Wild West enthusiasts and wanderlusters alike can now own a piece of American frontier history with the purchase an entire old west town… in New Zealand.
Mellonsfolly Ranch — situated within a 900-acre lot in the North Island of New Zealand — is on sale for $7.5 million and comes complete with 10 period themed buildings and a Manuka honey business.
The tribute town was built in 2006 by cowboy enthusiast John Bedogni as an homage to an 1860s Wyoming frontier town.
It features an “authentic and licensed saloon,” a courthouse that doubles as a cinema, a sheriff’s office and a billiards lounge, according to the listing from New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty. There are also three homes — the main residence plus two rental houses — that accommodate up to 22 people, it said.
Old West business opportunity
Located about six hours by car from Auckland, while also accessible by helipad, the site currently operates as a boutique hotel, with nightly hire-out rates starting from $5,000. But it also presents other possible business opportunities.
Sotheby’s Ben Hawan told CNBC Make It they had already seen enquiries from parties who understand the “substantial potential in the Manuka honey operation.”
The native honey has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years due to its unique taste and perceived health benefits.
In 2019, the ranch produced 15.5 tons of Manuka from around 600 hives, according to its current owner Rob Bartley. “There’s a lot of money there. Especially with China coming back, now they’re paying big money for it,” he told Bloomberg.
A simpler way of life
The property, which is home to various outdoor activities like fishing, swimming and hunting, also offers a spot for sanctuary, said Hawan.
“New Zealand has been in the limelight of late due to its success in battling Covid-19. But even prior to this, New Zealand has long been a desirable place to live due to the enviable quality of life here,” he said.
Early last month, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the country had eliminated the coronavirus. It has since recorded a handful of new imported cases from residents returning to the country from overseas. Overall, 22 people have died from the virus in the country.
“New Zealand, down here in the Pacific, enjoys a certain level of insulation from the comings and goings of the world at large. With Covid still rampant in many parts of the world, many buyers view New Zealand as somewhat of a safe haven,” Hawan added.
So far, the listing has seen interest from buyers in Hong Kong and a number of states in the U.S, as well as domestic purchasers.
Residents of Australia and Singapore are allowed to purchase property in New Zealand. Restrictions apply to other overseas buyers. However, business people who invest NZ$10 million (approximately $6,430,000) over three years are eligible to apply for a so-called “Investor 1 Residence Visa.”
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