It was a great day in Brockport; the future suddenly looks a lot brighter than it did yesterday.
In a surprising move, both of the houses in Brockport being sold by Rich Miller were bought by people who want to revitalize the village.
The college landlords were shut out, which is not what Rich Miller thought would happen.
Most people at the auction expected both house to be purchased by sleazy landlords.
In fact, immediately before the sale there was some talk that the 52 State Street house might be the catalyst for better code enforcement in Brockport because the house is not in compliance with the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) for the property.
But now it is a totally different ballgame.
Harry Snyder purchase the old Fowler Funeral Home at 52 State Street and Greg O’Connell bought the house on 49-51 Clinton Street.
Snyder said that the first thing he was going to do, once he closes on the house, is remove the ridiculous Miller Mansion plaque that Rich Miller put on the front porch of the historic brick house that was built in 1850, and which has an incredible cupola on top.
Greg O’Connell is the president and founder of The O’Connell Organization, which has been instrumental in revitalizing the historic Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn and the four-block-long downtown section of Mount Morris, 40 miles south of Brockport in Livingston County.
The bidding on the State Street property was hot and heavy and quickly shot up to $135,000. Then it slowed down as the field of prospective buyers narrowed down to two bidders.
One was a real estate agent, who stood by herself on the sidewalk east of the house, and conferred on her cell phone with her unknown client.
The other was Harry Snyder, who stood in the street directly in front of the house, calmly matching every bid the real estate agent made.
That’s Harry. He doesn’t say much, but he gets things done.
At one point, the second auctioneer, Brett Wilcox, came down off the front porch and walked up to Harry Snyder to ask if he knew what he was getting into. Harry said, “Yes.”
That’s Harry. He doesn’t say much, but he knows real estate.
Every time the bid went up the real estate agent asked for time to confer with her client.
But only once did Harry ask for a short break, when the bidding reached $155,000.
Harry took out his cell phone, and it looked like he was making a call to check if he could keep bidding. But he was really only stalling for time, making the real estate agent think that he was getting the go ahead to keep bidding. There was nobody on the other end of the line.
Harry put his phone away and raised his hand to up the bid by a $1,000. The real estate agent upped him one last time, but when he raised the bid by $2,000, her client decline to bid again, and Harry Snyder was the new owner of one of the most historic houses in Brockport.
The crowd at the auction was about equally split between Pro-Brockport supporters and sleazy college landlords, and both groups followed the bidding closely. You could see the heads turning to the left and then to the right with each bid.
When the auctioneer, Craig Wilcox, said, “sold”, Harry was mobbed by Pro-Brockport supporters, who wanted to congratulate him.
Harry Snyder’s winning bid was $160,000 (plus the Harris Wilcox 10% auctioneering fee, for a total of $176,000).
Meanwhile, Fred Webster, Rich Webster, and the other college landlords stood there with stunned looks on their faces.
The bidding on the 49-51 Clinton Street property was much more subdued, probably because of the run down nature of so many properties on Clinton Street.
Once again the bidding quickly narrowed down to two people: a short, stocky man in jeans and a faded Yankees cap and a tall dignified man, who was standing on the sidewalk with Trustee Bill Andrews, Brockport’s elder statesman.
The bidding only stopped once, as Brett Wilcox came down to say something to the man in the faded Yankees cap, but the stocky man declined to raise O’Connell’s bid.
The Clinton Street property sold for $60,000, plus the 10% auctioneer’s fee for a total price of $66,000.
Some of the people at the auction didn’t know who Greg O’Connell is. But on March 28, 2013 O’Connell held an economic development seminar at the Oliver Middle School.
At the time, current Brockport Mayor Margay Blackman was a Trustee, and she and Trustee Carol Hannan served as economic development co-liaisons to the Village Board.
Trustee Bill Andrews, a member of the Board of Directors of the Brockport Development Corporation, has been working on revitalizing Clinton Street properties along the Erie Canal since 1999.