1. Business

National Geographic doomsday prepper auctioning rock 'n' roll B&B

Reality star Brent Bruns II had hoped to convert this home at 121 Fifth Ave. N in St. Petersburg into a rock ’n’ roll themed bed and breakfast. But now the house and its contents are going up for auction.
Published Mar. 8, 2014

ST. PETERSBURG — Reality star Brent Bruns II gained fame preparing for doomsday. Now he's auctioning off his rock 'n' roll themed, nine-bedroom historic home to prepare for legalized medical marijuana.

"I think the future is growing marijuana," said the local 42-year-old who starred with his family last year in Doomsday Castle, a spinoff of Doomsday Preppers.

The auction of what he once hoped would be the Rock 'n' Roll Bed and Breakfast and its contents will take place March 23.

"The bidding for everything starts at $1," he said. The 5,500-square-foot house at 121 Fifth Ave. N is in foreclosure. He hopes to make enough to pay the bank the $270,000 he owes plus more to invest in legalized marijuana ventures, if the voters approve the change in the law in November.

Bruns kicked a three-year pain pill addiction while he was in the woods of South Carolina filming the National Geographic Channel reality series.

"I'm very convinced the pain pill epidemic in Florida can be significantly reduced if we legalize marijuana," he said.

Last year he and his siblings joined his dad, Brent Bruns Sr., a Palm Coast real estate agent, to complete a medieval castle that will serve as a bunker in case an electromagnetic burst results in a massive power outage. Eight episodes aired in the fall, but the prepper drama isn't being picked up for another season, according to a National Geographic Channel spokesman.

While Brent Bruns II was fashioning a catapult and beating addiction near Pickens, S.C, he fell behind on mortgage payments back in St. Petersburg. He's had other problems as well, including a 2004 bankruptcy, numerous arrests and a short 2008 jail stint on fraud charges.

"I've made some mistake in my life, and now I'm trying to do right by them," he said. In January, Bruns was charged with domestic battery. He had no comment on the ongoing case.

Other aspects of his life are going more smoothly. Bruns owns the I Love Downtown St. Petersburg Facebook page, which has 46,000 fans.

When he bought the 1910 bungalow and two small cottages in 2010 for $265,000, Bruns envisioned the Rock 'n' Roll Bed and Breakfast. Local artists painted murals depicting Elvis, Jim Morrison, the Beatles and Woodstock.

"They ended up applying to the city for the necessary permits to convert the house to a bed and breakfast, but it doesn't look like the permits were ever issued. That may be due to requirements for building or fire codes," said city zoning official Philip Lazzara.

"I was about 95 percent there," Bruns said.

He even acquired 72 autographed guitars from former Jannus Landing owner Jack Bodziak. Tesla, Everclear, Blues Traveler, the Flaming Lips, Black Sabbath singer Ronnie James Dio and many others are represented in the collection displayed throughout the house. Each will be sold with a starting bid of $1.

"I don't know what these are worth. Maybe $75. Maybe $375," said John Harris, president of Harris Auctions, the company handling the sale.

The guitars and 11 TVs will go on the block between noon and 2 p.m. Then the house will be auctioned followed by the rest of the contents.

"Will my whole life go for $1 or will it go for $1 million?" asked Bruns. "I don't know."

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.


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