The Hooksett Village Shops, a shopping area that includes a Shaw's grocery store and an Ocean State Job Lot, was sold at a foreclosure auction when the lender purchased the property for $12 million at a public auction Tuesday.
According to James St. Jean of James R. St. Jean Auctioneers, the lender, Granite State Market Place LLC, bought the property because of the high level of debt owed on it by Pennsylvania-based WP Realty.
Only four interested parties registered to bid. To participate, bidders were required to have a $100,000 cashier's check. Granite State Market Place was represented by Mark Kanakis of Merra and Kanakis P.C. of Nashua.
Kanakis got into a brief bidding war with John Conforti, the chief financial officer for Ocean State Job Lot, who tapped out after a high bid of $11.75 million.
According to St. Jean, the retail value of the property is roughly $17 million, while the auction value should have been closer to $13 million.
One potential buyer who could be interested now that the property has been foreclosed upon could be the investment group represented by Conforti, who said he has learned never to say never in the world of business.
"Along with the Ocean State Job Lot, I represent some outside investors, and we are interested in purchasing the property, but it would have to make sense financially," he said.
Conforti said that his group was interested in the property because as retailers on the site, they are familiar with the site and the nature of the business climate.
"I think it is a decent center," he said.
While Granite State Market Place tries to sell the property, St. Jean said he expects no change for the tenants, which includes a gas station, a Pet Supplies Plus store and a Subway restaurant among others.
Hooksett Town Administrator Dean Shankle said that as long as no changes are made to the business structure and those leasing space on the property aren't affected, a transition in ownership would have little to no impact on the town.
St. Jean said the lender would put the property back on the market and try to sell it. After the auction, Kanakis and Conforti met with Carol Rash, a property manager for Keypoint Partners, a Burlington, Mass., company that Conforti said has been contracted by the lender to keep the property maintained while it tries to resell it.
Hooksett Village Shops, located on Daniel Webster Highway by the intersection with Route 28, sees about 30,000 vehicles travel the area daily, St. Jean said.
Officials from WP Realty did not respond to requests for comment.