Living in a stylish property is one thing, but can you imagine buying your own town? Some people have done this in the past, but is it a good investment or something that they’d ended up regretting?
Story, Indiana; Population, 3
The tiny town of Story in Indiana is basically reduced to an inn with a restaurant. Its history goes back to the mid-19th century and it’s on the National Register of Historic Places. Surrounded by nature but just a few miles from Nashville, Indiana, it has become a popular tourist attraction despite having a population of just three people.
Rick Hofstetter didn’t spend a fortune on Story, as he and a business partner bought it in 1999, when it was rundown and largely forgotten. After a few years, he bought out the partner and it became a place where people travelled to get married or just enjoy the pleasures of one of the county’s smallest towns. Hofstetter put it up for sale at $3.8 million in 2019.
Something similar has been happening recently in Spain, where people are buying towns that were left abandoned in the exodus to the cities in previous decades, with the hope of turning them into profitable travel destinations. Salto de Castro is an example of this kind of opportunity, with this 44-house village in Zamora currently on sale for roughly the same price as a one-bedroom apartment in Madrid.
The Jerry And Marge Go Large Movie
This 2022 movie told the true story of Jerry and Marge Selbee. Played by Bryan Cranston and Annette Benning, the couple retired in the small town of Evart, Michigan and started playing a state lottery game. Jerry worked out how to win regularly thanks to the lottery’s Rolldown feature.
In real life, you can now gamble on lotteries online using Lottoland scratchcards such as Shootout Scratch and Who Wants to be Millionaire. They provide a similar experience to locally-bought cards and also include international lotteries from across the planet. The couple in the movie didn’t actually buy Evart, which has a population of 1,900 at the time of writing, but the movie shows how they used their massive winnings to attempt to revitalise the small town.
Kim Basinger Bought Braselton
Back in 1989, Kim Basinger was one of the world’s most popular actors, and she decided to use the fortune she made from acting to buy her home town as an investment. Braselton in Georgia had a population of 500 and was owned by Braselton Brothers Inc, who sold it to Basinger and a group of other investors for $20 million. The idea was to create an exclusive tourist destination with movie studios and a film festival, but the purchase of the 1,751 acres didn’t go as planned.
By 1995, the actress was in financial problems and had to start selling off the land as bankruptcy hung over her following her decision to pull out of the Boxing Helena movie. She later said that nothing good had come of this business deal and that it had caused a rift with her family, some of whom had also invested in the Braselton purchase.
There are different ways of buying your own town, but it isn’t easy and requires a lot of money and hard work to get it right.