BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. — The former Coolfont ReCreation on Cold Run Valley Road sold at auction Tuesday in parcels.
The entire 988-acre property was divided into nine parcels. The total sale price was $2.673 million, including a 10 percent buyer’s premium.
Approximately 100 people attended the auction, held at Cacapon Resort State Park. The seller and auctioneers hoped to sell the entire property in one sweep, but offered it in individual parcels first.
Coolfont first opened in 1965 and was known for its lodging, spa and wellness center, conference center, and recreational facilities. It also featured the Treetop House Restaurant, a popular destination for local residents.
The Carl M. Freeman Companies purchased the property in 2005 for an undisclosed amount with hopes of turning it into a world-class resort. In 2006, company president Joshua Freeman was killed in a helicopter crash in Delaware. Plans for Coolfont were put on hold, and it fell into disrepair. The property had been for sale with a list price of $9.5 million before Hall and Hall Auctions of Eaton, Colorado, announced the auction.
Larry Omps and family members were the high bidders on three parcels totaling $409 acres, for a price of $1.41 million.
“We are not sure of our plans yet,” Omps said. “The family members will decide how to handle the properties.”
Omps and his family members have several business interests in Berkeley Springs, including a hardware business, the Country Inn, Best Western and other ventures.
Hurley Auctions represented another company in acquiring 382-acre parcel for $330,000.
Judy Bartenstein and Mike Carleton own property in nearby Coolfont Mountainside Association. They came out of curiosity, and did bid on a parcel. They didn’t get it, but said the length of the auction and process was very different from any others they had experienced.
“I know some people were apprehensive of our process at first,” Scott Shuman of Hall and Hall said of the unusual auction process. “But it is a fair process. No one had any advantage over another. Everybody had the opportunity to bid on each tract. It took longer, but we didn’t rush anybody.”
Monica Ullom purchased for $160,000 a home on North Washington Street that had been used by Freeman Companies as an office. Ullom, who has been in the area for three years, said she came with a particular interest in the parcel.
“I have some ideas in mind for the property, but I’m not ready to share yet,” she said.
The former Manor House, also known as the John Herbert Quick Housem, is on the National Register of Historic Places. It sold to a bidder, who wished to remain anonymous, for $225,000.
Tract 7, consisting of 45 acres just southwest of the Manor House and that once included the original Treetop Restaurant, sold for $105,000 to an unknown bidder.
The last high bidder was a man from the Morgantown area. He said he’d come with interest in two parcels, but also out of curiosity. He wasn’t sure if he’d bid, but he did, and bought two parcels totaling 145 acres for $195,000. He wished to remain anonymous.
The purchasers have 45 days to make settlement.