Manchester Citizens Corporation’s $20 Million Great House Sale & Tour drew well over 100 prospective buyers this weekend.
Those in attendance toured seven houses MCC plans to renovate and five new houses to be built in the Columbus Square development. The 12 houses received close to 30 deposits in all.
“We had about 70 people on Saturday and about 40 people on Sunday,” said Jerome Jackson, MCC’s associate director. “Considering what the weather was and the Steelers game, we had a great turnout. I’ve even had people talking to me about other houses in the neighborhood that weren’t part of the tour.”
The house sale originally advertised that 40 houses would be on sale during the tour, however, MCC was only accepting deposits on five of the 31 planned houses in the Columbus Square development. Two houses that were initially going to be raffled for $1 each were unavailable because MCC’s attorneys told the group right before the sale that they could have problems with state gambling laws.
“We were not able to [raffle the houses] because it’s a small game of chance. There were some legal questions that we were not able to answer,” Jackson said.
Except for one unit that only received a single deposit, every other house received multiple deposits. 1240 Liverpool Street, a three-story Victorian home with a first-floor rental unit, received 12 deposits.
Jackson said MCC was forced to have a placement drawing for this house, in which names were drawn to determine the order of buyers.
“If [the first buyer is] still interested as we get close to completion and has all the necessary financing in place, they get the house. If they are not ready, we give them their money back and move on to person two,” Jackson said.
The five new houses on Columbus Square received 9 deposits in total. Jackson said a larger unit, 1220 Juniata Street, which was going for $240,000, received four deposits. He said that MCC is trying to get those extra depositors to accept separate units than the first five, so that MCC can break ground on a total of 10 units in the first phase.
The first phase of new units will be built near the corner of Sedgwick and Juniata Streets. MCC expects to begin construction in the next few weeks and finish the first phase by October 2010.
The seven existing houses will be renovated starting in the spring. They are also expected to be finished by next fall.
MCC could have another house sale once the current 12 sales are completed. About 30 more houses are available as part of the Manchester Historic Restoration Initiative, which is a group of vacant houses that MCC has given priority.
“We thought we had a great success here. We think we could duplicate it, so I’ll let our development committee make that decision,” Jackson said.
“It was a great thing for our neighborhood, and I think we generated a lot of positive energy for it.”