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Fort Drum Vehicle Storage warehouse goes up for auction next week

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The owners of Fort Drum Vehicle Storage may have some stiff competition in buying back their West Main Street warehouse from the city.

At least one other party has expressed interest in purchasing the building at 753 Rear W. Main St. when it goes up for sale during a public auction Oct. 10. City Comptroller James E. Mills said Tuesday that an attorney approached him about acquiring the property, although he did not know the client’s identity.

Owners JoAnn Sanchez-Norquist and John S. Norquist lost the property in July after they failed to pay $17,776.37 in back taxes. Two weeks ago, the Watertown City Council decided against selling it back to the Evans Mills couple for that amount and any expenses the city has incurred since the June 26 deadline passed.

Seven years ago, Fort Drum Vehicle Storage was formed to serve deploying soldiers in need of a safe place to store their vehicles. It had stored about 90 vehicles in the now-vacant West Main Street building.

Watertown attorney Andrew N. Capone, who is representing the company’s owners, said Tuesday they still plan to try to reacquire the building. The owners have been using other sites in the region to store soldiers’ vehicles until the situation with the warehouse is straightened out, he said.

“We fully intend to put a bid on it,” Mr. Capone said, threatening to take court action if the city accepts a lower bid than his clients’.

Mr. Mills said Tuesday he has not heard from the previous owners since they unsuccessfully tried to persuade council members to sell it back to them. The city is requiring a minimum bid of $20,000 for the warehouse.

The warehouse is among 16 properties and tax certificates for two other properties that go up for auction at 6 p.m. Oct. 10 in the third-floor council chambers in City Hall, 245 Washington St. All the properties’ owners owe back taxes.

Thursday and Friday, the city will hold open houses for the properties’ sale from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Interested parties will have 75 minutes to go through each of the buildings. For more detailed information, call the city comptroller’s office at 785-7754.

On the day of the auction, successful bidders must give the city 10 percent of what they offered for the properties. The City Council has the final say on which bidders get the properties.

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