Courthouse auction takes a twist as bidding continues

2013-05-07T21:04:00Z 2013-05-09T16:19:05Z Courthouse auction takes a twist as bidding continuesBy CLAIR JOHNSON The Billings Gazette

The online auction of the former James F. Battin Federal Courthouse took a twist Tuesday as two bidders continued battling for the five-story building in downtown Billings.

The General Services Administration, which is running the sale, said that beginning at 10 a.m. Thursday, the bid interval will be shortened to two hours. If a high bid is not overtaken in two hours, the sale will close.

The latest high bid Tuesday was $2,255,000 from bidder 6 at 10:59 a.m., which reset and extended the countdown clock to 10 a.m. Thursday. Eight minutes earlier, bidder 3 had placed an offer for $2,230,000.

Bidders are identified only by their number. Bidders 3 and 6 have been the only potential buyers since the auction hit the $1 million mark. Offers have been going up in roughly $25,000 increments.

Before Tuesday, a high bid had to remain for 24 hours before the auction could close. Bidding began April 23.

Completed in 1965, the courthouse housed the U.S. District Court and other federal agencies. Asbestos contamination led to the construction of a new, $80 million courthouse, which opened last fall about a block south at 2601 Second Ave. N.

The remaining federal agencies will soon move into a new $30 million office building at 2021 Fourth Ave. N.



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