Bristol County Sheriff Auctioning Off New Bedford’s Iconic Shawmut Diner
DARTMOUTH (WBSM) — Bristol County Sheriff Paul Heroux has put New Bedford’s iconic Shawmut Diner on the auction block, with the starting bid at just $10.
The auction began this afternoon and runs until July 27.
“Hopefully, it will find a good home. It’s a unique piece of local history,” Sheriff Heroux said in a release.
The 70-year-old diner was owned for decades by Phil and Celeste Paleologos, who donated the diner to the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office following its closure on March 31, 2014. The idea was that the diner could be used as a training facility to help inmates learn skills to help them find a job upon their release.
It was moved from the corner of Shawmut Avenue and Hathaway Road to the BCSO campus on Faunce Corner Road in Dartmouth, where it has sat on blocks ever since.
According to the release, the BCSO “planned to use asset forfeiture money to breathe new life into the old diner as a teaching facility,” but “The millions of dollars the BCSO was expecting from the U.S. Department of Justice never came.”
The release also said the BCSO “recently sought but was unsuccessful in finding a local nonprofit or state/public organization to donate the diner to,” and so instead Sheriff Heroux has decided to auction off the diner.
The funds from the auction will go to the state.
The winning bidder will have to move the diner off the BCSO property.
“Bidders should be aware that the diner does not contain any kitchen or cooking equipment and it will also need bathrooms and extensive work to be able to serve the public,” the Sheriff’s Office said.
You can see photos of the current state of the diner on the auction listing webpage.
There will be a public viewing at the BCSO campus on Tuesday, July 25 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Paleologos recently told WBSM’s Barry Richard that if the diner wasn’t going to be utilized by the BCSO, he wanted it back.
"If it's just going to sit there, I want it back," he said. "Give it to a school like (GNB Voc-Tech) to utilize it for its culinary arts program or a non-profit to feed indigent people."
"Waiting all these years goes against the grain for why we donated it in the first place," he said. "A lot of people have missed the boat on the whole concept, and that has frustrated us so much."
Cliff Ponte, owner of Al Mac’s Diner in Fall River, had expressed an interest in the former Shawmut Diner, and Dartmouth businessman Dave Vermette had pledged $25,000 to help with its rehab if it was to be used for inmate training.