$260,000 Is High Bid for HR Evans Building

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio – A person identified only as a “local party” emerged as the high bidder for an industrial building left vacant last spring by the bankruptcy of HR Evans Steel Co.

The 164,000-square-foot building commanded the high bid of $260,000 during an online auction that closed shortly after 4 p.m. Wednesday.

“We had eight registered bidders for the property, seven of which placed bids,” said Jeff Byce, president of Byce Auction LLC, Youngstown, which conducted the auction. The bankruptcy trustee and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court must still approve the sale before it is final.

“We had bidders from as far away as Chicago and Columbus, but the high bidder was local,” Byce said.

The Columbiana County auditor’s office assesses the building and its 2.8 acres at $585,000 for tax purposes. “I did feel we’d get more than $250,000,” Byce said. “When you have seven out of the eight who registered actually bidding, there was good competition for the property.”

The final sale could be presented to the court as early as the end of next week, Byce said.

Earlier in the month, the auction house hosted two public walk-throughs and five private showings, he added. However, Byce thinks that the auction’s online presence helped draw more interested buyers.

“We’ve worked hard as a local company to make the online auction experience relevant and successful,” Byce said. “We believe the future of all auctions is online.”

HR Evans filed an involuntary petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Chapter 7 liquidation in March, and the contents and equipment inside the building — except for the overhead cranes – were sold during an earlier sale. Bids for the property opened at $90,000, Byce said, and hit $260,000 after 21 incremental offers.

At one time, the building housed several companies including HR Evans, Hawkland Development, Dilworth Electric, Mark’s Home Carpet and a small pottery.

Local officials told The Business Journal in September that they would like to see the building used to support an emerging petrochemicals industry spurred by Royal Dutch Shell’s $6 billion ethane cracker plant, under construction just across the state border in Monaca, Pa. about 20 miles from the site.

“It was always my belief that someone locally would be the high bidder for this property,” Byce said. “Someone who might have a local use for the building.”

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.