Auctioneer Bud Palmer has auctioned the contents of the Market Centre so many times, he doesn’t remember the exact number.
Palmer, 80, was in his 20s when he first started hanging out in the building at a club in the former Lassen Hotel.
The first time he auctioned the business was to sell the contents of the hotel.
Now, he’s selling the contents of the former offices and ground-floor stores at the building in advance of Virginia-based Red Leaf Development converting the Market Centre to apartments.
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The auction is at 9 a.m. Thursday.
Palmer and his team aren’t done pricing items, but he says it doesn’t matter.
“If we walk through, they’ll just start clamoring,” he says of potential buyers.
“If they say they want to buy it, we’ll sell it.”
That excludes a historical items on the first floor and mezzanine, such as vintage railings and marble. Those will be incorporated into the redevelopment of the building.
Items for sale include a lot of built-in desks, interior windows and wood trim from former attorney offices.
There’s bullet-proof glass from a former bank.
There’s a 50-foot horseshoe bar and restaurant equipment and tables and chairs.
Though Palmer has some round tables he acquired before the Lassen Hotel auction, he won’t be doing any shopping for himself this time around. He says he rarely does with his auctions.
“I don’t have any hobbies. I don’t collect anything.”
Palmer says the auction will go “till we get done.”
“The idea behind the auction is we need to clear out some of the floors,” says Matthew Musgrave of Indianapolis-based TKCS, which is the project manager.
He says there’s “all kinds of stuff” of value in the building, so it makes sense to have the auction instead of simply emptying the building.
“It’s kind of a no-brainer,” Musgrave says. “There are some things there people will really be excited about seeing. Some people may just want to see the interior of the building.”
Work on the 114-unit apartment complex, which will consist of studio and one- and two-bedroom units, will begin in a couple of months.
“There’s a nice set of amenities,” Musgrave says.
In an existing courtyard area, there will be a movie theater.
“That space is going to be reimagined as a tenant activity center,” Musgrave says.
There also will be a fitness center, a community kitchen, a pet wash and bike storage.
Each apartment will have its own washer and dryer.
There will be ground floor retail as well.
Construction is scheduled to take 12 months.
Musgrave says the goal is to maintain the building’s historical character while adding a modern flair.
“It’s going to have a really, really cool look to it.”
Look for updates as construction progresses.