Last Gentile parcels among properties Norwich will auction

Norwich — The city will auction four houses and 11 vacant lots of varying sizes — including three that were owned by former Utopia Studios developer Joseph Gentile — during a tax foreclosure auction April 20 at City Hall.

The auction includes three tiny vacant lots that could represent the final presence in the region of the Long Island developer who had promoted a $1 billion entertainment complex at the former Norwich Hospital in Preston.

Gentile bought the lots at 27 W. Thames St., 279 N. Main St. and 97 School St. under the name Beit Shemesh LLC in 2004 from the city at a similar tax auction, Tax Collector Kathy Daley said. Gentile said at the time that he planned to use them for billboards for his proposed Utopia Studios.

Daley said Gentile never paid taxes on the properties, and they will be auctioned again, with a minimum bid of $500 on each lot.

The auction will be held at 10 a.m. April 20 at Norwich City Hall.

The list also includes a handicapped-accessible single-family house at 631 W. Main St. that had been owned by the Rose City Community Land Trust. That house, appraised for $146,000 on city tax records, is deemed the most valuable in the auction. It carries a minimum bid of $25,000.

The three other houses on the auction block will have minimum bids of $5,000 each, including a two-family near Norwich Harbor at 53 Washington St. that will be sold with three small, adjacent, vacant lots.

Four vacant lots ranging in size from 1 to 3 acres also will have minimum bids of $5,000, while the remaining seven smaller parcels will have $500 minimum bids.

All bidders will be required to sign a statement prior to the auction that they are not in arrears on property taxes in Norwich.


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