What happened next is a testimony to the "real neighborhood" spirit that Schassler says drew her to Mount Vernon. In the space of 10 days, Midtown Development Corporation, a nonprofit which helps secure financial assistance for homeowners and renovators in Midtown communities, organized a group of 18 merchants and residents, including Schassler, to purchase the MacGillivray building at auction. Initially the group, which had raised more than $200,000, intended to only purchase the apartment side of the building, leaving the liquor store to another buyer. But a third, mystery bidder-described in articles about the auction as "the man on a cell phone"-seemed poised to buy the entire building out from both the Midtown group and Gould. When the auction price had risen to $575,000, Charles B. Duff Jr., executive director of the nonprofit Midtown Development Corp, hesitated to bid any higher. But at the last minute he conferred with Gould, who presumably agreed to kick in an unspecified amount to the Midtown group's bid; with a handshake agreement in place, Duff placed the winning bid, $600,000, for the pharmacy and the apartments. With the help of tax credits, an Inner-City Ventures Fund loan for $225,000, and a $60,000 grant from the National Trust and HGTV, the MacGillivray's building would be fully restored.