Four lakefront cabin sites on Priest Lake will be put up for public auction Friday with bidding starting around a half-million dollars.
Two of the four state-owned lots are vacant; the other two have cabins on them. Starting bids range from $486,800 to $576,800, including the cost of the cabins.
The land is owned by Idaho’s public school endowment, which will receive the proceeds from the auction.
Idaho’s state endowment has been phasing itself out of the cabin-lease business after years of lawsuits and fights over what constitutes fair rent. Lease holders built and owned the cabins on the land.
So far, the state has put 273 cabin sites at Priest and Payette lakes up for auction; 258 have sold. The state’s plan is to reinvest the proceeds into higher-earning land investments for the endowment, including timber land.
If someone other than the cabin owner was the successful bidder, they had to pay the cabin owner the appraised value of the cabin as part of the deal.
State Department of Lands officials are expecting competitive bidding for the lots going to auction this Friday, with no cabin owner in the mix. The auction will start at 3 p.m. at the Coeur d’Alene Resort.
“When we have an existing lessee, there is just … difficulty in having competition where there are improvements,” state Lands Director Tom Schultz explained to the Idaho state Land Board this week.
Gov. Butch Otter, who chairs the Land Board, expressed satisfaction with how the sales have gone thus far.
“We hit the timing about right, didn’t we?” he said. To laughter from the board, he said, “It’s the first time in my life I ever wished we had more cottage sites.”
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