A mystery buyer has won the bidding for the opulent headquarters built by Adelphia Communications in Coudersport, Pa.
"POW384" won the online bidding at $3.4 million on Tuesday. That's about a tenth of the seller's "suggested price" of $30 million, and still a bargain compared to the $7 million assessed value.
Guessing about the new owner of the 72,000-square-foot corporate palace, built by disgraced Adelphia founder John Rigas, has shifted into high gear.
"There's a bunch of rumors flying around," said Donald Gilliland, managing editor of the Potter Leader-Enterprise.
He identified one bidder, MOR660, as a Pennsylvania trucking company called Moran Industries by checking out the registration number of a helicopter that landed in the building's parking lot. But MOR660 dropped out of the bidding at $3 million.
So is the buyer a West Coast investment group made up of doctors and tech millionaires? Or a salvage company that will dismantle the building and sell off its parquet floors, cherry paneling and granite pillars?
These are among the rumors going around, townspeople said, without putting much stock in their veracity.
Auction company LFC Online in Newport Beach, Calif., isn't saying who's behind POW384.
The sale is supposed to close by Dec. 31 under the terms of the auction, LFC said. The formal property transfer will reveal the new ownership. Before then, the administrator of Adelphia's bankruptcy plan must approve the deal.
John Wright, chairman of the Potter County Redevelopment Authority, said no one has come forward seeking economic development help in connection with occupying the building. All he knows about the buyer is "coffee shop talk," he said.
The city of 2,500 people lost hundreds of jobs after Adelphia fell into bankruptcy in 2002. Now the cable company, once the nation's fifth-largest, is selling off its assets while Rigas serves a 15-year sentence for fraud.
"If there are quality jobs to go along with [the building's sale], that's a great thing," Gilliland said. But as a topic of speculation, it may be wearing thin. "There's a good deal of Adelphia fatigue."