Plant City, FL -- A Bay area landmark hit the auction block on Friday in Lakeland. The Red Rose Inn fetched a bid of $2.1 million, but it's still not clear if that bid will be accepted.
Countless people may remember celebrating a special occasion at The Red Rose Inn in Plant City. But the iconic property closed last year after the family that owned in fell on hard times and filed for bankruptcy.
It went up for sale at auction on Friday, but it may very well end up right back on the open market, because the trustee overseeing the bankruptcy proceedings declined to accept the offer.
To see its overgrown landscape, green pool and fading paint, it's clear the Red Rose Inn has seen better days.
Its former owner, Evelyn Madonia, perhaps put it best in those commercials familiar to anyone who's been in the Bay area long enough. Dressed in luxurious gowns she would say "The Red Rose Inn is the jewel of the I-4 corridor."
And some Plant City locals nostalgically agree, recalling the Red Rose's heyday, its opulent suites, entertainment and fine dining.
Judy Dennison remembers it as over the top.
"The last time we went was Thanksgiving and the buffet was... I mean, it was wild," she says.
Dennison and her husband hope whoever buys the property will try to bring it back to its former glory.
The well-to-do Madonia family had made a fortune in agriculture, and their pet project, The Red Rose Inn, reflected that excess with over-the-top hospitality and decor. They purchased the property for close to two million and some estimate they spent another $4 million on furnishings and upgrades.
Much of the decor, including family photos, artwork and furniture are still inside and are part of the sale.
But the economic downturn, poor crops and personal hardship hit the Madonia family hard. In March they filed for bankruptcy. The Red Rose wilted, eventually closed, and was put up for sale.
David McCarthy, a family friend says the Madonias didn't think they'd get all the money back they'd invested.
"We were hoping back then he could get at least three million," said McCarthy.
But with no takers, a lifetime of memories hit the auction block in Lakeland. The Madonia's assets, including the Red Rose Inn, were sold to settle their debts, estimated between $50 million and $100 million.
On Thursday they auctioned off the family's Florida farms for about $49 million. Today, The Red Rose went for another $2.1-million.
But then, before the papers could even be signed, the sale hit a snag. A trustee overseeing the sale did not accept the Red Rose bid, instead taking it under advisement.
The offer was presumably lower than what they believe it's worth.
Carl Carter, and auction spokesman said the trustee needed more time to chew on it.
"It means he hasn't rejected it, he hasn't accepted it," said Carter.
But all other offers on smaller properties -- a warehouse, condo and another home -- were all accepted.
Ultimately, the $2.1 million offer may be accepted, but if not, the Red Rose Inn could go back on the market. A decision, they say, should come within a couple of weeks. Until then, the auctioneers declined to identify the would-be buyer.
Next week more farmland on goes on the auction block, property that the family owns in Virginia.