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Abandoned 'haunted house' to get new tenants

By China Daily | China Daily | Updated: 2017-03-03 07:37

Following the completion of an eight-month renovation project, Beijing's most notorious "haunted house" is expected to have new tenants after years of being abandoned.

The property, situated at 81 Chaoyangmen Inner Street, was originally built in 1910 by the French and is owned by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Beijing.

The property consists of two three-story buildings that were once used as a private residence, a school and later, a church hospital, said Fang Yuan, manager of Kongjianjia, the property's rental agency.

However, it was abandoned at some point between 1995 and 1997, and the lack of funding led to the lack of renovation over the years, Fang said.

With the property left abandoned up until last year, rumors circulated over the years that it was haunted. The property was even featured in the 2014 movie The House That Never Dies about paranormal happenings in abandoned mansions. The property had become a tourist attraction, with brave visitors from home and abroad venturing inside on exploration tours.

Abandoned 'haunted house' to get new tenants

Meng Qi, the archdiocese's director of infrastructure, said the widely circulated ghost stories about the property are fictional. Zhao Zisong, a nearby resident, agreed: "No one living in the area was bothered by the rumors."

In 2012, Beijing's cultural heritage division initiated a project to renovate the property, which was listed as a historic and cultural site in 2009.

After renovation work from April to November last year, the European-style buildings are now equipped with modern facilities. The hardwood floor, large windows and painted walls leave no trace of the sad state the place was in previously.

The property has been listed on the agent's website as costing 10 million yuan ($1.45 million) a year to rent.

But after local media reported on it being ready for rent on Wednesday, it attracted numerous visitors the next day, including a film crew checking out the location with a view to shooting scenes for a new movie, and two teams who made live broadcasts on the property.

Wang Chenggang, vice-chairman of a Beijing-based company that specializes in urban infrastructure projects, said he went to check the property first thing on Thursday after reading about the renovation online the day before.

"It is rare to find such European-style buildings in Beijing nowadays, although the modern interior makes it seem less mysterious than it sounds. It is well located and spacious, although the price is high," Wang said.

Fang said the agency is not concerned about the property's reputation for being a "haunted house" scaring away potential tenants. "We are already discussing prices with two possible tenants," she added.

Guo Xiaojun contributed to this story.

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