TEWKSBURY — A public auction was held on Thursday, July 18 at 1 p.m. for the old AutoFair Nissan dealership on Route 38 in Tewksbury. AutoFair Automotive Group of Manchester, New Hampshire had purchased the former IRA Nissan dealership in 2012 and updated and expanded it.
Then in 2016, citing the need for more space, the operation moved to the former Sears Hardware and Party City location at Drum Hill in Chelmsford. The property at 623 and 635 Main St. has been vacant since and had fallen into foreclosure.
According to information on the auction website, the property consisted of “2.31+/- acres of land improved by a 14,437+/-sf 1&2 story auto dealership bldg. Built in 2001, property has showroom, service area & office area, 12 service bays and 150+ parking spaces”.
It was noted in the property details that the location is in a marijuana overlay zone established by the town. This is for the specific purpose of medical marijuana only. According to town administration, no party has shown interest in pursuing that use for the property.
The property is listed as held by Timothy B. Lerchenfeldt, Trustee of the Timari Realty Trust of Derry, New Hampshire since 2001.
The auction, conducted by Paul E. Saperstein Co. auctioneers, was attended by approximately 12 interested parties, some of which were observers and some bidders. While Samantha Saperstein, representing the auctioneer, could not disclose which parties were qualified bidders nor their identities, it was clear there was interest in the location.
In order to participate as a qualified bidder, a deposit of $100,000 by certified or bank check was required at the time and place of the sale, with the balance due in 30 days. Representatives from the Town of Tewksbury were also in attendance as $114,028.31 was owed in back taxes. This money will be paid to the town by the purchaser. Attorney Pat Kennedy was present, representing the mortgagee but offered no comment.
The bidding opened once the terms of the auction were read by Saperstein. The bidding started at $2 million dollars. With no bids at $2 million, Saperstein stated the figure of $1,750,000, at which time a bidder spoke. No counter bids were offered, and there was murmuring in the crowd. The auction ended quickly and Robert Hanifen, an attorney with Nissan North America was the winning bidder.
When asked about plans for the property, Hanifen directed inquiries to Nissan’s corporate communications office in Tennessee. A written statement by Darla Turner, Corporate Communications Manager from Franklin, Tennessee was sent to the Town Crier.
“Nissan is committed to our customers in Massachusetts and the Northeast region. This is an important market for our business. However, we cannot comment on specific business dealings regarding this property.”