Wells Fargo buys Turnage Theater

Published 9:23 pm Monday, November 5, 2012

John Gardner, an attorney with the Raleigh-based law firm K & L Gates LLP, acting as trustee for TRSTE, Inc., reads the legal notice for the sale of the Turnage Theater on the Beaufort County Courthouse steps yesterday. The property sold to Wells Fargo Bank, NA, for $442,800. (WDN Photo/Vail Stewart Rumley)


A single bid of $442,800 placed the Turnage Theater in the hands of new ownership: Wells Fargo Bank, NA.

The auction took place yesterday on the steps of the Beaufort County Courthouse in front of a crowd of spectators and interested parties. John Gardner, an attorney with the Raleigh-based law firm K & L Gates LLP, acting as trustee for TRSTE, Inc., presided over the sale.

While the reading of the legal notice took several minutes, once the request for bids came, the single bid, by Gardner, brought the auction swiftly to a close.

“If there is no bidding, the bank generally takes the property back,” Gardner said. Gardner explained that the Wells Fargo bid is now subject to the upset bid process, in which a ten-day window allows for other bids, five percent over the current sale price, along with a cash deposit of five percent, to continue the process.

If there are no other bids on the theater, the bank will close on the property and move it to Wells Fargo’s Owned Real Estate (ORE) department where its market value will be determined.

Washington City Manager Josh Kay, who was in attendance, said afterward he was not surprised by the outcome of yesterday’s sale.
“We knew that the outstanding mortgage was just over $1 million, so the opening bid by the bank seemed realistic in order for them to protect themselves,” Kay said.

Kay, on behalf of the City of Washington, sent a letter of intent to purchase the property for $150,000 in cash to the Turnage trustee last week, but the offer was not accepted before the sale.

Gardner said that once market value was determined, the Turnage Theater would be put up for sale by the bank.

“I’m sure (the bank) would listen to any parties interested in purchasing it,” Gardner said.

Kay said the city’s next step in regard to the Turnage Theater is unclear, but that council would be discussing the matter in closed session at the Washington City Council’s meeting last night.

“We’ll talk about what just happened and if there are any next steps,” Kay said.