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Inside a $2.5 million Michigan castle that harkens back to medieval Europe with its secret passageways, wooden drawbridge, and wine cellar

An exterior view of LeBlanc Castle in Rochester, Michigan, built in 1990.
An exterior view of LeBlanc Castle in Rochester, Michigan.

Courtesy of Nick Asplund, Lux Partners Global


  • The LeBlanc Castle is a custom 10,000-square-foot property about 30 minutes north of Detroit.

  • It has 26 rooms over five floors and features amenities like a wine cellar and secret passageways.

  • The castle, set on more than 6 acres, has been on the market for three months asking $2.5 million.

Brent Gatecliff, 64, never imagined owning a castle.

To this day, he has not spent a single night at the five-bedroom, seven-bathroom mansion a 30-minute drive north of Detroit known to locals as The LeBlanc Castle.

Located at 2009 Victoria Hill Drive in Rochester, Michigan, the 10,000-square-foot, five-level structure stands over a 6.25-acre lot. It harkens back to the 15th-century Scottish medieval era with its secret passageways, wooden drawbridge, and other classical features like a moat. But there are also more modern amenities such as central heat and air, a gym, and a fire protection system. 

Gatecliff came to own the castle after striking up a business deal with James LeBlanc, the original designer and builder of the eponymous castle, in 2015. 

LeBlanc initially purchased the land to build the castle in 1991, public records show, and he then undertook several trips to Europe, as well as studied multiple books on castle architecture, to study up on the subject when designing the home. According to Dylan Tent, a realtor with Sotheby's International who is representing Gatecliff, the castle took nearly six years to build at a cost of $10.5 million. 

The home was intended to be an engagement present from LeBlanc to his wife, Vera, Gatecliff said. 

Gatecliff added that LeBlanc was in poor health and struggled to make payments on the property when they met. So Gatecliff agreed to loan LeBlanc more than $900,000 to keep the home on the condition that LeBlanc would repay the loan in monthly installments. LeBlanc made most of those payments until he passed away in May 2022 at 73 years old, leaving Gatecliff in possession of the property. 

"James was an amazingly brilliant person," Gatecliff said. "I saw an opportunity to help out a guy who was about to lose his house, and eventually became friends with him."

Gatecliff said he and LeBlanc had a lot in common despite being near total strangers when they first met. For instance, both men owned businesses in Lake Orion, Michigan. Gatecliff owned a mechanical supply company called Pipe Systems, Inc., while LeBlanc ran a military contracting company called Advanced Defense Vehicle Systems. (Gatecliff said he helped LeBlanc source parts for some military vehicles he worked on after the two met.)

Since taking possession of the castle, Gatecliff said he has updated several pieces of the home's infrastructure. He's replaced the hot water heater, installed six new furnaces, and added six new programmable thermostats. 

Gatecliff has also entertained multiple offers on the property since taking ownership, but none of them have worked out thus far. The castle is being sold as is and the price includes all of the period-specific furniture. It is currently under contract, though, and Tent told Insider that the deal could close as early as mid-December. 

"The quality craftsmanship that went into building this home is truly astounding," Gatecliff said. "It's easy to see in the inlay wood, the antique chandeliers, and the oak carpenter ceilings. It's truly amazing."

The exterior resembles castles from 15th century Scotland and is complete with a drawbridge and a moat.
The exterior resembles a castle from 15th century Scotland

Nick Asplund

A functional portcullis located at the entrance of LeBlanc Castle.
A functional portcullis located at the entrance of LeBlanc Castle in Rochester, Michigan.
A functional portcullis located at the entrance of LeBlanc Castle in Rochester, Michigan.

Courtesy of Nick Asplund, Lux Partners Global

A suit of armor stands en garde by the front door.
A suit of armour by the front door of LeBlanc Castle.
A suit of armour by the front door of LeBlanc Castle.

Courtesy of Nick Asplund, Lux Partners Global

The front passageway leads to a dining hall that is big enough to host a King's banquet.
The home opens up into a great hall that is perfect for entertaining a banquet

Nick Asplund

The banister of the staircase leading upstairs includes several hand-carved features, and the stairs are covered by a royal red carpet.
The banister of the staircase leading upstairs includes several hand-carved features, and the stairs are covered by a royal red carpet.

Nick Asplund

One of the bedrooms includes a skylight over the bed and a small balcony that looks out into the surrounding woods.
One of the bedrooms includes a skylight over the bed and a small balcony that looks out into the surrounding woods.

Nick Asplund

Another one of the bedrooms has a deep red color scheme.
Another one of the bedrooms has a deep red aesthetic

Nick Asplund

The primary bathroom features an octagonal bathtub, a chandelier, and some antique light fixtures.
Another bathroom featuring an octagonal bathtub in LeBlanc Castle.
Another bathroom featuring an octagonal bathtub in LeBlanc Castle.

Courtesy of Nick Asplund, Lux Partners Global

Downstairs, there is a secret grotto, a wine cellar, and a garage big enough to hold some serious horsepower.
Downstairs, there is a secret grotto, a wine cellar, and a garage big enough to hold some serious horsepower.

Nick Asplund

The bar features the name of James LeBlanc, the man who built LeBlanc Castle.
A personalised bar featuring the name of James LeBlanc, the man who had the castle built.
A personalised bar featuring the name of James LeBlanc, the man who had the castle built.

Courtesy of Nick Asplund, Lux Partners Global

The downstairs bar resembles a classic English pub, complete with the inlaid wood and exposed beams.
The downstairs bar resembles a classic English pub, complete with the inlaid wood and exposed beams.

Nick Asplund

The castle also includes a network of underground passageways in the basement.
A network of underground passageways in the basement at LeBlanc Castle.
A network of underground passageways in the basement at LeBlanc Castle.

Courtesy of Nick Asplund, Lux Partners Global

Outside, the castle includes a large patio that's perfect for entertaining guests.
Detailing on the exterior of LeBlanc Castle in Rochester, Michigan, a Medieval-inspired castle,
Detailing on the exterior of LeBlanc Castle in Rochester, Michigan, a Medieval-inspired castle,

Courtesy of Nick Asplund, Lux Partners Global

LeBlanc Castle sits on 6.25 acres of land in a private gated community.
An aerial view of the LeBlanc Castle, located in 6-acres of land in a private gated community.
An aerial view of the LeBlanc Castle, located in 6-acres of land in a private gated community.

Courtesy of Nick Asplund, Lux Partners Global

Read the original article on Business Insider