The idea of a large chunk of their town center going up on a virtual auction block has ruffled some feathers in the tiny Litchfield County town of Warren, but not all 1,300 residents are in a huff.

Joseph Cicio, who has been a president and chief executive of several retail companies, such as Donna Karan International, bought the town’s general store, an antique shop, a pottery shop and a 14-room Colonial-style house with two barns about four years ago, according to the Associated Press. He also bought about 78 acres of land.

Cicio fixed up the buildings over the years, and now hopes to sell them for $5 million on eBay. The AP reported that eBay already has carried the listing, but it was not posted as The Commercial Record went to press.

“The guy who bought it did a very neat job of putting it together,” said Nancy Scofield, a retired schoolteacher from Warren who now serves on the town’s Building Committee. The buildings look much better than they did years ago, she said.

“I like fixing things up and making them look nice,” Cicio told the AP. “I have done this before many, many times.

“The commercial part always looked so sad, and I never quite understood why. I really did it more for the adventure of doing it and also to try to make the town look better.”

‘A Lot of Nice Work’
Linda Mazza, who opened a gourmet delicatessen in the former general store, told the AP that Cicio has made major improvements.

“He did a lot of nice work,” Mazza said, adding that her business has been gaining steam since it opened in 2004. She now employs a staff of seven, producing fresh-baked pies, lunches and other treats.

The property lies at the junction of Routes 341 and 45, the main roads connecting Washington, Kent and Litchfield.

Despite the improvements Cicio made to the town center, some residents of Connecticut’s third-smallest town do not like the way the chunk of real estate is being sold, Scofield said.

Klemm Real Estate in Litchfield County reportedly has listed the property on eBay, but searches on the Web site Tuesday did not find the property listing. It was listed on Klemm’s Web site, however.

The property also was shown on Klemm’s Web site broken into pieces. The general store and an office building were listed for $1.4 million, the residential home for $1.3 million and the land for $2.4 million.

Residents also fear an end to their small-town way of life, according to the AP.

A number of new homes priced at around $400,000 each have recently been built and are attracting migrants from New York and other places. According to the AP, residents worry about having to build a new school to keep up with the influx of children.

Taxes rose 4.17 percent this year, to 19.5 mills, or $19.50 for every $1,000 in assessed property value.

“We like our small-town ways and we hope it stays close to that,” Selectman Calvin Tanner, who once farmed the land Cicio is now looking to sell, told the AP.

The town is considering new subdivision regulations.

Residents of this town of 1,317 residents, founded in 1786 and named for Revolutionary War hero Gen. Joseph Warren, have their fingers crossed, hoping a sale will not lead to a housing boom. About 60 acres of Cicio’s offering are zoned residential, with subdivision potential, according to the AP.