NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Over 100 lots of dismantled commercial kitchen equipment, store fixtures, and refrigerators sit ready for a public auction on February 25 at the site of the shuttered SuperFresh on Kirkpatrick Street.
New Brunswick Parking Authority (NBPA), which owns the building and the equipment, recently contracted with commercial insolvency auctioneer, A.J. Willner Auctions, to conduct the auction at 11 a.m. on February 25.
Ahead of the live auction, online bidding has already begun. With two hours to go before the live auction, the most popular item was an “Ice-o-matic Cubed Ice Maker And Ice Box” that garnered 22 online bids.
Owner Harry Byrnes told New Brunswick Today everything was “in excellent condition,” and “seems to be recently acquired,” by NBPA.
The equipment was first used in 2012 by theFreshGrocer, a market that abruptly left town, owing the Parking Authority more than $1 million in back rent that was never recovered.
After sitting vacant for over a year, the NBPA space was rented to another supermarket operator who opened up a “Key Food Marketplace,” again using the authority’s equipment in an unusual arrangement.
Key Food was eventually renamed SuperFresh, and that store closed last year, as we reported. That operator owes the NBPA $768,997 in back rent.
On January 22, the NBPA Board of Commissioners voted to authorize the auction of the equipment used at the SuperFresh. It’s apparent they’ve given up on using the space as a supermarket, and are working with Pierson Commercial Real Estate to find a new tenant.
The traditional “live out cry” auction format will coincide with a simulcast of internet bidding, according to Byrnes. “One of my associates is stationed on a laptop computer during the auction. They are responsible to convey the internet bids in real time during the live auction event.”
When the live auction begins “we offer each item in lot number order,” explained Byrnes, adding that, the highest pre-bid in the online bidding will be recognized as the opening bid.
Bidders from either the online bidding platform or those present at the auction can bid incrementally higher, explained Byrnes, noting that the technology provides online bidders with the ability to bid in real time against those present on-site.
“One of my associates is stationed on a laptop computer during the auction,” said Byrnes.
“They are responsible to convey the internet bids in real time during the live auction event. As long as the connectivity is good, there is very little lag time and the process is very efficient. The obvious advantage to having the internet bidding component is increased participation, however there is a greater default rate from online bidders and they take longer to pick up. Therefore it’s not right for every auction scenario.”
Potential bidders can view online photos of everything on the auction block, including:
- the aluminum bistro tables and chairs that still sit in the seating area
- the Vulcan branded gas convection ovens
- flat and char grills
- stainless steel triple well sinks
- stainless steel prep tables of all sizes
- check out resister fixtures
- deli cases
- Hatco brand food warming lights
- Continental brand 3-door freezer case, soda cases
- Continental bramd triple door refrigerated case
- Hoshizaki brand ice makers, a wok range and several Dean brand fryers, among other equipment.
Byrnes, also current President of the New Jersey State Society of Auctioneers, said “NBPA has gone through great lengths to professionally dismantle the fixtures and refrigeration in order to expedite the removal process.”
But he declined to give a figure for the “anticipated auction value,” citing company policy.
A.J. Wilner is a commercial insolvency auctioneer specializing in commercial and industrial auctions, bankruptcy liquidations, real estate auctions, and business sales. They are based in Riverdale, New Jersey, with another office in Phoenix, Arizona.
Dave is an award-winning business reporter who has authored over 200 articles for New Brunswick Today.