An unusual downtown property is headed to auction next month.
Motleys Asset Disposition Group will sell the 2.82-acre Vauxhall Island, which sits offshore of the north bank of the James River.
The island, which is upstream of the Mayo Bridge and adjacent to the river’s great blue heron nesting site, has a billboard that draws a rent of about $36,000 a year.
The auction is being handled by Sperry Van Ness/Motleys, the commercial real estate division of Motleys Auction & Realty, in a sealed-bid process. Bids are due to the auction company by 3 p.m. Dec. 11. An opening bid price is not listed.
Tim Dudley of Sperry Van Ness/Motleys said the auction company is working with the city and Army Corps of Engineers to determine what uses would be permitted on the island, which sits near the “pipeline” rapids that are popular with fish heading upstream and kayakers heading downstream.
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Dudley said that until potential uses are determined, an opening bid price cannot be set.
Only accessible by an abandoned rail line or over water, Vauxhall is prone to flooding, and it often serves as an overnight spot for the homeless.
Vauxhall and other small islands nearby sit in the fall line, where the James runs through a shallow, fast-moving stretch. Deep-bottom vessels were unable to travel above the fall line, which fueled Richmond’s development at that spot.
Deep-draft vessels coming from the Atlantic Ocean or other points down the James would dock at Richmond and offload their cargo, which would head farther west on bateau boats and later on the railroads.
Richmond’s riverfront development plans say the island was at one point accessible from a footbridge that led to the Mayo Bridge. Visitors could walk to the island and “enjoy barbecue, a barroom, a shuffleboard court, fishing and other amusements.”
Vauxhall Island isn’t the only James River property on the market. Nearby Mayo Island, which covers 15 acres, was listed for sale in July. Mayo Island is zoned M-1, a light industrial designation. Brokers seeking to sell about 13.6 acres on the island have set an asking price of $10 million.