A half-finished building blighted by rats and suspicions of ‘illegal behaviour’ has been sold – for three times its asking price.
Hopes have now been raised among community leaders in Darnall that the building, on Main Road near the junction with Greenland Road, will have a brighter future.
Two of three retail units on its ground floor are let to a sandwich shop and hairdressers - but the three flats upstairs were never finished.
Blundells Auctioneers had set a guide price of £65,000, but when it went under the hammer the building sold for £158,000.
Sylvia Hamilton, who chairs Darnall Forum, said: “We need extra housing in Darnall so hopefully this sale will improve things – although it depends who has taken it on and what they plan to do.”
The sale was handled by Lucy Crapper, landing her the Most Notable Auction award at Auction House UK’s annual conference.
Ms Crapper said: “As the flats were never finished and therefore empty, they became derelict and fell into ill use, with rumours of illegal activities, as often happens to empty properties in any city.
“After being instructed by receivers on behalf of a bank who were disposing of the property, I went to inspect it.
“There were no windows, doors or access to the flats and when I first arrived at site to conduct my appraisal I was confronted – and chased out – by rats!”
But she added: “The lot was listed and immediately attracted massive attention from the local community.
“Bidding on auction day was furious. The building eventually sold for a staggering £158,000, which just goes to show that run down and neglected properties can nevertheless be much sought-after when people recognise the value of bringing buildings in their community back into good use.
“We look forward to its chequered past being put behind it as the building is transformed for the future.”