Real Estate Investors Tap Into Historic Ruins
Reclamation and restoration could be a lucrative investment for investors willing to deploy sweat equity. Real estate investors have teamed up with contractors and developers to corner a growing niche of the real estate market: dilapidated mansions and historic properties.
The most recent example of this is the James Seymour Mansion in Auburn, New York that recently sold for $50,000. Dating back to 1861, the 6,000-square-foot, 10-bedroom Victorian mansion was in a serious state of disrepair. Despite its condition, the City of Auburn City Council received over 204 proposals to purchase the site. The winning proposal, submitted by the Joynt family, detailed an extensive restoration process that would preserve the mansion’s historic characteristics.
Across the Atlantic, UK-based Hinduja Group partnered with Spanish industrial giant Obrascón Huarte Lain Desarrollos to restore the iconic Old War Office in London. Completed in 1906, the 760,000 square-foot property served as Sir Winston Churchill’s military headquarters during the Second World War. Now, the new owners plan to invest £460 million to restore the property and convert it into a luxury hotel and retail space.
When completed, the restored building will include 85 luxury residences and 125 luxury hotel suites managed by the world-class Raffles hotel. The original Raffles hotel in Singapore was also recently restored. Built in 1887 as a 10-room hotel, is considered a focal point for Singapore’s thriving luxury and business travel industry. After a two-year restoration project, the historic building reopened with 115 suites, a redesigned lobby and a rooftop pool.
While both these properties were occupied for much of their history, other luxury mansions and iconic structures haven’t been so fortunate. From the Swannanoa mansion in Lyndhurst, Virginia to the Villa de Vecchi in Italy, hundreds of mansions spread across many acres lay abandoned and dilapidated.