Blount developer selling 13 properties in three days
By Robert Norris | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Don Enloe was smiling at the end of the first day of a three-day series of auctions of properties he owns in Blount County.
Enloe buys, develops, rents and sells properties and also rents self-storage units from his office at Enloe Enterprises, 1128 E. Broadway Ave., Maryville.
David Alley, of Alley Auction of Knoxville, is handling the auctioneering. On Thursday the focus was on commercial property — a three-bay commercial center on Wright Road and the Fox Home Medical Building on East Lamar Alexander Parkway.
“We had a great turnout on Wright Road. And then we were probably only $25,000 to $30,000 off (the reserve price) on the Lamar Alexander. And David came over to me and said, ‘If you want to bend a little bit ...’ I said, ‘No, I’m done. We hit the payday today.’ And then I closed another one (a residence), so I was really happy,” Enloe said Thursday.
The deal wasn’t closed on the Lamar Alexander Parkway property. The heavens opened up on the auction and sent everyone scrambling for cover out of the rain — but a bidder was getting closer to the reserve price before the rain came, so Alley was confident he’ll find a buyer in the future.
“Of course, tomorrow is our big day with the residential, so we’ll see what happens,” Enloe said.
Day two of the Enloe auctions is today. The residential properties include a stone cottage in Townsend fronting on Little River and four other houses.
Prior to Thursday’s auction, Enloe and Alley were at Enloe Enterprises talking about how this all happened. In a sense, it started when Enloe was a young man living on the West Coast.
“I had an aunt and uncle that lived in Sevierville, and during the summers when I was going to college, I’d come back and help my uncle put up tobacco and do hay and that, and I just took a liking to it. I really like all the people. Very friendly atmosphere, very business orientated,” Enloe said.
And without all of the red tape involved with doing business in California.
“Everyone in the city at that time was very helpful, and I didn’t have that in California because everybody’s going 200 miles an hour.”
Now he’s bought a lake house and a boat and his children and grandchildren visit.
“So we’ll be fishin’ and relaxin’. We have a good time. We grill out. We go skiing. Got a Jet Ski. We really have a lot of fun, and I’d like to devote a little more time to that.”
Basically, it’s the right time in his life to simplify things — and the market is cooperating. Real estate is recovering after bottoming out.
“I’ve definitely seen an uptick in sales,” Enloe said.
Alley agreed. Locally, he attributes that to an increasing amount of available capital.
“We’re seeing more buyers in the market that we didn’t see before. I think one of the things that’s happened in this town right now is the two new banks that have come on board,” Alley said.
“In the development business and the building industry, it’s like biblically you can’t make bricks without straw. As a developer or a builder, you can’t do anything without funding. It’s the lifeblood of the industry. People who are building product are having tremendous success right now.”
Alley can see connections not just between the Bible and banking, he can draw a parallel to catching fish.
“As corny as it sounds, these professional bass fishermen, they know that when they throw a lure out there in deep water that there’ll be fish there. The first one might not hit it, but the second one starts looking at it. The third one starts following, and the fourth one says, by gosh, I’m gonna eat,” Alley said.
“It’s that confidence issue in the marketplace, and what we’re seeing now is people put their toes in the water and they’re going in the pool. And that’s a good thing ’cause they’re buying.”
And Enloe’s selling. He has around 30 properties he wants to liquidate. Phase one is this three-day auction series that could bring in $2 million to $3 million. In a few more weeks, phase two will try to auction off the rest of the properties.
Alley explained the rationale.
“The idea here is that Don wanted to raise capital this year for two scenarios. One, to have reinvestment capital. And also we think capital gains are going to go up, and that’s a hedge.”
Selling the portfolio conventionally could take up to a year to accomplish, so the consolidated auctions are a way to concentrate the process.
“And we’re going to do it in a 40-day window. It’s efficiency of the auction by going in there and capturing that equity, and then he can go back in the marketplace, reinvest, take advantage of capital gains — and here you are,” Alley said.
To make it happen, Enloe is putting up a portfolio he said should appeal to a broad range of buyers.
“I think we’re going to have a price point somewhere in the neighborhood of $125,000 (for residential) up to the commercial property somewhere in the $400,000 range. So we’ve got a good diversification.”
Enloe is simplifying so he can spend more time relaxing. But he’s far from retiring.
“I still really enjoy what the community has to offer to me as a developer here, and I’ll still develop property for quite some time,” Enloe said.