Couple buy mansion for a dollar and create luxury dream B&B

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Couple buys Memphis landmark for a dollar and turn it into luxury B&B


A married couple have opened a luxury B&B after buying a rundown Memphis landmark - for just a dollar (60p).

Jose Velázquez and his wife, Jennifer, dreamed of opening a bed & breakfast for 24 years, and managed to do it in just a year after snapping up the historic James Lee House for a dollar.

Couple buys Memphis landmark for a dollar and turn it into luxury B&B


The building dates back to 1848, but had sat derelict for over 60 years after the last owner deeded the property to the city when she died. The association that negotiated a 50-year lease then did nothing with the site.

According to the Daily Mail, when the lease expired in 2011, the city sent out a national Request for Proposal calling on people to restore the home in a way that would benefit the community.

Couple buys Memphis landmark for a dollar and turn it into luxury B&B

Jose, a local developer, submitted a plan to invest £2.1 million into the restoration, and turn the 165-year-old property into a B&B.

Speaking to the Huffington Post, Jose said: "In short, the city launched a national RFP for the historic restoration and adaptive reuse of the property and we were selected after submitting a detailed application that included plans, business pro forma, etc.

Couple buys Memphis landmark for a dollar and turn it into luxury B&B


"In order to complete the property transfer, we had to secure all financing, have signed contracts with architects/contractors, provide appropriate construction bonds, and [essentially] ensure that the property would actually be restored and reused in a timely manner.

Couple buys Memphis landmark for a dollar and turn it into luxury B&B


"We had 12 months to complete all construction work and be open for business. This was all a very ambitious timetable (considering that the property had been abandoned for over 60 years), but we were determined to do it and do it right ... and we did!"

The building is listed as a National Historic Landmark, and on its Facebook page, "an exclusive property, offering five-star amenities and services without the crowds and impersonal service of larger establishments."

It adds: "The extraordinary craftsmanship of this historic home caters to travellers with the most discriminating tastes.

"Our five meticulously appointed suites are thoughtfully and handsomely decorated to make your stay with us truly unforgettable."

The James Lee House opened on 17 April this year. Rooms start at $245 (£135).

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