SEASIDE — Eight properties bound for auction at the Heights at Thompson Falls offer oceanfront views and a mountainside location outside of the tsunami inundation zone.

Priced from $35,000 to $59,000, the lots could present quite a bargain as the county’s residential market values are listed substantially higher. The landscape includes the Necanicum estuary and 28-mile-long Necanicum River, the Neawanna River, at least 10 creeks, the ocean, the old timber mill ponds, mud flats, waterfalls and even a prehistoric underwater canyon.

Some lots may be ready for development almost immediately, according to geologist Tom Horning, who has studied neighboring properties.

But buyers are advised to beware, as lots require a geologic study before Seaside will grant a building permit.

Some sites could present hazardous footing, causing properties to slide, Horning said.

Horning, who is also a member of the City Council, said foundations must be prepared correctly. Put rock down instead of clay-rich soil, he said. “If not, it could settle. A house could creep downhill and slowly deform over a number of years.”

The auction sales come after foreclosure on the properties in the southern end of the subdivision known as the Heights at Thompson Falls, located off Lewis and Clark Road and along Thompson Falls Drive.

The eight bank-owned lots are on a hillside in the northeast section of Seaside, east of U.S. Highway 101 and south of Thompson Falls Drive. There are a total of 20 home sites at the Heights at Thompson Falls subdivision.

Six homes at the subdivision have been built, and two are under construction.

John Rosenthal, president and principal Oregon broker of Realty Marketing/Northwest, said the properties were foreclosed on in the aftermath of the recession.

Market value for similar nearby lots ranges from $47,400 to nearly $86,000, he said.

Premier Community Bank, the owners of the property, are offering a 50 percent down payment over five years at 5.75 percent interest to qualified buyers, Rosenthal said.

Lot sizes begin at about 6,800 square feet with a published reserve of $35,000. A property of nearly 60,000 square feet begins at auction with a $59,500 published reserve. The land is zoned low-density residential with a planned development overlay.

Nearby homes have sold in the range of $350,000 to $450,000, Rosenthal said.

Gas, phone, sewer, water and cable serve the home sites, and each lot has frontage along Thompson Falls Drive.

For now, the eight sites offer potential homeowners and builders an enticing opportunity.

But it’s a matter of “buyer beware,” Horning said. “I’ve seen through example how not to do it.”

The process of evaluating the property is “interpretive work” with slope considerations, geometry issues and historical data to consider, he said.

“Cover your bases,” Horning said. “It could cost so much to build, if you put enough money into a project, you could make it work. But you don’t want to put in $500,000 for foundations for a $400,000 house. It doesn’t pan out.”

Sealed bids for the properties are due Nov. 15.


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