The Shenandoah Valley-Herald
FORT VALLEY — Saturday’s auction of a $15 million self-sustaining “compound” developed by a devout Catholic man for his family was largely successful, according to auction management officials.
The 350-acre-plus property located at 1215 Narrow Path Road in Fort Valley, owned by Dr. William Sabates, was divided into 16 tracts of varying acreage. Five of those tracts were sold at the auction.
Don Boozer, of Alabama-based Redfield Group Auctions Inc., said the remaining 11 have failed to attract bids thus far. But, Boozer said, deals on several of the other tracts are in the works.
Sabates has owned the property for about 20 years, Boozer said.
According to Boozer, Sabates was a doctor in Florida before he gave up his practice to build a “self-sustaining lifestyle” in Virginia. He named the collection of homes and businesses “Familia Dei, The Village of Mount Zion,” where he has lived with his daughters and grandchildren.
“He felt like there was something more, so he sold his practice and clinics and came up here,” Boozer said.
Sabates created a subdivision on one side of the property, where he sold a number of homes, mainly to Catholic families.
Boozer said that Sabates was offered a business opportunity in the Midwest that prompted him to sell the land.
In all, eight homes are located on the property, as well as a chapel, commercial wood shop, a meat-processing building and a mechanical shop.
Boozer said the five sales completed during the auction were for tracts without buildings, and though offers were made on about five additional properties, no deals were struck.
“He wants to liquidate everything and use the money for another venture,” he said.
A collection of parcels described by Boozer as the “core” of the property is no longer being offered for sale separately. This area includes the chapel, stables and main pastures.
Several buyers have expressed interest in this property as a package, prompting the change on Saturday.
“It was determined that the best thing would be to not sell those pieces of the puzzle out and to keep it as an entire compound, so to speak, without holes in it,” he said. “If we don’t have a buyer we might go back to individual tracts.”
The entire property previously had been listed for sale for $15 million.
“It was sold for that, but it did not close,” Boozer said of an offer that was made prior to the auction. “They never followed through.”
For that reason, the property was up for auction as parcels that buyers could purchase either separately or in packages.
Although about 50 people attended the auction, Boozer said the online ad for the sale received more than 2,000 views, and “the phone continues to ring.”
“We are very confident that we’ll get the [entire] property sold within the next few weeks,” he said.