SANGER, Texas — The Sanger Mansion has sat empty and unfinished for more than 30 years.
Now, it has new owners and new life.
Isabel Ramey is the owner of Bella Mansions and, with the help of her parents, hopes to turn it into a wedding venue.
"I just had so many thoughts going through my head of what we could actually do with all this space,” Isabel Ramey said.
After years of searching for the perfect wedding venue spot, they did what thousands have done for decades: they just drove by on Interstate 35.
"We always wondered, 'What the heck is that?'” Isabel's father Kenneth Ramey said of the mansion.
It’s created many myths. Kenneth says his favorites are the ones that involve a drug dealer who got busted.
The reality is a family of three planned to build it as their 25,000 square foot dream home, but after a divorce and then bankruptcy in the mid-'90s, it was never completed.
The second owners hoped to turn it into a mall that never materialized.
"I see it as almost an iconic structure,” Kenneth Ramey said.
The exterior has been tarnished by time, but the steel and concrete foundation has withstood decades of water and wind. The highlight is a three-story floating staircase in the middle of the home.
"A lot of people are happy to see this place finally get brought into something,” Isabel said. "It's a sad house that had so much potential that was wasted away over the decades."
The Rameys purchased the home for $795,000 and plan to put more than $2 million into it for renovations. If everything stays on schedule, they could be ready to open it up by early 2021.
"We are ecstatic to be able to finish it,” Isabel Ramey said.