CROWN POINT | Close to 50 people gathered on the front lawn of a home Saturday afternoon just south of the city's downtown square for a chance to buy a city-owned home at auction.
Twenty five bidders registered for a chance to buy the home at 301 W. South Street near the intersection of South and West streets and just west of Court Street.
The city bought the home eight years ago hoping to use it as part of a stormwater improvement project. That project was later scrapped, leaving the city with the 1,690-square-foot, three-bedroom home and the half-acre of property on which it sits.
The home, built in 1965, has been vacant for many years and needs repair.
Jim Bednar of Bednar Auction Service in Crown Point conducted the auction and told bidders the house sits on "one of the largest lots in Crown Point."
Bednar started the bidding at $170,000 and brought it down to $50,000 before receiving the opening bid.
Seth Eenigenburg, 25, of Crown Point, cast the winning bid of $95,000. He said he saw signs advertising the auction and decided to bid on it.
Eenigenburg is engaged to be married in November and plans to live in the home and raise his family there.
"I'm excited," Eenigenburg said. "I can't wait."
Eenigenburg, who works at Subaru of Merrillville, plans to rehab the home along with his recently retired grandfather, Arnie De Jong, former owner of the Subaru dealership.
Keith Stevens, Crown Point chief of staff, said he was pleased with the outcome of the auction and that the home will be owner-occupied.
"I'm very grateful we'll have a city resident," Stevens said. "For the city, the use has long since expired."
Bednar said the home generated great interest.
"A lot of it depends on location and this is truly an example of location, location, location," Bednar said. "You get everything from sightseers to people who flip to the young man who bought it and wants to live here and raise a family."