A 5-storey ‘castle’ in the outskirts of Matsuyama City, Ehime Prefecture, is up for public auction this month with a minimum bid set at 39,240,000 Yen (approx. 370,000 USD).
The property is a run-down former love hotel designed to resemble a traditional Japanese castle. The 2,600 sqm (27,800 sq.ft) hotel was built in the 1980s, but has been closed since the early 2000s. It is located on a 15,000 sqm block of land across the road from a pond and golf course, and a few hundred meters from several housing subdivisions.
Bidding closes on June 9, with bids to be opened later in the month. This is not the first time the property has been up for public auction. It was foreclosed on by Ehime Prefecture back in 2003 due to non-payment of prefecture taxes. It was put up for auction in 2009 with a minimum bid set at 145,000,000 Yen, but failed to receive any offers.
Annual property taxes in 2015 were 2,957,000 Yen (approx. 27,700 USD).
Despite having what appears to be a low price, there are some unusual conditions with this property:
- Several buildings are reportedly occupied by a short-term money lender who is claiming ownership of both the buildings and land.
- The money lender claims to have signed a contract of sale with the original owner over 10 years ago for 200 million Yen and had paid the owner 10 million Yen. However, the ownership rights were never transferred. They produced a contract of sale, but the original owner denies the sale occurred. The original owner admits consulting with the money lender several years ago.
- Another occupant of the property, a real estate company, is also seeking compensation for repairs and renovations. The court reduced the bidding price accordingly, since the new owner may be responsible for compensating the occupants for these costs.
- The water pipes are claimed to be owned by third parties, and may not be usable. The current occupant/s do not have access to town water and are using a well located on the property.
*Update: The property failed to receive any bids in the June foreclosure auction.