uptown theater

Zero Bids on Uptown Theatre in Final Days of Auction

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — With just two days left on the auction of the former Uptown Theatre, auctioneers are still waiting for the first bid.

Trent Daily, auctioneer with Burgan Auctions, is overseeing the auction of the historic theater and adjoining bar at 2728 Market Street. Bidding began at 9 a.m. on Dec. 1, but as of Monday evening there were no bids made on the property, Daily confirmed. Bidding for the online auction closes Wednesday at 6 p.m.

The lack of bids is a surprise to Daily, who said initial interest had been strong. The newly formed auction division of Burgan Real Estate heavily marketed the auction, sending postcards to owners of commercial real estate along Market Street, as well as out-of-town investors, he said.

That was supplemented with a Facebook post of a picture of the Uptown with a question prompting visitors to comment with the last movie they remember seeing at the theater. The original post received several comments and was shared about 500 times, he said.

“It generated a lot of interest at first,” Daily said. “But nobody wanted to take it on.”

Renovating the building will be a project, he admits. The seats in the main area and in the balcony are still intact, as are the two one-bedroom apartments upstairs. The building needs to be cleaned out and painted, have plumbing and electrical work done, and needs new walls. The current owners did some roof work, but one of the back corners needs sealed.

The property includes an attached bar that “is actually a blank slate,” and the owners have an option on a vacant lot next to the bar that could be converted into parking, Daily said.

Daily held an open-house for the property from noon to 1 p.m. on Sunday and had five people walk through it. He also had some potential bidders call about the property. In his 12 years in the real estate auction business, Daily has seen some auctions where bidders wait until the last minute to bid, and he’s optimistic that will be the case come Wednesday.

“Sometimes people do wait for the zero hour to place a bid,” he said.

Renovating the theater would be an ideal project to coincide with the revitalization of Youngstown, he said, and “would be a great start” to seeing that revitalization work its way up Market Street. The Uptown Theatre was built in 1926 and over the years billed itself as “Youngtown’s Luxury Theater” as it hosted plays, musicals and movie screenings and served as the home of Easy Street Productions.

If the auction closes Wednesday with zero bids, Daily may approach the owner about listing the property conventionally, he said. Interested investors can place a bid at BurganAuctions.com after creating a profile to log in and bid. The opening bid is $20,000 will increase in $500 increments.

Burgan Real Estate formed its auction division a few months ago and have had three auctions so far, said Sue Filipovich, broker and co-owner of the company. The goal is to be a more full-service company for customers looking to buy or sell properties at auction, she said. Online auctions give the properties worldwide exposure, she said, and auctions are usually ideal for buyers looking to invest money into a property.

“Most of the time these are properties that might need some improvements made to them,” she said. “That’s what we’re hoping for with the Uptown. Someone who has a vision for our Valley.”

Auctions are also good for sellers who need to sell very fast “and not be guaranteed a price,” she added. After the first year, she expects the auction division to make up 5% of business at Burgan, and increase each year thereafter, she said.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.