The last place Bruce Lee called home was a 5,000 square foot mansion located at 41 Cumberland Road in Hong Kong’s tony residential district of Kowloon Tong. But since the martial arts legend unexpectedly died in 1973 at age 32, the house has passed through several owners. And now, for $23 million, this piece of kung-fu history could be yours.
The current owner, ninety-year old property tycoon Yu Pengnian, told the local Singtao Daily on Wednesday that he had given up on talks with the Hong Kong government to set up a Bruce Lee Museum at the site. His current tenant is The Romantic — a seedy rooms-by-the-hour love hotel — which, he told the newspaper, has failed to pay rent for the last two years.
Yu — whose investments in similar venues have helped earn him the nickname the ‘Love Hotel King‘ — bought the building in 1974 for $8.5 million Hong Kong dollars. Thirty-eight years later, he is selling the property at 21 times the buying price.
Bruce Lee, Hong Kong’s most famous son, was born in San Francisco’s Chinatown in 1940 while his parents were touring the U.S. with a Cantonese opera troupe. They soon returned to the then British colony, where Lee grew up training under Yip Man, a legendary master of the Wing Chun school of Kung Fu. At age 18 he went back to the U.S.; a decade later, he returned to Hong Kong as a world-famous actor and settled in Cumberland Road.
While Yu failed in his efforts for a Bruce Lee museum in Hong Kong, another town has been more successful: Shunde, the ancestral hometown of the Lee family two hours drive north across the border in China, features a 1.89 square kilometer Bruce Lee Paradise theme park. Xiacun village, where almost everyone’s surname is Lee, boasts a 12-meter tall statue of the legendary actor. In honor of his 65 birthday in 2005, both Hong Kong and Mostar — a city inBosnia-Herzegovina that Lee had no relation to whatsoever — unveiled life-sized Bruce Lee statues.