Historic Dillon House auction earns highest bid of $700,000

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$700,000 – that was the highest bid at Tuesday’s auction for the historic Dillon House.

In a matter of minutes, Ross Freeman puts a $700,000 price tag on 12,000 square feet of history.

“I’ve already got my office picked out on the third floor,” Freeman says.

He’s the president of real estate development company Pioneer Group, Inc. which specializes in historic rehabilitation, and says this Topeka trademark, which dates back to WWI is the perfect home for his company offices.

“This is going to be a very expensive undertaking to say the least, but we think it’ll be a good signature piece for the kind of work that we do,” Freeman adds.

He expects he’ll chalk up another $3.5 million in renovations, “So all total would be 4.2.”

Back in February, Freeman bid just more than $200,000 on the house and another bidder offered $350,000 but the state said that wasn’t enough.

“So we knew it would go somewhere above that, I didn’t think $700,000,” Freeman says.

“The competitive nature of the auctions is what drives the success of the auctions,” adds one of the auctioneers.

Freeman will pay more than he originally planned, but says it’s worth it for a rich piece of history.

“It’s such a diamond in the rough, a great location, and so a lot of people drive by it and see it and from that standpoint it will be a good advertisement for us,” he says.

Before the sale with the state is official, Freeman has to hammer out a contract with the Secretary of Administration. If they can do that within 45 days, it then goes to the State Finance Council, which has the final say on if Freeman is the new owner of the property.

A spokesperson with the Department of Administration says their goal is to get a contract to the finance council by next month. He anticipates a “successful contract” because Freeman has experience dealing with historic buildings.

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