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150-acre Benchoff estate to be auctioned in June

April 30, 2010|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

WAYNESBORO, PA. -- A New York City auction company will sell the late J. Martin Benchoff's estate on Old Pa. 16 in June.

Benchoff, former CEO of Grove Manufacturing Co. in Shady Grove, Pa., died in 2007. He was a lifelong resident of Waynesboro.

Laura Brady, co-founder and vice president of marketing for Concierge Auctions on East 56th Street, said her firm expects the 150-acre estate, on top of the mountain between Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., and Rouzerville, Pa., to sell for between $4 million and $5.8 million.

Benchoff built the main house on the estate in 1972, according to Historical Property Specialist Gary Gestson of Long & Foster Real Estate in Chambersburg, Pa.

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Only registered bidders and their representatives will be allowed on the property June 12 for the sale, Brady said.

Four houses and several other structures are part of the estate, including an equestrian facility and a working farm, she said.

Originally listed on behalf of the family by Gestson at $7.9 million, a reserve of $3 million has been set.

Concierge, however, is confident bids will be exceed the reserve, Brady said.

"The estimate is where we think the bidding will end up," she said, adding that the estimate is based on a mix of factors including appraisals and local property values.

Gestson described the property as incredible.

"Impeccable, pristine, flawless," he said. "These are all words that describe this estate.

The Benchoff estate is a family compound on Old Pa. 16 that boasts 50-mile views and a mix of landscaped woodland and rolling pasture hills. The main home on the property is 15,000 square feet and made of native stone, he said.

Benchoff served as president and CEO of Grove Manufacturing in Shady Grove, Pa., and later as chairman of the board.

Benchoff played a starring role in Grove's growth, author Gerald Lute has said.

Author of "The Life and Legacy of John L. Grove," Lute interviewed Benchoff about his role in expanding Grove into international markets and from farm equipment to cranes.

"He took it from a small, local company to a worldwide, powerful company," Lute said. "I think he was very instrumental in the growth of the company."

Working with Gestson, Concierge has allowed six weeks between now and the sale date for interested parties to view and inspect the property, Brady said.

The home, she said, will sell "as-is" with no contingencies.

It is available for preview daily from 3 to 6 p.m. and by appointment by calling 877-217-2001 or by visiting http://www.BenchoffEstateAuction.com.

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