No takers for Burrawang Café in Southern Highlands as reverse auction stops at $1.5 million

The reverse auction of the historic Burrawang Café in the Southern Highlands held on Sunday attracted three registered bidders and a large crowd came to watch but it failed to sell.

The auction was called by well-known  auctioneer Damian Cooley and set aside when the price fell to $1.5 million, having begun at $1.68 million.

Local Southern Highlands agent Rick Mooney from Raine & Horne, who holds the listing, is currently in negotiations with all interested parties and hopeful of achieving a sale shortly.

Under a reverse auction, the price starts at market value (set by the vendor) – above the reserve price – and decreases until a bid is placed that is the winning bid. The winning bid is the first bidder to put their hand up.

Cooley used the visual aid of a red and green light to conduct the auction.

When the price reached the vendor’s bottom line, a red light was displayed and the auction stopped. While the green light was on the property could still be bought during the auction.

The property, at 11 Hoddle Street in Burrawang, had last traded for $690,000 in June 2002, according to RP Data records.

“There was a terrific crowd of over 150 people, which for Burrawang is an enormous turn-out," Cooley tells Property Observer.

“Although it did not sell at auction, it was a great success and a credit to Raine & Horne Bowral for their marketing.”

The café has been listed for sale since July last year with an original asking price in excess of $2 million.

Prior to the auction, a spokesperson for NSW Office of Fair Trading confirmed to Property Observer that there was “nothing unlawful about conducting an auction of residential property and rural land using the reverse auction process as long as all statutory obligations are met”.

However, the spokesperson said a there may be “a number of practical difficulties” the most obvious being where two bids are made at the same price by different registered bidders”.

“If this were to arise, the auction conditions would need to deal with how to resolve the matter.”

In this regard, Cooley said it would be up at his discretion and he would accept the bid in which in his opinion is in the best interest of the vendor.

“If there is a dispute in the bidding the auctioneers/my decision is final.”

Burrawang Cafe is located in the main street of Burrawang, about 12 minutes to Bowral.

It dates back to the 1860s and has been fully restored.

The café and Bower Cottage (also of 1860s vintage) stand on a half-acre (0.2-hectare) block, and both are currently leased on rolling monthly leases.

Burrawang General Store Cafe is a fully operational 100-seat timber restaurant featuring floodlit barrel ceilings. It is fully licensed and includes a 3,000-bottle cellar, a landscaped and manicured English garden and a separate office.

Bower Cottage is a fully renovated three-bedroom weatherboard home on the same title complete with a promenade balcony and polished floors. It features a living and dining area with garden views, a fireplace with access to an alfresco entertaining area. It also includes a separate studio.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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