OSTERVILLE — Nearly 80 people crowded onto the sidewalks of downtown Osterville yesterday for the foreclosure auction of one of the village's central properties.
After a flurry of bidding, the building, which runs from 846 to 858 Main Street, garnered a high offer of $1.9 million from Gene Crowley, a Natick-based commercial real estate investor.
"It's a great community and a great location within it," Crowley said after the auction.
Though he does not yet have any plans for the building, he said, he did plan to spend yesterday afternoon visiting each tenant on the property.
The unusually large crowd that gathered for the auction included 13 registered bidders, employees and managers from area businesses, real estate agents and other interested observers.
"It's a marquee property in a beautiful town," said Daniel McLaughlin auctioneer, whose company handled yesterday's auction. "We had a good crowd today."
Bidders reported that they were drawn to the property in part by its affluent neighborhood.
"Osterville is a strong market for higher-end businesses that do a great deal of volume," said registered bidder Thomas George. "And it's got a good mix of tenants."
The sale of such a large property — the building is more than 20,000 square feet — is also uncommon in the area, said auction attendee Cecilia Carey, of Carey Commercial in Hyannis.
"Commercial property of this magnitude rarely comes up for sale" in Osterville, she said.
Current tenants of the building expressed some uncertainty about the future after the auction.
"It certainly depends on what the gentleman wants to do with the building," said Sue Nesbit, who has run home and gift shop Oyster Island Emporium in the building for eight years.
Kim Barnocky-Grossman, office manager and broker at real estate agency Engel & Völkers, said she hoped Crowley would decide the current tenants are worth keeping.
"We're hoping that this new person is going to see the value of having us as an anchor," she said.
Other businesses occupying space in the building include Osterville House & Garden, Upstairs Imports, Books by the Sea, Gone Chocolate and a lending office of Cape Cod Cooperative Bank.
Before the foreclosure, the property was owned by Paceline L.P., whose sole officer is listed in state corporations records as Benjamin Kjoller, who also runs Osterville House & Garden. The foreclosure proceedings were initiated by South Shore Savings Bank.
Kjoller was not in the store yesterday and did not respond to a request for comment.
According to the town of Barnstable's assessment records, Paceline bought the property for $2.38 million from Robert Kjoller in 2008. The property's 2010 assessed value was $1.83 million.