Former Florida prison listed as vacation rental on airbnb
Want to live out your Walking Dead fantasies, or perhaps pretend you're on an episode of Beyond Scared Straight? Are you tired of staying in hotels that don't offer accomodations such as razor wire, uncomfortable bunk beds located mere feet away from a toilet and an all-encompassing sense of dread?
Well then you're going to want to check out this airbnb listing enthusiastically titled Spend the Night in PRISON! Yes, someone has listed a former prison compound on airbnb.
The "prison" described in the listing is actually the former Indian River Correctional Institution in Vero Beach, which housed male inmates aged 14 to 18. The facility was closed by the Florida Department of Corrections in 2012 due to budget concerns.
The 99-acre prison complex was put up for auction by the state and sold for an amount more than $715,000, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection website, which lists surplus state properties for sale. Now someone on airbnb with the user name Rob, whose bio says he's a filmmaker named Rob Goodman, has listed the prison on airbnb, the service that lets people list their own homes and properties as vacation rentals.
For around $103 per night ($175 on Fridays and Saturdays), the listing claims that guests can enjoy extreme privacy and "99 acres of exploration at your own risk," after signing a waiver, as well as three ponds stocked with fish. According to the listing, each rental includes a private two-bed cell with a toilet. The rest of the prison is considered to be a common area, and guests are free to explore some of the other buildings on the compound.
As of this writing, there weren't any user reviews of the prison, and it's unclear if anyone has stayed there yet, or even if Goodman will follow through by allowing guests who book a cell at the prison through the website.
When reached through the airbnb messaging app, the user who identified himself as Goodman said he does plan to accomodate guests, and that there is already a booking scheduled, but that he isn't promoting the rental "intensely."
"It's just kind of there," he wrote. "We also let them know this is a camping trip. We provide nothing but the prison, that's it. It's no Marriott."
Goodman said the owner of the prison is his "best friend," Geronimos Dimetrelos, the CEO of Algae to Omega, a company that cultivates algae for use in skin care products. The Indian River Press Journal reported that Algae to Omega made an $850,000 bid on the prison property last summer. A call to the company's main number went to a voicemail.
If you do book a room, don't expect a comfy mattress or a free continental breakfast. As the listing puts it, "bring what you need to survive."
The rental calendar still showed it was available for the Halloween weekend, which seems like an appropriate time for a visit.