Both Watermark Tower and the Caldwell Building sold at auction Thursday afternoon, according to Gadsden firm Target Auctions.
Company president Dewey Jacobs said that he wouldn’t be able to disclose the buyers or the amounts they paid until closing on the properties wrapped up, which would take 30 days.
According to auction listings on the firm’s website, the Caldwell Building’s high bid was $277,500 (though the reserve price wasn’t met) and the highest bid for Watermark Tower was $300,000 (that auction met reserve). There were 40 bids for Caldwell, but just 11 for Watermark Tower.
“They’re two prominent buildings, so hopefully they take it to the next level, get some tenants in there and get (those buildings) going,” Jacobs said.
Watermark Tower, a 1927 construction that stands 11 stories tall, was previously the AmSouth building, and the Commercial National Bank building before that. It was appraised at $1.2 million in 2015, according to auction documents. The building sold for $1.16 million in 2010 to the last owner, according to county tax records; the current sale price is about $900,000 less. Those same county tax records count Watermark’s appraised value for the 2019 fiscal year at $813,600.
The Caldwell Building was built in 1889, and previously housed the Crimson Tiger and Caldwell Tavern clubs. According to auction information, it appraised for $642,000 in 2012; county tax records for 2019 appraised the building and land at $417,280.
Anniston city manager Jay Johnson said that low sale prices might not be a negative; the new building owners may have leftover capital to work with, allowing for renovations and upgrades. He also said that some downtown auctions have failed in the past, so the sale itself was a win for the city.
“If these have in fact sold, I’m encouraged by that,” he said.