PRIEST LAKE — Almost all of the 30 state-owned lakefront lots at Priest Lake auctioned by the Idaho Department of Lands were successfully bid on by the current lessee. Of the 30 lots up for auction, 26 of the 27 lessees submitted winning bids, with three additional unleased properties also auctioned off.
The public auction, which was held Saturday in Coeur d’Alene, generated $14,195,800 for the endowment fund that supports public schools, with all properties selling for the appraised value.
The Idaho Constitution requires a public auction for the disposal of state endowment trust lands, and IDL can accept no less than the appraised value of the properties.
The auction included 27 leased properties with homes on them. The land is owned by the state of Idaho, and the cabins and other improvements on the land are owned by leaseholders as personal property. The auction was for the land only.
According to a press release, 26 of the current leaseholders applied to participate in the auction; all of those lots were purchased by the current leaseholders with the winning bids matching the appraised land value. One leased lot was won by someone other than the current lessee with that individual opting not to bid. The winning bidder of that lot will pay the appraised value of the personal property in addition to the amount bid for the land, and the lessee will be reimbursed that amount, Idaho Department of Lands officials said.
Three unleased properties without structures were also auctioned and sold for the appraised value, none of which had competitive bidding.
Appraised land value of the lots ranged from $333,000 in Bear Creek Bay and Sherwood Beach Road to $646,000 for a lot in the Two Mouth Creek subdivision and $682,000 for a lot at Woody’s Point.
Under the direction of the State Board of Land Commissioners, IDL manages more than 2.4 million acres of state endowment trust land under a constitutional mandate to maximize long-term financial returns to public schools and a number of other State of Idaho institutions. The Land Board is comprised of Idaho’s governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state controller, and superintendent of public instruction.
In 2010, the Land Board approved a plan to divest the state’s ownership of most cottage sites at both lakes over time. The Land Board authorized IDL to offer most of the remaining residential lake lots for auction through 2024. Additionally, IDL will be auctioning un-leased lots at both lakes.
Including Saturday’s auction, 430 cottage sites have been sold — 282 lots at Priest Lake (265 leased and 17 unleased) and 148 lots at Payette Lake (127 leased and 21 unleased) — for a total of $193,946,865 for the endowments.
The funds from the land sales will be deposited in the “Land Bank” and used to purchase other lands in Idaho or they may go into a Permanent Fund, in order to continue earning returns for the endowment beneficiaries. In May 2016, the Land Board approved the Strategic Reinvestment Plan and will consider strategic acquisitions of timberland and, on a more limited basis, farmland with the proceeds from the sale of cottage sites and commercial properties.