Bids come in for historic Brandon Plantation
By Caitlin Davis, Senior Staff Writer
Jun 28, 2013, 13:23
AL WEKELO/CONTRIBUTED PHOTO The historic Brandon Plantation in Prince George was one of the first agricultural enterprises in the United States.
PRINCE GEORGE — The first auction for the historic Brandon Plantation in Prince George County has closed, but more time will be needed for bidders to make their final offers on the 18th century mansion.
After the first round, which closed June 25, the top third of the bidders advanced to the second round. Now there are six bidders left, with the highest bid securing ownership of the 4,500-acre property.
Todd Wohl, a partner at Premiere Estate Auction Co., the California-based company that is handling the auction process, said the final round of bidding will begin around July 10. The owner might not be known for a few months.
To even place a bid in the first round, buyers had to indicate their seriousness by pulling out their wallets. Wohl said the bidders were required to place $250,000 in escrow during the bidding.
“When purchasing a property of this nature, which is one of the most important and highest valued properties in all of Virginia, whoever is interested must be qualified enough to purchase it,” Wohl said.
Brandon Plantation, which includes 14 farm structures, such as a horse stable, two two-story brick barns, and 72,500 bushels of grain storage, got the attention of not only buyers in Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia, but also as far away as China and India.
One of the reason for this, Wohl explained, is the appeal of a large plantation and a large amount of farmland. In the past four to five years, Wohl said that agricultural listings have risen drastically.
“In California, agricultural farmland is a real commodity,” Wohl said, indicating that buyers from Russia and the Middle East are purchasing farmland on the West Coast.
The property is being sold by the estate of U.S. Rep. Robert W. Daniel Jr., who died in February 2012.
Of the 4,500 acres on the property, 1,577 can be used for farming. The expansive property has not even been fully seen by Robert Daniel’s wife, who has lived at the mansion for almost 40 years.
Upon acquiring the estate sale of Brandon Plantation, Wohl asked Ms. Daniel if she had seen the entire property, to which Wohl said she laughed, and said no that she had only flown over the property once.
The property also holds a great deal of historic significance, just making it that much more attractive for buyers, Wohl indicated. Brandon Plantation dates back to the 1600s when the land was patented to Capt. John Martin. The property changed hands in 1635 when it was sold to Richard Quinley and then sold to Nathaniel Harrison in 1720.
The Harrison family had ties to the founding fathers, as the family was related to James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, who designed the main house, and George Washington.
The property was sold in 1926 to Robert W. Daniel Sr., who was a survivor of the Titanic as well as a state senator. The family restored the grounds after damage had been sustained during the Civil War. U.S. Rep. Daniel passed away in February of 2012. He served five terms in Congress, representing the fourth district.
“I have to say in my career, this is the most historic property I have ever been involved with,” Wohl said. “...It is truly unbelievable to represent the history of this property which is so rich and so deep it is almost comical.”
Wohl explained one of the reasons the sale derives a chuckle is because the average time a person owns a home is seven years. In 400 years time, the house has only had three owners.
“It just goes to show you the immense value in this property,” Wohl said. “It is like buying a Monet painting. There’s only one and you can’t replace it.”
The price of this historical plantation is assessed at over $10 million, according to Prince George real estate records. However Wohl said this does not always offer an indication of where the sale price will ultimately land. From now until July 10, Wohl said the bidders need to be doing their “due diligence” to have inspections and analysis completed on the property. Closing for the property is expected to be around early August.
“It’s absolutely been a tremendously opportunity to represent a property like this,” Wohl said. “It really is a spectacular opportunity for us.”