BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Spanish Portuguese Caribbean
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
    You are in: Americas  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
 Friday, 27 December, 2002, 23:06 GMT
California town sells online for $1.78m
The town of Bridgeville California is for sale on eBay
The sale is the first of its kind on the site
A town in California has been sold for just under $1.8m on the online auction site eBay.

It is the first time an entire town has ever been auctioned on the site, a company spokesman told BBC News Online.

The town of Bridgeville had not even met its reserve price of $775,000 - the minimum offer the seller would accept - two days before the auction closed on Friday, but strong Christmas Day bidding pushed the price up to $1,777,877.

It is a substantial offer for a property that the sellers themselves describe as a "fixer-upper".

It's a tough area - We wish them luck

Janet Barnwell,
neighbour
Janet Barnwell, who lives on a ranch near the town, said it would probably take as much again to get the town back into shape, the Reuters news agency reported.

Chris Larsen, owner of Sunset Real Estate, which is representing the sellers, said the offer appeared to be serious and that the buyer was arranging to complete the sale.

"The sellers are excited," she told BBC News Online.

'Rustic town'

The listing for lot 1791801094 proclaimed: "Own the entire rustic town of Bridgeville, California."

In fact, not quite all of the town was for sale. The lot's 82 acres include 10 houses and four cabins plus a postcode.

Be prepared to do a lot of work to get the town into sparkling condition

Seller's description
Heavy machinery and "generous supply of maintenance parts" were included as well, and the seller admitted frankly that "many of the structures included with the town could be described as fixer-uppers.

"Be prepared to do a lot of work to get the town into sparkling condition," the seller warned.

Company spokesman Kevin Pursglove said eBay had never handled an auction quite like this one before.

"Our real estate division says we have never auctioned an entire town before," he told BBC News Online.

It is eBay's third largest sale ever, he said, behind a Gulfstream II jet that sold for $4.9m and a former missile silo that had been converted into a luxury home, which fetched $2.1m.

Gold Rush town

Bridgeville was founded in the wake of California's 19th-Century Gold Rush and lies 420 kilometres (260 miles) north of San Francisco.

The seller said the town could serve as a private retreat, money-making venture or tax shelter.

But residents say there is not much left to the 130-year-old town.

It's gorgeous out here, [with] the river and the bridge, and it's so quiet

Rose Clark,
postmistress
Only a few people live there after logging jobs in the area dried up, and the post office is the only business in operation now.

Some of the houses have been declared uninhabitable.

But Rose Clark, who runs the post office, thinks it would make an ideal bed-and-breakfast.

"It's gorgeous out here, [with] the river and the bridge, and it's so quiet," she told AP.

Private ownership

Founded in 1871, Bridgeville has been privately owned for nearly a century.

Henry Cox bought the town in 1909 and it remained in his family until his heirs sold it to the present owners, the Lapple family, in 1972, for $150,000.

They tried to sell it five years later, but the sale fell through when a church group that bought the town did not keep up on its payments.

The brother and sister who own Bridgeville have been trying to sell it on and off since then.

The identity of the buyer has not been revealed.

"It's a tough area," said neighbour Mrs Barnwell. "We wish them luck."

See also:

25 Dec 02 | Americas
11 Dec 02 | Business
26 Nov 02 | Business
19 Jul 02 | Business
08 Jul 02 | Business
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Americas stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Americas stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes