Lake Havasu City is moving sales of city-owned property online in an effort drum up more interest.
Development Services Director Stuart Schmeling estimated that the city owns about 130 lots around town, but many of those lots are in use and not for sale – like the City Hall campus or any of the city parks. But Havasu has identified 70 pieces of undeveloped property that it would be willing to sell for the right price.
Schmeling said most of the property that the city would consider selling was acquired as a result of Havasu incorporating in 1978.
“The majority of these parcels came to us via the (Irrigation and Drainage District),” Schmeling explained. “When the city wasn’t incorporated yet the IDD had ownership of a bunch of these odds and ends parcels, and we inherited them when the city became an entity.”
Schmeling said Lake Havasu City has long had a process in place to sell land that it has determined it doesn’t have a need for. First, someone must submit an application with the Development Services Department to get the process started. Then city staff researches the property, gets it appraised, and the city posts a public notice of its intent to sell for 30 days.
Once everything is ready, the city previously used a field bid process.
“We would do it just like any other project where we would open the bids and take the most responsible bidder — usually the highest bid,” Schmeling said. “Then we take it to council who authorizes the bid and we take it to the title company and make it all happen.”
Although that process has worked in the past, Schmeling said there is generally not a lot of bids received.
That’s why the bidding process has been moved online.
“We hope that that will inspire more activity and get us a better price for our sales,” Schmeling said. “Typically in the past when we have sold properties via the sealed bid program we would, at most, get two or three bids on these properties. So we are trying to create more interest.”
Moving forward, Lake Havasu City will be conducting all of its real estate sales via online auction at publicsurplus.com.
Havasu put its first piece of real estate on publicsurplus.com on Sept. 1. The property, located at 190 Hunter Lane, consists of 0.88 acres with an appraised value of $118,000. The auction will start accepting bids on Oct. 1 and run through Nov. 2 with a minimum bid of $100,000.
Although the property on Hunter Lane is currently the only city-owned property up for sale, a list of properties provided by the city includes 69 additional parcels totaling about 136.5 acres that are ready to hit the market – if someone express interest. Lot sizes range from 10.29 acres down to about 1/10th of an acre.
About half of the lots are small parcels of 0.12 acres or less. Schmeling said those are mostly 20-foot strips of land, that are usually in commercial districts and generally do not elicit much interest from buyers.
But 33 properties are much larger and more suitable for development.
The largest single parcel the city is willing to sell is 10.29 acre parcel at 2801 State Route 95, which is the only larger property zoned for commercial on the list. Another 27 lots between 6.89 acres and 0.83 acres are zoned for single family residential and a 5.71 acre lot is zoned for two-family residential. There are also four lots currently zoned as public lands and facilities.