Southampton Memorial Park on auction block

Published 9:02 am Friday, May 27, 2011

FRANKLIN—A Franklin cemetery is among two going up for auction.

An attempt will be made to sell Southampton and Greensville Memorial parks together during a July 7 auction at the Holiday Inn Express in Emporia, said Tim Persons, an auctioneer with Progressive Auction Real Estate in Chesapeake.

The two combined have an assessed valued of $448,600, Persons said. At an average of 1,000 graves per acre, the 15-acre Southampton Memorial Cemetery on Pretlow Road has enough space left for 7,000 more gravesites. The 20-acre Greensville Memorial Park in Emporia has space for 5,000 plots remaining.

Selling cemeteries is nothing new for Persons. In recent years he auctioned one in Suffolk and another in Newport News.

“We had a really good turnout. It was purchased by a group,” he said about Carver Memorial Cemetery in Suffolk. “It’s a practice I wouldn’t consider common, but the auction process is accelerated marketing.”

In this case, illness has prompted the sale of both cemeteries, he said. Association Cemetery Consultants of Danville is the owner. Persons has a business card that identifies Gary Hall as the owner, so he assumes Hall is president of the corporation.

No one could be reached with the company.

Persons said he isn’t sure at how much the bidding will start.

“It is essentially selling an operating business,” he said. “They do have accounts receivable, and you’re taking over the stewardship. It’s all regulated by the state.”

Persons said he is not authorized to disclose the minimum bid the seller will accept.

Nearly a year ago, Southampton Memorial Park began offering free cemetery plots to veterans, waiving the $1,895 purchase price. A veterans’ memorial was recently established at the cemetery.

Southampton Memorial Park was developed in the early 1960s.