|y Michael Buettner, The Progress-Index,
Petersburg, Va.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
August 27, 2009 - PETERSBURG -- The bidding opened at $300,000, and just over three minutes later the gavel banged to signal a winning bid of $600,000 for the former Rodeway Inn.
About 30 people gathered Wednesday afternoon at the motel at 405 E. Washington St. to bid for the 120-room property, or to watch the action at the trustee's foreclosure auction.
Before the auction, Steven Karbelk, president of National Commercial Auctioneers, said the hotel had drawn potential bidders from as far away as Canada. And it was a Canadian company, with partners in New York, that ended up giving the top bid.
The company is United Structure Fabrication, a construction firm based in the Toronto area. Owner Muhammad Khan said he decided to come to Petersburg to look at the hotel because "I heard it was a very beautiful town."
Some of the other bidders had been planning to demolish the existing hotel and build a new one from scratch if they ended up winning the high-profile site next to Interstate 95. But Khan said his plan is to "do some rework to bring it up to date and make a good profit."
According to Petersburg property tax records, the hotel previously sold in 2004 for $2.6 million. The assessment for tax purposes this year is $2.7 million.
The hotel was built in the mid-1960s and opened as an America House motel. It has also operated as a Best Western and a Rodeway Inn, and most recently was called the Broadway Inn.
Just this week, another Tri-Cities hotel built around the same time was scheduled for a foreclosure auction. The Steven Kent at 12205 S. Crater Road, located at exit 45 off I-95 at U.S. Route 301, is slated to go up for bids on Sept. 17.
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