Just a short, thirty minute drive out from Orlando, lying on the State Road 50 just before Florida Tumpike there’s new property just come onto the Florida real estate market.
At a first glance, it’s unlikely you’d suspect unusual about the mansion, except for the fact it has obviously been abandoned.
The property has lain empty for almost ten years, since the traumatic days of September, 2001, when the recently deceased Osama bin Laden launched his attacks on the Twin Towers.
But even though the mansion, as well as its attached barns and carriage house, lay hundreds of miles away from New York, the events of 9/11 were what caused the home’s previous owners to shoot off as fast as they did.
Ten years on, and a real estate firm is now actively searching for a buyer for Khalil bin Laden’s former home.
Osama’s brother occupied the property for over twenty years before fleeing just days after the terrible events of 9/11.
The estate, which encompasses 17 acres, is listed for $2 million says Autumn Norris-Makin, the realtor charged with finding a buyer for the unique property.
“The current owners actually invested $4 million in the estate, and so they are losing 50% of that,” says Norris-Makin.
The realtor is also quick to point out that it’s not only the bin Laden association that makes the mansion unique. “If you look, the architectural detail is quite different from what you usually find in Florida,” she points out.
The home is a contrast of styles; Spanish motif meets Cypress grandeur. Constructed back in the Roaring Twenties, its fixtures and fittings look like something straight out of a Dick Tracy movie.
The mansion was purchased by Khalil bin Laden back in 1980, and served as his family’s base for dozens of US vacations down the years.
Despite the obvious notoriety of the bin Laden name, Norris-Makin doesn’t see it as a negative factor.
“When we mention bin Laden’s name, it usually just piques people’s interest even more,” she says. “In fact, most people are keener to talk about the renovation work that needs doing.”
Certainly the home is one of the more interesting ones available right now in Florida, and it’s certainly a property that deserves to be bought and restored to its former glory.
But before we leave Ms. Norris-Making to attend to more interested buyers, there’s just one more question we simply have to ask her.
Did Osama himself ever drop by?
“Unfortunately, no one knows for sure, although there’s been speculation of course,” she says, with a wry grin on her face.