NAPAVINE, WA, May 2 /PRNewswire/ - After nearly 40 years of conducting unreserved public auctions in the state of Washington, Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (NYSE: RBA) (TSX: RBA), the world's largest industrial auctioneer, officially closed on the purchase of a new 200±-acre auction site in Washington State—in Napavine, Lewis County. The new Napavine property, located approximately 22 miles south of Olympia and 70 miles north of Portland, OR, will replace the Company's current Washington permanent auction site in Olympia, which yields only 37±-acres of equipment display area. Construction of a new auction facility, complete with a full-service refurbishment facility and a larger equipment yard, will commence this month with an expected completion date targeted for the summer of 2012.
"Closing on our new Napavine property in Lewis County is good news for Ritchie Bros. and good news for our customers," said Rob Giroux, Divisional Manager, Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers. "Over the coming year we look forward to the construction of a new auction facility and larger equipment yard that will provide our customers in the region with a more accessible, comfortable and convenient space to buy and sell their equipment."
Ritchie Bros. held its first unreserved public auction in the state of Washington in 1972, and its first unreserved auction at its current Olympia auction site in November 1991. Since then, the Company has conducted a total of 84 auctions in the Olympia area or roughly four auctions per year. Since 2000, Olympia auctions have attracted more than 100,000 bidder registrations from 79 countries and featured more than 84,000 lots. In 2010, to accommodate increased customer demand, Ritchie Bros. conducted five auctions at the Olympia site.
"We are very excited about Ritchie Bros. officially becoming a member of the local business community here in Lewis County," said Dick Larman, Executive Director, Lewis County Economic Development Council. "The Company's auction events will generate direct and indirect jobs and have a ripple effect for Lewis County restaurants and hotels during auction time, as well as generate significant state and local tax revenue."
Approximately 100± acres of land at the new Napavine site will be improved to house auction facilities and equipment display area, with 80±-acres being developed as open green space with large berms, landscape, buffers and storm water ponds. Ritchie Bros. plans to build a 33,000-square-foot± auction building—with seating capacity for 750 people. The auction facility will also feature a second auction theater with a Virtual Ramp and seating capacity for 300 people. In the Virtual Ramp theater, photos of equipment are projected onto a large screen in front of a seated bidding crowd for them to bid on.
The new Napavine permanent auction site will also include 10 Timed Auction Lot (TAL) kiosks for customers to bid on smaller consumer items, attachments and assets. The service is currently available at the Company's Olympia auction site and allows customers to place bids a few days before and during the live auction, either online at rbauction.com, using on-site internet kiosks, mobile devices, or by proxy. Free wireless internet for customers will be available to support TAL and online bidding at the site.
Additional site facilities scheduled for construction include a new full-service 16,000-square-foot± refurbishment facility, complete with an equipment wash area and painting and blasting booths, and a 2,800-square-foot± check-in building. Other amenities include an on-site catering facility offering food services and a 10± acre customer parking lot.
"The development team from Ritchie Bros. has been one of the most professional groups I have ever worked with in my 28-year career," adds Mr. Larman. "They have gone beyond what has been needed in an extraordinary way. I look forward to continuing our strong relationship with them through this next phase of the project."
Ritchie Bros. will continue conducting unreserved auctions at its Olympia auction site until the new auction site in Napavine is complete. The next auction to be held in Olympia is scheduled for June 16, 2011.The Company has started to explore different options for disposition and/or redevelopment of the current Olympia property.
Lewis County dignitaries, friends and associates will join Ritchie Bros. management for an official ground breaking ceremony at the Napavine site on Thursday, May 12.
About Ritchie Bros.
Established in 1958, Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (NYSE and TSX: RBA) is the world's largest industrial auctioneer, selling more equipment to on-site and online bidders than any other company in the world. Ritchie Bros. offers services that enable the world's builders to easily and confidently exchange equipment. The Company conducts hundreds of unreserved public auctions each year, selling a broad range of used and unused equipment, trucks and other assets utilized in the construction, transportation, agricultural, material handling, mining, forestry, petroleum and marine industries. Ritchie Bros. has over 110 locations in more than 25 countries, including 43 auction sites worldwide. The Company maintains a web site at www.rbauction.com and sponsors an equipment wiki at www.RitchieWiki.com
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