TOPEKA – A group known for rehabbing old buildings around Topeka was the high bidder Monday at the auction of an historic house near the State Capitol building.
Pioneer Group President Ross Freeman had the winning bid of $700,000 for the historic Hiram Price Dillon house, 404 SW 9th Street.
The bid nearly doubles the amount of the $351,000 offered in a sealed-bid auction earlier this year. That bid ultimately was rejected by Interim Secretary of Administration Mark J. McGivern.
“We look forward to working with the high bidder in an expeditious but thorough process that will result in a contract benefiting all parties,” McGivern said in a statement.
The state would not provide further statement on Freemand's bid, including his identify, citing a policy not to comment on pending negotiations.
The Department of Administration now enters discussions with the high bidder. The agency says it expects to present a contract to the State Finance Council within 45 days. Negotiations will include financial terms and intended use of the property. The property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Council must approve the sale. The group is comprised of Gov. Sam Brownback and legislative leaders.
While the state appeared pleased with the Dillon House bid, it was a "no sale" for a second building the state hoped to auction.
Bidding on what's known as the Department of Labor White House, 427 SW Topeka Blvd., started at $100,000 then dropped to 50,000, still getting no bidders.
Department of Administration spokesperson Chuck Knapp says the agency will consult with the Labor Department to decide what's next.
Knapp says it was the state's second attempt at selling the property this year.