Business

28 lots for auction in Augusta's Willowbrook subdivision

Augusta developer and former Congressman Bob Whittaker is auctioning off most of the lots in his Willowbrook subdivision.

The 42-lot project is on Custer Lane and Belmont Street in Augusta. Twenty-eight of the lots will be auctioned by McCurdy Auction on Saturday at the site. Fourteen other lots have sold since 2004.

Whittaker, who moved to Colorado three years ago to be near his children, said he isn't financially distressed but got tired of paying the taxes and specials. He owns the property free and clear, he said.

"I'm 70," he said. "I'm enjoying the grandkids. And that, combined with the lots not moving as fast I'd hoped, kind of pushed me in that direction."

Whittaker is holding on to 49 acres adjacent to the site that he had planned for subsequent phases.

Subdivisions in Augusta take a long time anyway, he said, but when the housing market slowed down, he tried to sell the unsold lots to a developer.

That didn't get much interest, so at the suggestion of his agent, Jeff Englert of Grubb&Ellis/ Martens Commercial, he's trying the auction.

"I was hoping it would take five to 10 years to build out and then would open another phase," Whittaker said. "I see this auction an opportunity to get that back on schedule."

The development sits against a country club, has several ponds and is near schools.

"Some of these lakefront lots were $38,000 apiece at one time," he said. "So if somebody was looking for a nice lot at a bargain, this would be it."

Whittaker moved to Augusta in 1962, coming to town as an optometrist. He served as a state representative and then as a member of Congress for 12 years before retiring in 1990.

He developed Crescent Lake in Andover and Country Hills in Augusta. He sold Crescent Lake in 2006.

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