The Auburn Auction Park will likely host its last Labor Day weekend event this year.
For decades, the site has brought thousands of auto aficionados to northeast Indiana for huge, high-end antique and classic vehicle auctions. But now a developer wants to turn the property into a sports complex.
Proposed in documents filed this month with Auburn development officials are renovating an existing auction building for indoor basketball courts and creating one indoor and four outdoor soccer fields and eight baseball diamonds.
The application comes from ForeSight Consulting, which lists offices in Fort Wayne and Auburn.
The auction property has been for sale for about two years, so news of its proposed redevelopment was not a complete surprise, said Leslie Peel, executive director of the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival.
The festival is separate from the auction but typically takes place on the same weekend.
“We've heard it was happening for a while now,” she said. “We're very sad to see them go.”
The auction has been a sponsor of the festival, and auction attendees often also attend festival events, Peel said.
This year's festival events won't be much different from those of previous years and no events have been canceled, she said.
Festival organizers already are working to line up additional automotive attractions for upcoming years, Peel added. A new event this year will be the Auburn Americana Car Corral and Swap Meet Sept. 2 and 3 at the DeKalb County Fairgrounds.
ForeSight's president is listed as Todd Bauer of Fort Wayne in state corporation records. A second ForeSight application proposes a mixed-use commercial project north and south of County Road 11A adjacent to Interstate 69.
Amy Schweitzer, Auburn's planning director and office administrator, said the auction park application won't have a public hearing at next month's plan commission meeting. Submitted paperwork was missing a statement of ownership.
Consideration has been pushed to the Sept. 14 meeting, she said.
That is after the auction, which is listed for Sept. 2 to 5 on the RM Sotheby website at rmsothebys.com. Sotheby is the auction's promoter.
A person who answered the phone there declined to be named and said he could not provide information about the event or the park's future.