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Wayne County Tax Auction attracts thousands of bidders in Detroit

More and more money is pouring into the Wayne County Tax Foreclosure Auction this week.

As of Monday evening, $8.5 million has been bid on 5,694 properties in this week's auction. So far 730 bidders have purchased 2,622 properties in both the current auction and the previous auction in September. This week's auction is offering up just under 20,000 properties that range from single-family homes to apartment buildings to industrial complexes. A vast majority of these properties are located in Detroit.

Jerry Paffendorf is a co-founderer of Loveland Technologies, a Corktown-based software startup that owns WhyDontWeOwnThis.com. The website has been tracking the Wayne County Tax Foreclosure auctions for the last two years, mapping the properties and making the maze of information in the auction easily accessible to everyone. Here are some thoughts about this month's auction so far:

• There's a new biggest buyer, with 137 up near state fairgrounds: Benjamin Brothers;

• It looks like the Power House Project picked up 17 properties.

• It appears that Dennis Kefallinos bought another big building in Corktown. Kefallinos is a both a prominent and controversial developer in Detroit who owns several high-profile properties, including the Russell Industrial Center and Niki's Pizza in Greektown. He bought the Roosevelt Hotel near Slows at the county tax foreclosure auction two years ago

• Paffendorf toured 20 empty homes that are up for auction Monday, meeting maybe 15 neighbors. "None of them had any clue the auction was happening," Paffendorf wrote in an email.

• So far there are still 12,875 properties without bid, so things are roughly on track for 10,000 to be left behind. Tracking them after auction and helping to virtually land bank them will be interesting and important.

Source: Jerry Paffendorf, co-founder of WhyDontWeOwnThis.com
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.
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