By Dave Russell
The Jarrett House and the adjoining Coach’s Restaurant, sold at an Oct. 26 auction, still don’t have an owner.
Upset bids on the iconic properties continue to come in to the Jackson County Clerk of Court’s office.
The 136-year-old inn and 90-year-old restaurant building sold for $120,000 to the highest bidder on the sidewalk in front of the Justice Center that Monday morning.
Mohamed Darar of Morrisville was listed on court documents as the buyer. He co-owns Titan Construction Services, LLC.
Upset bids work like this: The clerk of court holds the sale open for 10 days in case of an upset bid. Another bidder can come along with an additional 5 percent of the sale amount and take the property. Another 10-day cycle would then start.
Titan put down a deposit that Monday. To upset that bid would require $6,000 over that amount within the 10-day period.
Chris Ellsworth of Marietta, Georgia bid $126,000 on Nov. 2, and the bidding war began. Erika Mathis of Tuckasegee placed a bid of $132,300. Ellsworth responded with a bid of $138,915. Darar of Titan bid $150,000. The next day Mathis jumped back in with $157,500.
After that, the bidding became a two-horse race.
Ellsworth offered $200,000. Titan came back with $225,000 on Friday, Dec. 4, the last day in that 10-day window.
A new upset bid would need to go up by $11,250 for a total of $236,250 by Dec. 14. Ellsworth offered more than enough to cover that – he offered $250,000, meaning another upset bid would have to be at least $262,500.
Titan filed a $275,000 offer on Dec. 22, meaning a new bid would have to be $288,750 received by Jan. 4.
The next day, Dec. 23, Ellsworth offered $300,000. Titan would need to bid a minimum amount of $315,000 with a deposit of $15,750 required on Monday. However, that bid does not necessarily have to be in the clerk’s office by the end of the day.
“If one is mailed to us within the next five days and is postmarked by today (Monday), we can still accept those,” Deputy Clerk Shannon Hooper said.
As of Wednesday morning, no further bidding was reported by the clerk’s office.
Ellsworth is a Sylva native and Smoky Mountain High School graduate. He would restore the property to its “past glory,” he said.
“One way or another, back to the Jarrett House the way it once was,” he said. “Even if I don’t get the Jarrett House, I hope someone does something good with it. It’s got a ton of potential.”
Darar points to his company’s successful renovation of the 182-year-old Colonial Inn in downtown Hillsborough, said to be the third-oldest hotel in North Carolina.
“We’ll come into Dillsboro and be willing to restore this building like it should be and make it a destination like it should be,” Darar said. “We’ll bring it back up to code and update everything.”
The current tax value for the inn is $1,100,110, according to the website of Iron Horse Auctions who handled the initial auction. Delinquent taxes total $46,702.59.
The 2,537 square foot restaurant has a tax value of $525,420.00, with $22,694.73 in delinquent taxes.