Joe Maddalena has sold many things throughout his career of finding and auctioning Hollywood memorabilia. But this is probably the first time one piece of memorabilia was an entire town.
Henry River Mill Village, located about an hour northwest of Charlotte, N.C., is up for sale, and Maddalena plans to sell the property on his Syfy reality series “Hollywood Treasure.”
But what’s so special about Henry River Mill Village? Construction on the planned community began in 1905 to support a yarn manufacturing plant there, and the last resident left the town in 1987. One local resident bought the 72-acre mill town soon after as a way to keep vandals and other undesirables out of its many industrial revolution-era buildings, according to Atlas Obscura.
However, the town would become famous this past year when it was used as the District 12 living areas of “The Hunger Games,” the home of Katniss Everdeen and her family.
With people still flocking to see the village, even after the film grossed more than $400 million domestically, Wade Shepherd, 83, is ready to part ways with it for $1.4 million. That apparently is just slightly above the land’s actual value of $1.2 million that includes all the land along with around 20 buildings, including the house where the Everdeens lived in the film, as well as the bakery owned by Peeta Mellark’s family.
Maddalena, who runs the Hollywood appraisal company Profiles in History, will acquire the auction rights to the property in the June 5 episode, but it’s unclear if he was able to sell the property or not. While there is a lot of interest in the land right now, its only use at this point would be to make it a living museum to the first “Hunger Games” film, which is obviously moving away from needing the village as a set in future films.
Yet, some standing location sets have long-term value. The Hobbit village in New Zealand is still visited by tourists more than a decade after being first featured in “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.” And although it’s not necessarily an official tourist spot, Tunisia still boasts the remains of Tatooine from the original Star Wars films, decades after its first release.
With “Hunger Games” growing into what many believe will be a huge franchise, owning a piece of the history (especially at less than $17,000 an acre) might be worth it.
“Hollywood Treasure” airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on Syfy.