The popular Thatched Cottage in Centerport will be up for auction Wednesday, with no minimum opening bid, said bankruptcy operating trustee R. Kenneth Barnard.
Former owner Ralph Colamussi lost the 21,000-square-foot catering property earlier this year, and it was announced in July that it would close Oct. 6. Colamussi and his attorney could not be reached late Friday.
"My goal is to maximize the money," said Barnard, of Wantagh. "We've done substantial advertising of the property; we've hired an auctioneer."
David R. Maltz & Co. Inc. is handling the auction of the 2.18-acre property, scheduled for noon at the Thatched Cottage, 445 Main St.
The property, valued at $8.5 million in 2010, has been a major draw for brides and grooms over the years, but Colamussi had financial difficulties. He lost the cottage when Barnard determined that the business could not survive.
Couples were notified earlier this year that their wedding reception plans were canceled.Prospective buyers can purchase the entire property, or parcels of at least 1 acre. A buyer will not be liable for liens and financial claims on the property, auction house officials said in a release.
The cottage opened in 1915 as a restaurant. Colamussi was the owner for 26 years before losing the property, citing flood damage and the associated costs after tropical storm Irene and superstorm Sandy. He borrowed about $3 million for the repairs that, along with $630,000 he owes the state in sales tax, became insurmountable.
If a buyer is found at the auction, the deal probably will close at the end of October, Barnard said. He will be responsible -- if enough money is raised -- for paying off the cottage's debtors.
Barnard declined to say how much debt the cottage has accrued.
"The debts of the place are very substantial," he said.