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House owned by public utility JEA up for sale

8:55 AM, Oct 24, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Did you know that you bought a home on the St. Johns River?

Well, the money you spent on your utilities did.

Public Utility JEA bought the waterfront property in 2011, and now it's up for grabs.

JEA bought the property for $590,000. The idea was to run a pipe right along this driveway back to the river. If you like what you see, it could all be yours. 

3 beds, 3 bath, a fabulous boat slip and pool! Brandon Wesley would have jumped at the chance to sell the house next door.

"Off the back of this house, there's none other. This is one of the more dynamic views in Northeast Florida," Wesley said.

A real estate agent in training, he said JEA would have made a smart investment ... if they were the housing authority.  

"They're not going to take a hit because they made a bad investment. This neighborhood on the corner with a view," he said.

City statute requires that all city property be sold at public auction. so this Saturday, 904 Rio Drive is going on the market.

The only problem?

The assessed value of the property is now $401,000. That's $189,000 dollars less than what the city paid for it.

JEA Spokesperson Gerri Boyce told First Coast News they got the property for 20 percent less than the asking price in 2011.

The idea was to run a pipeline from the river through the front yard to bring water from the west to the east side of the river...

But that plan was scrapped when they found a way to do it cheaper by running the pipe down Arlington Expressway.

Boyce said it saved the city money on the 50 million dollar project and Wesley gives them points for thinking ahead.

"The gift is that you're prepared, the curse is you're going to waste our money," he said.

He said there's no way of knowing how much the property will go for at the auction Saturday, but if they lose money, he wouldn't be surprised.

"It happens all the time in Jacksonville. This isn't the first thing I've seen in terms of poor city planning.

It's all locked up now, but the property will be open for tours for prospective bidders on Friday before the auction Saturday.

First Coast News

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