9:55 a.m.: With about two hours left before the auction was to close, the courthouse received two more bids with the newest offer being $150,509. The bidder, identified as "Bidder #3", had previously offered $50,500.
The countdown clock reset with this newest offer. Unless more bids come in, the sale will end at about 9:30 a.m. on Thursday.
INITIAL REPORT: An online auction to sell the former federal courthouse in downtown Billings had attracted four bids by Tuesday evening, with the latest high bid at $75,509.
While the federal General Services Administration set Tuesday as the deadline to submit bids, bidding will continue until 24 hours have passed without another offer.
“The GSA conducts online auctions as automated versions of live auctions, and as such it’s where the bid ends, not where they start, that counts,” said John Robinson, GSA’s Real Property Branch chief in Dallas.
The GSA is selling the former James F. Battin Courthouse, 316 N. 26th St., which was replaced last fall with a new $80 million federal courthouse about a block to the south. Remaining federal workers in the old courthouse will move later this spring to a new $30 million office building at 2021 Fourth Ave. N.
GSA has been marketing the old courthouse on its website and has given tours of the five-story, 221,000-square-foot building to possible buyers and contractors. The property has a 56-space parking garage underground.
Asbestos contamination in the building ultimately led to the construction of the new courthouse and office building.
The minimum bid was $1. GSA started receiving bids Monday. The first bid was for $113 on Monday afternoon, followed by a second offer of $25,113 late Tuesday morning. Within an hour, two more bids were submitted, one for $50,500, followed by the current high bid of $75,509. Bidding increments were $25,000, GSA’s website said.