A 12-room Minnesota bed-and-breakfast on the market for $495,000 could be an ideal second chapter for a restless urbanite. With repeat guests and a budget-friendly price point, it's a real steal for a savvy buyer who can embrace the home's interesting past.
Because a gem like the JailHouse Inn—yep, it's a former jail—doesn't land on the market every day.
“It’s such a neat property. The current owners have been there since the inception,” says listing agent Roxanne Johnson. “It’s been [a B&B] for 20 years. It’s time (for them) to retire. They've done a very nice restoration. It's in immaculate condition.”
The former Fillmore County Jail was built in 1886 and operated as a jail until 1972, with the sheriff and his family living on site. Since the 1980s, the structure has been on the National Register of Historic Places.
Included in the inn are seven fireplaces, 12 Victorian-themed guest rooms (plus the fun "Cellblock Suite"), and a total of 15 bathrooms. No two baths or rooms are alike. There's also a chef-grade kitchen (to help you whip up amazing omelets!), and plenty of porches and patios where guests can linger during their stay.
There’s even a wine cellar to store prize vintages. An owner’s suite on the third floor—in addition to the B&B's 12 guest rooms—is ideal for full-time or part-time owners. Plus, zoning for the property is set at commercial or residential, which provides ample flexibility for the next owner.
What's life like in the tiny town of Preston (population 1,305)? Blessed with four vibrant seasons, it’s considered the B&B capital of Minnesota, drawing tourists all year round.
“Preston doesn’t close down,” says Johnson. Folks travel there for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling in the winter, and bicycling, horseback riding, and fishing in the summer. The Root River winds through the town, which is also known as “Minnesota’s Trout Capital.”
The small town “is very scenic, with rolling hills, and pretty good for trout fishing, and [it] features a 60-mile paved bike trail on an old railroad track,” says Johnson, "With a few shops and restaurants, it's your normal little town."
Year-round residents flock here for the school district, says Johnson, and it's just under two hours to the Mall of America and the Twin Cities. Preston provides the best of both worlds: a bucolic countryside setting without a terribly long drive to a metropolis.
The JailHouse Inn's owners have had guests from all over the world to stay. "Fortune 500 companies have had their retreats here,” says Johnson.
Johnson thinks the next owner will be “someone who enjoys people, loves history, and appreciates the building.” Best of all? Previous jailhouse experience is not required.