FRANKFORD TOWNSHIP, NJ - A community staple for baseball fans in northern New Jersey, Skylands Park was sold in an auction to Matt Milano at Frankford Municipal Building Wednesday morning.
Milano, a Morris County resident, bought the park (Block 11, Lot 13.11) from Millennium Sports Management, Inc., for the 2011 lien certificate price of $57,277.43, and an additional $40,000 auction bid amount. Milano also paid for the property’s 2012 taxes on the spot.
Including other township fees, the sale totaled $159,946.23.
Frankford Township Tax Collector Stephen J. Lance explained that the 2012 taxes could potentially be much less after adjustment in 2013.
“You’re basically just going to get your money back from the over-payment,” said Lance to auction bidders in attendance.
The auction was set to begin at 18 percent interest rate on redemption of the lien certificate, and work its way back to zero percent. Aggressive bids quickly resulted in the interest rate to bottoming out at zero percent for redemption of the property. There were approximately 10 to 15 bidders in the running initially, quickly dwindling down to two bidders within the first five minutes. Milano swiftly cleared the field with a bid of $40,000 on top of the 2011 certificate price of $57,277.43 to seal the deal, with the opposing bidder quickly folding after Milano's bid.
Winning bidder Milano does not intend to literally possess the property, instead he hopes to sell the land back to another buyer, who will ultimately obtain full ownership and possession of Skylands Park.
“I’m just the lienholder,” said Milano.
Lance said he has often witnessed similar situations, where buyers purchased land with the goal of shortly selling it back, in order to profit off of their investment.
“I’ve seen them come and go,” Lance said.
Buyers who purchase property as a placeholder face the looming possibility of losing a good chunk of change if the deal falls through, and no one is willing to buy back the land.
“Oh, there’s risk in this,” commented Lance.
As it stands, Skylands Park is allegedly already under contract to be bought permanently, if all goes according to plan. The legal owner of the ballpark has two years from the auction’s date to redeem the lien certificate on the land, otherwise after two years the lienholder can begin foreclosure through the Frankford court system on the property.
Skylands Park was once a bustling, active venue for baseball enthusiasts, who were drawn to the part to support minor leagues team The New Jersey Cardinals. The Cardinals sold out the stadium in 1994 before the owners of Skylands fell into bankruptcy on June 1, 1994. Since then, serious financial troubles have plagued the stadium, leading to Millennium Sports Management, Inc.’s decision to sell.
As Milano has no plans to restore the ballpark to its former glory, sports lovers must suspend their celebrations until another buyer redeems the certificate to Skylands Park, with the intention of renewing the stadium to its classic baseball tradition.
Continue to follow The Alternative Press for Sussex County news, as well as news and community information on The Alternative Press of Sussex County’s Facebook Page.