There's more than one castle in Johnson City, Tenn., but few boast the travails as the one formerly owned by local car dealer Steve Grindstaff. Using using Spain's Palacio de la Magdalena as inspiration, Grindstaff spent more than a decade building the mansion—he "always dreamed of being a knight and one day living in a castle," his wife once told the Journal about the undertaking. In 2008, five years after construction wrapped and no knighthood in sight, he hoisted it on the market for $28.5M—an egregious, utterly inconceiable price tag for a town ranked No. 5 on Kiplinger's 2012 list of the country's 10 least expensive cities for living. Unsurprisingly, the 24,000-square-foot lakeside castillo was PriceChopped rather brutally (down to $19.5M at one point) and sent to the auction block two years ago without a reserve.
The property never actually met the gavel, however: thanks to a flurry of renewed interest from a few prospective buyers at the time, it was taken off the block and sold in summer 2011 for $3.36M to folks who have just listed the place for $4.85M.
A bit about what's for sale: the interiors feature a hand-carved antique bar, stained glass windows, an indoor basketball court, a theater (with a ticket booth!), and custom moldings "designed and hand carved onsite by Greek craftsmen," brags the brokerbabble. Because it's always fun to boast about things being transported from one place to another, there's also a billiards room "complete with an imported pub from England" and 22-foot front doors imported from a Parisian music conservatory. On the grounds, there's a pool, a boat ramp and dock, three slips, four jet ski lifts, a 14-garage illuminated by enormous neon Mercedez-Benz and Rolls-Royce logos, and, surely the pièce de résistance, a 1/13 replica of Bristol Motor Speedway. Vroom!
· http://curbed.com/tags/johnson-city-tenn">No Reserve Auction Set for Auto Dealer's Tennessee Folly [Curbed National]
· Castle in East Tennessee: 191 Degrasse Drive, Johnson City, Tenn. [Sotheby's International Realty via Zillow Blog]
· All castles coverage [Curbed National]