What It's Like to Be Stuck Living in a NY Castle
Phemisters struggle to flip this New York house
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2013 8:30 AM CDT
Yours, for $895,000.   (sothebysrealty.com)

(Newser) – You don't even need a cool million to purchase a 36,000-square-foot castle in Upstate New York. Just $895,000 will do. The New York Times today takes a look at this most unusual piece of real estate—and the unusual consequences of a common problem: homes that buyers intended to flip and, more than five years later, still find themselves stuck with. Susan and Manfred Phemister had done a few flips before buying the Albany-area castle (in truth it's the 119-year-old Amsterdam Armory, though it does have two turrets) for $800,000 in 2005. Their plan: Sink $400,000 into renovations and list it for $2 million in 2007. "Then we'd sell and make the extra million we’d need to buy a brownstone," says Susan.

You can predict where the story goes from here: The home has been relisted a handful of times, with the price sinking ever lower. Now, just $24-a-square-foot will get you, per Sotheby's, a massive gymnasium, two kitchens, and staff quarters. The Times looks into how the Phemisters are managing in the meantime: A second downturn, in the music industry, hurt Manfred's CD music distribution business; to keep their income up they've rented the castle to TV and film crews and now operate a bed-and-breakfast out of it. That helped to pay the not-insignificant $13,076 utility bill last year. And for now, they'll keep paying it. "We love living here," says Susan. "It’s just that it’s someone else’s turn to live in a castle."

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Showing 3 of 9 comments
Jul 12, 2013 3:06 PM CDT
London, Ontario had their Armory turned into a first class hotel -- With all the duds in Albany, it's time we had something first class there!! It would provide Shelly plenty of place to meet his NYC cronies and figure out more ways to shaft upstate!
Jun 28, 2013 9:01 AM CDT
Castle has lots more room than a brownstone.
Apr 23, 2013 7:10 PM CDT
Maybe they should install solar panels on the roof to defray the costs of electricity.I'd be surprised they couldn't find someone to buy the place.You'd think some Hollywood star or CEO would want to live in a castle.