Lighthouse Inn online auction bids fall short

New London - The Lighthouse Inn had bidders but no buyers during an online auction.

Susan Howard, a real estate agent for U.S. Properties who had been listing agent for the historic property until the Business Loan Center attempted to auction the 4.2-acre parcel, said she watched the online bidding over a two-day period that ended Tuesday.

"It started at $500,000 and went up in $10,000 increments," Howard said in a phone interview. "It was pretty exciting."

In the end, though, "no one had the reserve," which meant that the high bid - which she declined to give out - did not meet the owner's minimum acceptable price.

Business Loan Center held the mortgage on the Lighthouse Inn, a famed restaurant and lodging facility that has been shuttered now for more than four years, when it went out of business. An auction of the property nearly four years ago found a buyer for $1.25 million, but the New Haven businessman backed out of the deal when several break-ins at the inn resulted in missing valuables.

The inn faces a tax auction in June if a buyer is not found. The inn's tax encumbrances have been placed at about $600,000.

The auction was conducted by Los Angeles-based CB Richard Ellis, which refused to release details about the auction, or to even acknowledge that the Lighthouse Inn was left unsold.

It's unclear what will happen now, but real estate agent Howard said it's possible the Business Loan Center would re-think previous offers for the property at 6 Guthrie Place. Howard had previously said the mortgage holder rejected recent offers in the $900,000 range.

l.howard@theday.com

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