Redstone Castle up for auction Saturday
With the proverbial pounding of a gavel Saturday in Glenwood Springs, the Redstone Castle will be sold to the highest bidder.Prospective buyers may show up at the Glenwood Springs Community Center or participate online in the bidding for the historic, lavishly appointed mansion in the tiny town of Redstone, south of Carbondale in the Crystal River Valley.Formally known as Cleveholm Manor, the castle, its carriage house and stable complex are being offered as one lot; a Victorian home in downtown Redstone is being sold separately. Bidders, online or in person, must put up a certified check for $200,000 to participate in the castle auction and $25,000 to bid on the house.The properties were seized by the Internal Revenue Service three years ago in connection with a federal wire and securities fraud investigation that resulted in multiple arrests.”The castle was bought with stolen money,” said John Harrison, IRS special agent and public information officer out of Grand Junction. There is no set minimum bid for the stately mansion, but Harrison would like to recoup at least the $6.3 million in fraud proceeds that he said were used to purchase it. “My goal is to get as close to that figure or beyond as possible,” he said.Residents and historic preservation advocates in Redstone would like to see the castle fetch a new owner who is dedicated to preserving the castle, the grounds and its contents, and keeping it open to the public. The IRS has allowed tours of the castle to continue during its reign as the owner.Peter Martin, a Redstone resident and attorney for the local historical society, said a number of prospective buyers have come forward in recent days, including people who envision public use of the castle.”I’m very, very hopeful with the developments of the last couple of days,” he said.About 30 bidders have applied to participate in the auction online, according to Harrison. They were required to register by Wednesday and provide the earnest money.Twenty-eight people attended a bidder’s conference at the Redstone Inn on March 11 and at least five were “solid bidders,” he said.Like Martin, Pitkin County Commissioner Dorothea Farris will attend Saturday’s 11 a.m. auction. She’s active with the Redstone Historical Society and anxious to see the castle in the hands of someone dedicated to its preservation and public use.”I would love to see it open for public tours, weddings – a bed-and-breakfast was a wonderful idea, but it was not a money maker,” said Farris, who worked at the castle when it was operated as an inn.The castle property is expensive to maintain and a challenge to make profitable as a commercial enterprise, which may lead a buyer to look at the property’s development potential.The county’s land-use code will be a player in the castle’s fate, conceded Martin, a former member of the county planning and zoning commission.”The last thing we want is somebody who’s primarily motivated by it as a real estate development,” he said.The castle is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which means some of its interior finishes and the exterior can’t be demolished or radically altered, according to Harrison. However, a buyer won’t be required to retain the many original antiques that will be sold with the property, he said.And a requirement that the public have access to the castle twice a year has been stripped from the stipulations that have been set on the property by the federal government, Harrison said.Coal baron John Cleveland Osgood built Cleveholm Manor between 1899 and 1902 for roughly $2.5 million. It overlooks what was his industrial village of Redstone. Osgood entertained such notables as John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan and President Theodore Roosevelt there.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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