Historic Emmaus campus up for auction


EMMAUS CAMPUS FOR AUCTION — This aerial photo, provided by Trophy Properties and Auction, shows a piece of the Emmaus campus in Marthasville that is currently up for auction. The campus housed and cared for adults with developmental disabilities for more than a century. Trophy Properties and Auction photo.
By: 
Adam Rollins
Staff Writer

Emmaus, the organization that cares for adults with developmental disabilities, has placed its historic campus near Marthasville up for auction. An open house to showcase the facilities will be held Oct. 17 and Oct. 18 from noon to 2 p.m.

The Emmaus campus was founded in a former evangelical seminary on Highway D, about 4 miles east of Marthasville. The original buildings, some of which still exist, date back to the 1850s. The Emmaus organization operated and added new facilities to the campus for more than a century.

In 2015, changing federal regulations pushed Emmaus to move its clients from a central campus to neighborhood homes in several area communities.

Emmaus President and CEO Cindy Clark, in a letter to employees announcing the auction of the campus, said Emmaus at first tried to sell the property for historical preservation.

“We (met) with multiple stakeholders including leaders from the United Church of Christ, The Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation and local community members to discuss opportunities for the next use of the property. While many people value the history of the property and the buildings, we did not receive an offer from any potential buyer to make the significant investments necessary to restore and repurpose the buildings,” Clark wrote.

Representatives of Emmaus had not replied to a request for additional comment as of press time.

The campus will be auctioned in three sections: the main facilities south of Highway D, a group of houses north of Highway D, and a two-building apartment complex to the rear of the Temco facility.

More than 500 acres of surrounding land owned by Emmaus, mostly undeveloped, has been split into eight more tracts and listed for non-auction sale.

The auction and property sales are being managed by Trophy Properties and Auction.

Trophy Properties agent Eric Merchant said he believes the historical buildings of the main campus would be a prime target for a private developer to receive historical tax credits for redevelopment.

“It’s likely something for someone who wants to do a destination with lodging for a wedding venue, winery, micro-distillery or craft brewery, or some combination of those,” Merchant explained. Meanwhile, the plots with houses and apartments represent an investment opportunity for sale, lodging or rental homes.

Merchant is cautioning buyers to be prepared for additional expenses to bring the properties up to date.

“They’re going to have to do a fair amount of deferred maintenance on the older buildings. On the three tracts being auctioned, they’re going to have to establish new sewage treatment or septic systems for each,” Merchant commented.

The undeveloped parcels that are up for sale without being auctioned, which range in size from 60 to 95 acres, could become anything from a real estate investment to a recreational hunting ground, Merchant added.

Bidding is currently open for the three tracts up for auction. The bidding ends Oct. 29.

For more information about the properties, go to www.trophypa.com and search under “Current Auctions.”

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