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NEWS & PRESS

08.10.2009
THE SUN CHRONICLE - On The Block, Online

NORTH ATTLEBORO - Online auctions are familiar to users of eBay, where shoppers can use the Internet to bid on anything from a used guitar to vacation homes.

But how about a $1.4 million restaurant?

J.J. Manning, the well-known New England auctioneers, are using an online-only format to auction off a commercial building that now houses Leona's Family Restaurant at 553 Kelley Blvd.

The auction is being conducted on behalf of the company that owns the building and is for building and land only, not the business.

Justin Manning, a spokesman for the firm, said bids on the recently renovated restaurant building will be taken via the Internet only through Friday. To bid, prospective buyers must register at Manning's Web site.

The site lists a minimum opening bid of $500,000.

Although Internet bidding has been used as an adjunct to real estate auctions in the past, online-only auctions account for only a small percentage of property auctions.

"It's probably less than 5 percent," said Manning, although that number is rising because of the large number of foreclosure sales that have been conducted on the Internet.

In a relatively flat market for commercial real estate, an Internet auction facilitates participation by a number of distant bidders who may have interest in the property but who cannot afford the time or travel to attend the auction in person.

"If you're talking about someone in New York, that's a long way fighting traffic to come here for a maybe," Manning said.

Property owner Donald McHoul said the building has been on the market "on and off" for about a year.

According to information listed on Manning's Web site, the 10,000-square-foot restaurant has a seating capacity of more than 400 and a parking lot with more than 90 spaces.

The building could also be used for other commercial purposes, such as a medical office, the site points out.

According to the Web site, the building is assessed at about $1.4 million.

Manning was at the site Thursday to hold an open house for potential bidders. Other tours can be arranged prior Friday by appointment only.

More information about the auction can be found online at
www.jjmanning.com/property.cfm?id=345.

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