An anonymous buyer just purchased an entire German village over the phone for less than $165,000, AFP reports. The mystery person was the only bidder in an auction for the village of Alwine on Saturday. Alwine—an embodiment of the failure of what was once East Germany to match the prosperity of the West—boasts a dozen or so decaying buildings and a population of 20. According to Fortune, all but one family in the village are retired.
Prior to reunification, the village 75 miles south of Berlin was owned by a coal briquette plant, which closed in 1991, leading many residents to seek out jobs elsewhere. Alwine was bought by two brothers in 2000, but they had little luck changing its fortunes. The mayor of the district containing Alwine says he wants the village's new owner "to see how we can try to develop something here, in collaboration with the people, and not against them." (Read more Germany stories.)