No bidders for former Casa del Sol

SARANAC LAKE – No one showed up to bid on a former Mexican restaurant on Lake Flower Avenue when the building was put up for public auction Wednesday at the Essex County Courthouse in Elizabethtown.

Meanwhile, a historic Main Street building that was scheduled to be part of a Franklin County tax foreclosure sale later this month has been removed from the auction block.

Casa still for sale

Craig Stevens of Community Bank, which took control of Casa del Sol after the restaurant declared bankruptcy in December, said the bank will now wait 30 days for a potential buyer to come forward.

“If that doesn’t happen, we’ll look to list it with a local Realtor and have them market it for us,” he said.

Stevens said he was surprised at the lack of interest in the building. He said some people said they didn’t see the legal notice of the auction in the Enterprise’s classified ads, even though it had been in the paper several times over the last few weeks and occupied several columns.

Stevens said there’s no minimum bid price on the property, but he noted that the bank is owed $359,000.

“We’ll consider anything that’s reasonable,” he said. “We’d love to recoup that, but we know it’s not going to happen. It’s just, how much of a shave do we want to take on this?”

Stevens said there has been a lot of interest in the community about what happens to the property, likely because it was a popular restaurant since the late 1970s. He said the Lake Flower Avenue site has a lot of potential.

“People have talked about razing the building and putting up something on the double lot there,” Stevens said. “Other people have talked about trying to resurrect the restaurant. Who knows? It’s got great road visibility. It could be a lot of things.”

Old Enterprise building

The Fowler Block at 77 Main St. was seized by the county last year. It’s prior owner, Bruce Shapiro of Long Island, owed more than $40,000 in taxes dating back several years.

The three-story building was on a list of more than 60 properties in the county scheduled to be auctioned June 26 in Malone. However, it was removed from the auction list this week, according to the Franklin County Treasurer’s Office. The person who answered the phone in the treasurer’s office Friday couldn’t say for certain if the property was removed because Shapiro had paid the taxes owed.

Built in 1900, the Fowler Block was home to the Enterprise for 47 years, from 1926 to 1973. It now houses two secondhand stores run by Barbara Curtis, the Main Street Exchange and Dorsey Street Exchange, and a sign in the window advertises a bicycle repair shop to come.

Contact Chris Knight at 518-891-2600 ext. 24 or