Online auction for old federal courthouse to close

2013-04-16T15:34:00Z 2013-05-13T17:03:08Z Online auction for old federal courthouse to closeBy CLAIR JOHNSON The Billings Gazette

Buyers interested in the former federal courthouse in downtown Billings have until April 23 to submit bids in an online public auction.

The federal General Services Administration announced Tuesday that final bids for the former James F. Battin Courthouse, 316 N. 26th St., must be received by next Tuesday.

Another tour of the building will be conducted at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

“Auction registration is still open and will remain open until the last bid is cast,” said Sally Mayberry, GSA spokeswoman in Denver, in a news release.

If a bid is received by the deadline, GSA will continue rolling over the closing date and time until 24 hours have passed without a bid. This form of auction, the agency said, has brought bids higher than the fair-market value because of the national exposure on GSA's website.

No bids had been received as of Tuesday afternoon, according to the GSA’s website,, where a clock is ticking down the minutes.

The minimum bid is $1 for the 221,000 square-foot, five-story building, which has a 56-car underground parking lot. Bidders have to provide a $45,000 refundable registration deposit for the sale and to bid on the property, Mayberry said.

GSA put the former courthouse on its online auction block in February after declaring the building surplus property.

Seven people, including contractors looking to offer their services to whoever may purchase the building, toured the building on March 13. 

Some of the potential buyers on the tour said there probably wouldn’t be any bids until there was a specific closing date.

GSA’s listing calls the sale “a unique opportunity to acquire a significant building located in the Central Business District of Billings.” The building is offered “as is, where is.”

Asbestos contamination in the old courthouse ultimately led to the construction of a new $80 million federal courthouse that opened last fall a block away. Another $30 million federal office building is under construction at 2021 Fourth Ave. N. and will house the remaining federal employees still working in the old courthouse. The new office building is set to be occupied by late spring.

Information about the auction is available by contacting William Morgan at 817-978-4239 or and by visiting or



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