At the St. Bernard Road Home auction, good buys go quick. Winning bidders, like Mark Madary, already have big plans in mind.
"It's a buildable lot, has new sidewalks, new streets. Everything is right there for you," said Madary. "To buy a lot in the Metro New Orleans area for $5,000 that's basically unheard of."
The Louisiana Land Trust recently transferred more than 1,400 Road Home properties to St. Bernard Parish. Madary's lot is among the 150 vacant properties the parish auctioned off Saturday morning. Around 400 renovators, house-flippers, and soon-to-be homeowners came to test their luck.
Brad Lee Robin Jr. signed on the line with plans to expand.
"I'll probably put some fencing around it, park some trailers, move some stuff to get some more space," said Robin who bought a vacant lot directly behind his Meraux home.
St. Bernard Parish hopes people will take the empty lots and develop homes or green space. Parish leaders say the real winner in this auction is the community.
"It's a good feeling to see people coming back -- want to come back-- and want to build in St. Bernard," said Cliff Zeairs with the parish. "If we can put the lots back into commerce, paying the taxes - we can then relieve the parish from having to take care of these problems."
And rebuilding and redeveloping is exactly what Mark Madary hopes to do.
"I have an opportunity to expand and do a new house construction here," said Madary as he surveys his new addition in Arabi.
Madary knows about good opportunities; he's already renovated the home across the street.