If you’ve ever been curious to see the ruins of a luxurious mansion years after it had been abandoned, now’s your chance. The former mansion of Mike Tyson is soon to get a major facelift when its current owners complete its transformation into a church. But for now, the 13,500 square foot property sits empty on its giant lot in Southington, Ohio. Crushing financial struggles forced Tyson to sell his lavish home for $1.3 million in 1999 after he returned from serving his prison sentence for the rape of Desiree Washington. It’s been through multiple owners since then but none of them ever lived there and, under the thick layers of dust and decay, the property remains almost just as Tyson left it.
Photographer Johnny Joo was recently allowed to explore the mansion and his experience there has led to a stunning gallery of photos that perfectly exemplify his haunting observations of how it felt to be inside. The marbled halls and mirrored ceilings still call out to the vague memory of the larger-than-life persona that once inhabited it. Joo said:
“It felt cold, rather empty and eerie – not so much a creepy eerie but a more interesting one…The pool was probably my favorite just because of how incredibly large it was and thinking how vibrant it was at one point in time. The room was bigger than three of my houses… Everything was so full of life and now simply collects dust. As I wandered the halls and rooms I imagined the wild parties which must have taken place within these walls. I looked across a living room once full of life but now empty of parties, tigers and celebrities.”
Turning this once famous party pad into a place of worship will surely be no easy feat, but the current owners estimate they will be done with it by the end of 2015. Joo says he’s excited to come back and document the extreme before and after once the remodel is finished. The church group has also invited Tyson to attend the first gatherings they hold in the building, but there is no word yet on whether or not he will.