RATTLESNAKE ISLAND, Ohio - It's one of several Lake Erie resort islands, but real estate agents are banking that the exclusiveness of Rattlesnake Island again will draw a crowd.
For only the second time in the last decade, brokers are wooing the public to the 47-acre island with promises of lots for sale. This time, four plots - two with homes, two vacant - will be on the auction block Nov. 7.
“Literally, the people who have been on Rattlesnake Island have been in the dozens rather than the thousands,” said Gordon Greene, a broker with the Chartwell Group in Cleveland, one of two agencies coordinating the auction. “The only people who have been out to the island are owners and guests and now, in this case, prospective purchasers.”
The privately owned island features a resort, airplane landing strip, and a 9-hole golf course. Located 2 miles west of South Bass Island and Put-In-Bay, it was sold in 1998 to a group of members of the elite and secret Rattlesnake Island Club for $5.6 million.
The 1998 group purchase thwarted an impending auction of the land by owners RI Resort Properties, Inc., of Seven Hills, Ohio.
Since then, parcels on the eastern portion of the island were sold off to private owners and developers, one of whom put 10 lots up for sale in 1999. The waterfront property was on the market for $225,000 to $275,000 and included a $50,000 share in the island club.
Mr. Greene said the land up for auction is owned by Rattlesnake Island Land Co., LLC. The company bought the land in 1998 to develop the property. He said the company devised a three-year plan to market several single-family home lots. Although a number of those parcels were sold in 1999 and 2000, the end of the third year led developers to offer their final properties at an auction. “This is a wonderful opportunity for buyers,” Mr. Greene said. “The builders started construction last year and completed them this year. When they weren't sold this season, they decided to reduce their inventory. A builder views a house, even a luxury one, as inventory.''
The two homes for sale are 3,800 square feet and 3,700 square feet and will be sold to the highest bidder who offers a minimum bid of $525,000 and $485,000, respectively. Those interested in vacant plots can bid on land offering either 167 or 188 feet of lakefront property.
Mr. Greene said the parcels are being offered without reserve, meaning that the developers will sell the homes to anyone offering at least the minimum bid.
The vacant properties will be sold to whoever offers the highest bid, regardless of the price.
Prospective buyers are promised that a sale guarantees they don't have to be put on a waiting list to submit an application for membership in the private Rattlesnake Island Club. The club, which has a 27-room resort, private harbor, and wastewater treatment plant, has about 70 members.