Texas auto auction finds some gems
- by admin
AUSTIN, Texas — It took more than 20 years of litigation to finally put the final nail in the coffin of the Texas Auto Auction House, which is the only surviving member of the now-defunct Austin-based auction house that closed in 2005.
The sale of the historic building at the corner of Lamar and Texas avenues in the heart of Austin’s downtown has been a long time coming.
It was first proposed in the early 1990s, but the bidding process was bogged down by a series of legal challenges, legal disputes and a $1 billion lawsuit from the Austin Chamber of Commerce.
A series of delays followed, including the 2008 bankruptcy filing of the company, which had a $9.9 billion deficit and $3 billion in liabilities.
A series of appeals from the Chamber of Business and other groups followed.
The last bid for the building fell short of the $12.9 million goal and the lease was eventually renewed in 2013 for a nominal fee.
The new lease included a provision that allowed the auction house to lease the building back to the city.
That agreement was put on hold for the 2016 season, however, when the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) found that the Texas Department of Insurance had improperly approved the bid for a $11.6 million mortgage.
The commission cited the high interest rates on the property, saying they would put it at risk if the property was sold.
A hearing was held before the Texas Legislature, which ultimately passed a resolution supporting the TCEQ’s decision.
The new lease also included provisions to keep the building open during the auction, which was to be held July 21-26.
That was a big deal for the property owner, John Soto, who owned the property since 1987.
He said the auction was an important way to raise money to help pay for a new house and a new school.
Soto said the building was already a huge seller at auction, and it had already raised $25 million for a school, but that the auction would provide a bigger draw.
“I’ve had people come to see the auction for the last three years,” he said.
“They just came in, bought the car, drove off, and left.”
While the Texas Auction House is now closed, the TECO resolution and the sale of its properties have a long history.
In 2005, the Texas House of Representatives voted to put a temporary moratorium on any future auctions, which would have allowed the city to make a final decision on the fate of the Austin Auction House.
The TECA resolution would have set the auctioneer’s salary and the number of auctions he could conduct during a calendar year.
A committee was set up to develop a permanent resolution, but after the House voted down the measure, the state legislature moved to end the moratorium.
“It was a historic moment,” said Rep. Chris Gorman, R-Rio Grande, who sponsored the legislation.
“For the city of Austin to have taken the bold step of putting a moratorium on future auctions was an incredible thing to do.
They are a symbol of how important Austin is to the Austin community.”
The TECOA resolution was ultimately approved by the Texas legislature, and the TAC issued a statement thanking the Texas Chamber of Automotive and Exterior Designers, who had been lobbying for years for the city’s future in the industry.
“We were pleased that the TCAE had recognized the importance of this project,” the TACA said in a statement.
“We are grateful that the legislative body, and its leadership, recognized the important role that the Austin-Austin Chamber of Cars had played in the city and in the community.”
Soto, a real estate agent, said the city would still continue to hold auctions throughout the city during the lease period, but he hoped the new lease would provide him with the stability he’s used to.
“I want to be able to do things like renovate my garage,” he told the Austin American-Statesman.
“That would be the greatest thing.”
The Austin Auction house was one of the last remaining Austin-area auto auctions that opened in the 1980s, when it was owned by a group of local businessmen who had a dream of becoming car dealerships.
The Austin Chamber was the largest auto auction in Texas, and in 2005, it was listed on the Houston Chronicle’s list of the top 20 auction houses in the country.
The site is now the historic site of the new Austin City Hall.
The Texas Motor Speedway, which opened in 1993, was also listed in the list.
AUSTIN, Texas — It took more than 20 years of litigation to finally put the final nail in the coffin…
- Chevy says it will scrap ‘Polaris’ minivan as it ramps up production of the Chevy Bolt 2 sedan
- What the car auction site is really for: Dealers or car buyers?
- Auctions go live at the Garrard auction house
- Rebel Auction, Rapper’s ‘Sugar High’ Auction, Auctioned Off With Auction of ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ title Rebel auction, Rappers ‘Sugaree’ Auction Sell for $3.5 Million at Rikers Island
- How to buy an auction house in Australia