A house in the Old Belleville Historic District is going up for auction, along with 300 other properties and 43 mobile homes, Oct. 25.
The property, at 523 Abend Street, was built in the 1800s as a combination grocery store and residence, according to Larry Betz, president of the Belleville Historical Society.
“This house has a pretty good history,” he said, but it’s been vacant for many years.
Since then, the Historical Society has maintained the outside of the property. The group hopes the one-story brick home is sold to someone who can restore it. Homes in the district must maintain brick exteriors, wooden window frames and other touches to make them blend with the era in which they were built. Owners are free to modify the inside of homes however they wish, Betz said.
No one knows exactly when the house was built, but it is believed to date to the 1870s.
The properties, most of which start at $750 apiece, are up for sale after the previous owners were three years delinquent on property taxes and no one acquired the properties by buying their tax liens.
Unlike tax liens — in which someone pays the back taxes on a property and keeps paying them for three years during which the owner has a chance to pay the owed taxes — this auction consists of the homes whose taxes nobody wanted to buy, explained Bill Krieger, the sales manager for Joseph E. Meyer and Associates Inc., the firm running the tax sale.
Once a house goes away, it goes forever.
Larry Betz, president, Belleville Historical Society
Now, St. Clair County is the trustee for the homes, and it’s just looking to find new owners and get the properties on the tax rolls again. Those who successfully bid on the properties will not have to pay back taxes.
Krieger expects about 250 people to attend the sale. It is at 7 p.m. in the St. Clair County Board Room at the Courthouse. The firm also accepts written bids; they must be received by the firm at P.O. Box 96 in Edwardsville by 5 p.m. Oct. 18.
Krieger said he expects about half of the properties to sell for a total of $750,000. After, that money will be dispersed to the taxing districts, including schools, police and other entities.
There are 99 real estate properties for sale in Cahokia, the most out of any municipality in the county. Belleville has 16. Some commercial properties are also up for sale, including a large shed with 3.8 acres at 6501 St. Clair Avenue in East St. Louis, and a small store at 1016 West Main St. in Belleville. Both have starting bids of $750.
People interested in learning about the properties can go to iltaxsale.com.
The old grocery store and residence in Belleville’s Historic District may not be for everyone, Betz said, and the Historical Society is hoping that it goes to the right people or, at the very least, that a “slum lord,” who Betz fears would perform only minimal repairs to the building before renting it, doesn’t get it.
If no one buys it, the society would consider getting a loan to purchase the property, he said. Given the shape it’s in, buying it would save it from the threat of demolition, which struck the property on the opposite corner.
That home was torn down in the spring after a fire, which, even though it was contained to one room, became a pressure point for neighbors to persuade the city to demolish it.
“Once a house goes away, it goes forever,” Betz said.
At a glance
There are 99 real estate properties for sale in Cahokia, the most out of any municipality in the county. Belleville has 16. Some commercial properties are also up for sale.