected before the first auction, Purcell said, adding that he isn’t surprised to see that there have been no offers during the second auction.

“I was very confident and felt like that if this was taken to auction, it would not bring substantial dollars that were offered before,” he said. “We’re just going to sit back and wait. That seems the prudent thing to do for now.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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