AUCTION RESULTS: Occhifinto Opts for Oyster

Aqua Restaurant owner Robert Occhifinto makes another winning bid. (Wave photo)

Aqua Restaurant and Marina owner Robert Occhifinto makes another winning bid. (Wave photo)

Cape Charles Wave

August 20, 2013

Northampton County’s newest land baron Robert Occhifinto bought three out of five County properties offered at a bankruptcy auction yesterday at Aqua Restaurant. The properties are in or on the road to Oyster, about seven miles northeast of Cape Charles. Occhifinto dabbled in bidding for other properties, but never seriously.

Two Bay Creek houses, including one built by developer Dickie Foster, were the big-block items. Foster’s former house, known as Heron Pointe, crossed the auction block at an even $1 million. Its tax assessment is closer to $3 million.

All the auction properties belong to the Madonia family, whose tomato growing business on the Eastern Shore and Florida is in receivership.

Another Madonia house in Bay Creek, “Magnolia Plantation,” did almost as well, despite its tax assessment being over a million dollars less than the Heron Pointe property. Magnolia Plantation sold for $950,000.

Perhaps the premier home in Bay Creek, built by Dickie Foster and later sold to Batista Madonia, Jr., #2 Heron Court sold for little more than one third its tax value. (Wave photo)

Two properties in Chincoteague and one in Painter were also part of the auction. A Chincoteague house sold for $257,000, and a .14-acre waterfront lot brought $47,000. The Painter house was the lowest bid of the day at $41,000.


The auction continues today (Tuesday) with over 3,000 acres of Madonia farmland and packing houses on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Today’s auction site is the Exmore Moose Lodge, where bidding begins at 1 p.m.

The Madonia properties earlier were offered at silent auction, where bidders submitted their best offer in writing. After viewing the high bids, the bankruptcy judge declined to accept them, instead scheduling this week’s live auctions. In every case yesterday, live bids exceeded the sealed bids received earlier. This week’s auction bids are expected to be approved by the court at a September 5 bankruptcy hearing.

Bids were also received over the Internet and telephone, and the auction company declined to identify any winners other than by their bid card number. (Occhifinto’s bid card was 440.) The winning bids and bid card numbers were displayed on the Tracts chart below.

Tracts chart with high bid and bid card number for the seven properties auctioned Monday. (Wave photo)

Tracts chart with high bid and bid card number for the eight properties auctioned Monday. (Wave photo)

"Magnolia Plantation" in Bay Creek reached very close to its asking price of $995,000 on the open market. (Wave photo)

“Magnolia Plantation” backs to Old Plantation Creek. (Wave photo)

Occhifinto, who bid $4.6 million last December for Aqua Restaurant, King’s Creek Marina, and other Marina Village properties, yesterday had his eye on Oyster. He bid $125,000 for 2 acres on Oyster Bay including the site of a former clam processing plant. When asked why he bought the property, Occhifinto said he’s attracted to anything on the water.

In what seemed the best buy of the day, Occhifinto nabbed the 14-acre Webster Canning property in Cheriton for $45,000. The site includes several large buildings and has a tax value of $1.4 million. A real estate developer at the auction suggested that the site would be ideal for a sewage treatment plant — and indeed it was earlier considered for that.

Finally, Occhifinto bought “Parsons House” on 4 acres just outside Oyster for $165,000.

Occhifinto, 51, is a New Jersey entrepreneur who made his fortune producing and marketing over-the-counter diet supplements. While clearly possessed of deep pockets, he has shown a penchant for buying distressed properties at fire sale prices. In June he bought the 104-room Kiptopeke Inn, listed for sale at $995,000. Occhifinto reportedly offered $300,000, and waited six months for the seller to agree. Last year he bought the Peacock Motor Inn and rescued it from disrepair.

His latest plans include opening “Sharkey’s Bar” above Aqua Restaurant, converting the former Marina Village Shops into a banquet/reception area, and constructing a hotel close to Aqua.



2 Responses to “AUCTION RESULTS: Occhifinto Opts for Oyster”

  1. Antonio Sacco on August 19th, 2013 11:42 pm

    Great news for the Eastern Shore! Now we have intelligent people like Mr. Occhifinto who will turn the economy around for the better. Say goodbye to the old and hello to the new. Bravo, bravo, bravo.

  2. Kearn Schemm on August 20th, 2013 10:58 am

    Glad to see the Jersey colony on the ES continues to expand!