NASHOBA PUBLISHING / MARY ARATA
Auctioneer Francis Trapasso moves through the process of auctioning off the building at 9-11 Washington St.
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AYER — “Four-forty going once. Four-forty going twice . . . SOLD for four-forty. Thank you,” said auctioneer Francis Trapasso. The owner of Worcester-based Francis J. Trapasso & Associates conducted last Friday’s auction of 9-11 Washington St. for North Middlesex Savings Bank.

The three-story brick structure, snugly situated on a sixth of an acre behind the Wholesome Café on Main Street, was built in 1880, according to the town’s property card. The building houses 12 apartment units.

The property was spared from the auction block on Aug. 20 when, hours before the sale, owner Surinder Bhardwaj filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors, according to bank counsel Lawrence Levinson of Brams, Young & Levinson. Other properties that were scheduled to be sold that day included 63 Main St. (the Roux building) and a small parking lot at 10 Pleasant St.

But on Friday, the Waltham attorney gave the green light for the Washington Street auction.

Bidders needed to provide $25,000 in funds to make any offer at the auction. At least two men provided the required certified or bank check to enter the sale.

“George” and “Danny” bid against one another eleven times in rapid-fire succession. The volleys flew after George’s opening bid of $100,000.

The pace slowed for a moment as George and a partner considered besting Danny’s bid of $425,000. The two asked for a moment to think it over. Trapasso sought a bid of $450,000 to move the pace along. “You got 12-units here,” pitched Trapasso.

Every time George bid, Danny immediately stepped up with a higher bid, seemingly firm in his spending authority. This time would be no different.

$435,000, George agreed. Instantaneously, Danny upped the ante to $440,000. “Give us a second,” asked George’s partner. “Take your time,” answered Trapasso.

Moments later George yielded. Danny’s winning bid stood at $440,000.

After payment of the balance due, the identity of the purchasing identity is recorded at the Registry of Deeds. That usually occurs within 30 days of the auction.

Bhardwaj purchased the Washington Street apartment building in November 2006 for $780,000. At that time, Bhardwaj entered into a $624,000 NMSB purchase mortgage. The town of Ayer assesses the property at $757,300 and provides a North Chelmsford post office box as Bhardwaj’s address.