July 4, 2022

No Sale at Auction of Ivoryton Piano Factory but Deal for a Sale Possible

ESSEX— There was no sale Thursday at the auction of the former Pratt, Read & Company piano factory complex in Ivoryton, but a sale of the historic property is possible with the sole bidder.

The 18.5-acre parcel with a seven-building, 150,900 square-foot red brick factory complex was put up for auction Thursday by the current owner, Piano Factory Business Park of Windsor, Vt. The complex, mostly constructed in the late 19th century, was the home of the Pratt, Read & Company  piano works that turned African ivory in to piano keys and gave the village of Ivoryton its name. Most of the complex has been vacant since the late 1980s.

There was only one bidder Thursday at the auction conducted by the Aaron Posnik auction firm of Springfield, Mass., Evan Blum of Irreplaceable Artifacts. The company, with retail sites in New York City and on Main Street in Middletown, recycles and sells ornamental artifacts and furnishings from historic buildings around the northeastern states.

Auctioneer Corey Fisher started the bidding at $350,000 after announcing the auction was a “confirmation sale,” with representatives of the owner, who were present at the auction, having a minimum sale price in mind. After Blum bid $300,000 for the property, Fisher announced there would be no sale because Blum’s bid did not meet the owner’s confirmation price. The auction was over in less than ten minutes, but Blum then spent several minutes conferring with representatives of the owner after the auction ended.

Blum said he expects to negotiate a sale with the owner, possibly by the end of the month. “I wasn’t going to sell at $350,000,” he said. Blum said he believes he has “the ideal use,” for the historic complex as a storage and possible sales site for the tens of thousands of ornamental architectural remains, artifacts, and furnishings acquired and owned by his business. Blum said he would retain most of the structures if he is able to purchase the property.