Damaged downtown New London building among those sold at annual tax auction

New London — A downtown building from which upper-story windows crashed to the street last week sold for $13,870 Thursday in the city’s annual tax sale.

The property was sold for just $300 more than the opening bid in the auction at City Council Chambers.

A total of six properties were sold. The owners have six months to pay taxes and other fees to the city to redeem ownership, said State Marshal Joe Heap.

The vacant building has been boarded up and scaffolding has been erected since several window panes popped out of the building’s fourth floor and crashed to the sidewalk below, narrowly missing two pedestrians.

Jim Noonan, of North Stonington, purchased the property. He said he has a group interested in bringing retail to that space but declined further comment.

The left traffic lane in front of building will remain closed through at least the weekend, until an engineer can shore up the interior of the building to prevent anything else from failing.

A blocked roof drain caused several hundred gallons of water to pool on the flat roof, according to acting Building Official Jamie Salmon. The weight of the water caused the plaster ceiling to cave in and smash the windows.

Salmon said he has led contractors on about four walks through of the building and expects two bids for the repair project.

Ned Hammond, economic development coordinator, was present at the auction and said it may cost around $20,000 to make the repairs.

The building’s owner, Michael Chiu, owes the city $8,450.19 in taxes, plus state marshal fees. The opening bid was $13,569.24.

Noonan also bought a property at 269 North Frontage Road for $510,000, the site of the Clarion Inn and Outback Steakhouse. The property is owned by Heritage New London LLC. Taxes and liens due on the property totaled $301,629.35. The opening bid was $446,746.59.

Noonan said he doesn’t expect to actually take ownership of the hotel property.

In the meantime, 1½ percent of interest per month accrues on the property. The interest will be paid by the original owner.

i.larraneta@theday.com

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