ESSEX, Conn. — An unusual southern New England marina was sold in an odd fashion on Tuesday.
Essex Island Marina, based on a 13.2-acre private island off the Connecticut River and about five nautical miles north of Long Island Sound, was sold in an “absolute auction,” which meant the marina would go to the winning bidder, regardless of price. A $75,000 deposit was required from potential buyers on auction day in order to join the bidding.
The heavily promoted auction drew more than 125 people — marina owners, investors, lawyers, accountants and the curious — to this sleepy, nautically historic port town in southeastern Connecticut.
The winning bid for the 125-slip marina complex was $3.15 million and it came from local marina magnate Jack Brewer, who during the last half-century built Brewer Yacht Yards from a single small boatyard to 23 full-service marinas from New York to Maine.
The terms of the auction include payment of a certified 10 percent deposit of the winning bid within three business days of the auction and payment of the full price 45 days after the close of the auction.
Brewer declined to comment on his plans for the property. His Brewer Dauntless Shipyard & Marina is next door to Essex Island Marina.
The auction, conducted by Massachusetts-based JJ Manning Auctioneers, took an hour, but the flurry of bids, which started at $1.5 million, came during the last 15 minutes after auctioneer Justin Manning laid out the ground rules.
Manning added some levity as the bids ratcheted incrementally higher and higher bids were growing increasingly scarce.
“Raise your hand if you’re having fun,” he said shortly after cautioning those in attendance to be careful of their hand gestures during the bidding.
The property is owned by Wallie Schieferdecker, who operates the marina with his two grown daughters. Schieferdecker’s parents bought the marina in 1955. He says he made the sale because he plans to retire.
The site, which includes a small fleet of pontoon ferries to shuttle patrons from land to the island, has 125 boat slips from 30 to 50 feet, a gas dock, a restaurant, a repair shop, inside and outside boat storage facilities, an in-ground swimming pool, a laundry and shower facilities and a dog walk.
Annual real estate and personal property taxes total about $28,000.