Sutton hired to auction Wenk property

By Chuck Clement, Staff Reporter | Courtesy of Madison Daily Leader

Madison officials approved an auction date for the empty lots where the old Wenk Foods plant once stood in the downtown area of the city, and they also hired an auction company to conduct the sale.

On Monday, the city commissioners approved hiring Chuck Sutton Auctioneer & Land Broker LLC to conduct the sale, scheduling the auction at 10 a.m. on Jan. 9. The Sutton auction company will hold the sale on the property located at the intersection of S. Egan Ave. and S. 2nd St.

The city's three appraisers of the property's value -- Mayor Roy Lindsay Jr.; Chad Comes, city engineer; and Brad Lawrence, electric utility director -- determined the value of the land at $100,000. Last week, the commissioners also approved a new legal description of the property as Lots 1 and 2 of the Second Street Addition, clearing up some confusing property language that was listed in the legal records.

According to Lindsay, the auctioneer should sell both lots together.

"To my knowledge, it'll be auctioned as one piece of property," Lindsay said.

Lindsay added that the $100,000 valuation was an average of the three estimates and all three calculations were fairly similar. He had reviewed the sale of a nearby lot to Madison Lawn Care and found that the land sold for $1.74 per square foot. Lindsay took that land value and multiplied it by the square footage of the former Wenk property. The property's square footage amounts to about 55,900 square feet.

Madison Lawn Care had purchased land where a grain elevator had stood along the city's railroad tracks, according to Lindsay. All of the old buildings were also removed from that property.

By state law, city officials can only sell the land if the purchasing price is at least 90 percent of its appraised value.

In late 2016, Lindsay announced that the city had purchased the land and the closed poultry-processing plant "as-is" for $1 from the Wenk family. For the past year, the city has allowed salvage businesses to remove any useful material from the buildings, removed stored chemicals and demolished the plant.

During the auction, Madison officials have the option of accepting the highest bid or rejecting the offers. The agreement with the auction company gives Chuck Sutton the rights to sell the former Wenk Foods property until March 15.

Lindsay abstained from the commissioners' vote to approve the contract with the Sutton auction company because his wife is related to the owners.

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