Dracula's neck of the woods

June 28 2007 (Reuters / New York) -- In the cutthroat business of real estate, U.S.-based firm Baytree Capital Associates has been chosen to market Dracula's Castle. Archduke Dominic Habsburg, who lives in New York state, and his family retained the private investment firm to market Bran Castle and the surrounding property in the Transylvanian region of Romania.



"They're looking to flat out sell the entire project, but they are particular about who they sell it to," said Michael Gardner, Baytree chairman.

"While they are amenable to someone building a resort that continues the castle and such, they're not amenable to blood dripping on swords. This is not going to be Vampire Land."

While he would not say how much the property would go for, he suspects it would be in the nine-figure euro range. He expects to start marketing the property in about 60 days.

The castle and ancillary buildings are located on 22 acres and additional acres also may be attached to the sale. The property is about 20 minutes away from an international airport that is currently under construction and near the Brasov ski area.

The association of Bran Castle as Dracula's Castle can be traced back to Irish author Bram Stoker, who used the castle as his inspiration for the settings of his 1897 novel, Dracula. The Romanian government has about two years left to operate the castle as a museum, which hosts about 450,000 visitors a year, Gardner said.

The castle originally was built as a fortress in 1377 and was given to the Romanian royal family in 1920. The castle became a possession of the state in 1947 and was transformed into a museum in 1957. The Romanian government returned the property to the Habsburg family in 2006.

Gardner said the property will probably be marketed to private equity firms and hotel real estate investment trusts, but the buyer will probably be European.

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From the Library

As the 20th century evolved, rational man turned to science to explain mythology that had pervaded for thousands of years. How could a man be mistaken for a vampire? How could someone appear to have been the victim of a vampire attack? Science, in time, came back with answers that may surprise you.Anemia
A million fancies strike you when you hear the name: Nosferatu!N O S F E R A T Udoes not die!What do you expect of the first showing of this great work?Aren't you afraid? - Men must die. But legend has it that a vampire, Nosferatu, 'der Untote' (the Undead), lives on men's blood! You want to see a symphony of horror? You may expect more. Be careful. Nosferatu is not just fun, not something to be taken lightly. Once more: beware.- Publicity for Nosferatu in the German magazine Buhne und Film, 1922  

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