Tennessee Mansion Bought For ONE DOLLAR Turned Into Dream Home

A married couple who had searched for their dream home for 24 years finally found it in Tennessee - for just one dollar.

The James Lee House is a Memphis landmark dating back to 1848, but has sat dormant for over 60 years after the last owner deeded the property to the city when she died and the association that negotiated a 50-year lease thereafter did nothing with the site.

Once the lease expired in 2011, the city sent out a national Request for Proposals (RFP), calling upon people to restore the grand home - which is listed on the National Historic Register - in a way that would benefit the community at large.

Jose Velázquez, a local developer and former executive director of Latino Memphis, heard of the RFP through a friend and submitted a report on plans to invest $2.1 million in restoring the 165-year-old mansion.

He and his wife, Jennifer, wanted to turn the property into a bed and breakfast, and the plan was approved by the council.

But it wasn't just that easy.

'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,' Mr Velázquez said.

'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.'

On August 21, 2012, the City Council unanimously approved the transfer of the James Lee House to Jose Velazquez for the sum of $1.00.

From there, Mr and Mrs Velázquez got to work.

They rented a house a few doors down to be close to their 'project' and went about finding the right team of experts that could help them pull off a full historic rennovation in less than a year.

The James Lee House Bed and Breakfast officially opened for business on April 17 this year.

There are five suites inside available in the house, one on the first floor and four on the second floor.

José and Jennifer Velázquez reside on the third floor.

The rooms range from $245 to $450 per night.