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Updated at 5:55am — White’s City Sells for $1.55 Million

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Unnamed buyer outbids city of Carlsbad for one parcel and its water rights.

White's City, a familiar tourist attraction located at the entrance of Carlsbad Caverns National Park, was sold at auction on Monday to an as-yet unnamed buyer, the Carlsbad Current-Argus reported.

The community and its surrounding 366 acres were sold for $1.55 million, according to Higgenbotham Auctioneers International, the company that handled the sale.

The city of Carlsbad tried unsuccessfully to buy one parcel with its associated water rights, but was outbid by the eventual buyer, the Current-Argus said.

The real estate portion of the sale originally was divided into 11 parcels, but Parcel 1 included about two-thirds of the total acreage, all of the estimated 460 acre-feet of daily potable water usage and was valued at about $4.6 million, according to Higgenbotham.

The auctioneers tried to start bidding on Parcel 1 at $5 million, but gradually lowered the opening bid because of a lack of early interest, the Current-Argus reported.

The first bid came from Carlsbad Mayor Bob Forrest who offered $500,000 on behalf of the city of Carlsbad and its interest in obtaining and protecting the property's water rights, the Current-Argus said.

A handful of bidders brought the price up to $1.1 million, and Carlsbad put in a high bid of $1.2 million for Parcel 1, and the auctioneers moved on to the 10 smaller parcels, the paper reported.

But in the end, bidders were offered the chance to own everything by bidding more than the sum of the separate parcel bids, and the $1.55 million bid carried the day, the Current-Argus said.

City Administrator Harry Burgess told the paper he believed a Carlsbad family had made the successful bid.

10:10am 7/4/08 — Buy Yourself a City on eBay: Starting bid for White's City, New Mexico, is $1 million, and it's just $5 mil to 'Buy It Now.'

You already knew that the entire town of White's City, just outside Carlsbad Caverns National Park, and surrounding areas were going on the auction block beginning at 11 a.m. July 14.

But it's already up for sale on the Web on … where else? … on eBay.

The starting bid on eBay is $1 million (that's already down from the $2 million opening bid reported this morning in the Carlsbad Current-Argus). And the "Buy It Now" price is a mere $5 million for the longtime tourist site that has two motels, an RV park, 25 campsites, a post office, grocery store, two restaurants, gift shops, a gas station, museum, ice cream parlor and even an opera house.

Online bidding ends on July 11, but there will also be Internet bidding during the auction by Higgenbotham Auctioneers International Ltd. that starts July 14.

"By listing this property on eBay, we provide our seller with access to the world's largest online database," Laura Whitt, Higgenbotham's national business director, said in a prepared statement. "eBay is a household name, and its users purchase everything from jewelry to airplanes, DVDs to real estate. It's a perfect fit for this unique property."

White's City is located off U.S. 62-180 about 20 miles southwest of Carlsbad. 

7:30am 6/17/08 — White's City for Sale: Entire town just outside Carlsbad Caverns will go on auction block July 14.

If you've ever wanted to call a town your own, you'll have the chance to bid on White's City and surrounding acreage just outside Carlsbad Caverns at an auction to begin at 11 a.m. July 14, the Carlsbad Current-Argus reported.

White's City, founded in the early 1920s by Charlie L. White and managed by the White family ever since, caters to tourists visiting Carlsbad Caverns National Park, the Current-Argus said.

"It's time to move on," Charles Dugger, oldest member of the family that has managed the town for four generations, told the paper. "We have spent our lives here. Our children have interest outside this area and have chosen not to continue. We are excited to offer this city, our home, to a new visionary that will continue its 80-year legacy."

The entire incorporated town will be put up for auction by Higgenbotham Auctioneers International, the Current-Argus said.

That includes two operating motels with 105 rooms, an RV park with 46 spaces, 25 campsites, a U.S. Post Office, a grocery store, two restaurants, gift shops, a museum, an opera house and an ice cream parlor — not to mention all the town's assets, including water rights for 460 acre-feet of daily potable water usage, the paper said.

And that's the only drinkable water for nearly 20 miles, according to a Higgenbotham news release.

Also to be sold at auction are the 30,000 items currently housed at White's City's Million Dollar Museum — including such curios as two-headed snakes, mysterious skulls, fireearms, fossils, carriages and southwestern antiquities, the Current-Argus said.

Those items will be offered individually in an auction to be held following the close of the real estate sale on July 14-16.

For more information, go to the Higgenbotham Auction Web site



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