By Ray Hardman
It’s not often that an entire village goes up for sale by bid, so last fall’s auction of Johnsonville drew a lot of attention. The 62-acre parcel of land in East Haddam, complete with eight buildings, a covered bridge, and a waterfall, went for a high bid of $1.9 million.
But that deal has now fallen through.
“The way that the auction ended was with the highest bidder who could not close the financing, or get its financing in place to acquire the property,” said Jim Kelly, broker for Figure Eight Properties in West Hartford.
Kelly, at the request of the owners Meyer Jabara Hotels, has put Johnsonville back on the market in a traditional listing. The listing price is $2.4 million.
Kelly said that even thought the auction deal went through, it could be a blessing in disguise. “We still have a handful of people interested from the original bidding pool, so now that spring has almost arrived, the interest level has spiked again,” he said, confident the property will be sold in the coming weeks.
In the 1870s, Johnsonville was a thriving mill town. In the 1960s, aerospace millionaire Raymond Schmitt purchased most of the property in town, and remade Johnsonville into a Victorian era-themed tourist attraction.
The village abruptly ceased operation in 1994, when Schmitt got into a dispute with town officials. The village has been abandoned ever since.