A Silicon Valley city wants to unload a historic mansion that is costing millions of dollars a year in upkeep. But nobody with pockets deep enough seems to want it.
Built in 1905, Hayes Mansion is a 214-room hotel and conference center located in San Jose, California. The city bought the private estate for $A3.18 million in the early 1980s during the personal-computing boom. It wanted to make the mansion a hub for the tech industry.
But tourists and professionals coming to town for conferences never followed in the way the city had hoped, in part because Hayes Mansion sits on the outskirts of Silicon Valley. An investigation by the San Jose Mercury News found that the city has sunk more than $A76 million over the last three decades in subsidizing renovations and maintenance.
San Jose put the mansion up for sale in July, after a deal to sell it for $A60 million ($A6.36 million over asking) fell through. It has since slashed the asking price to $A45 million.
Take a look inside Hayes Mansion.
Built in 1905, it belonged to the Hayes Family, who made their fortune mining iron in the Great Lakes area. The Hayes heirs went on to run newspapers in the Bay Area.
But it was more house than one family needed. The Hayes Family sold most of the estate in 1964, and the mansion entered a long period of decay. It sat vacant for many years.
The city of San Jose scooped it up for $A3.18 million in the 1980s. It launched a massive renovation that added 214 guest rooms and 133,000 square feet of meeting space.
The renovation caused the city to go $A75 million into bond debt, a report from the Mercury News showed. And the hotel and convention center never took off as expected.
The mansion is fully operational, but it doesn't attract the business that city officials projected.
Hayes Mansion did not immediately respond to a request for the hotels' occupancy rate.
Hayes Mansion might appeal to tech companies scouting locations for their next event, as San Francisco's Moscone Center remains closed for renovations. It has 24 meeting rooms.
In addition to conferences, Hayes Mansion hosts weddings, anniversary and birthday parties, fundraisers, and other gala-type affairs in its 6,600-square-foot ballroom.
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