The childhood home of boxing legend Muhammad Ali has been purchased by a Las Vegas real estate investor. Last month, the single-story home in west Louisville’s Parkland neighborhood where Ali grew up was put up for sale. State lawmakers and Metro Council members had recently held a ceremony placing a historical marker in front of the house.
Jared Weiss is president and CEO ofMotion Properties, and bought the home earlier this week for $70,000. Weiss says he is a lifelong fan of Ali and wants to restore the home to honor the former heavyweight-boxing champion.
"Right now my options are open. I’d probably speak with the city and see what they think I could do with the property possibly. I’d like to refurbish it maybe back to the original look it had in the 1950s when he was growing up in it," he says. "Possibly a museum, but right now the options are open. But it’s definitely going to be part of the legacy for Muhammad Ali."
In recent years the city has embraced Ali's legacy and The Muhammad Ali Center has become a top tourist attraction as well as an education center in downtown. In a statement, Ali Center president and CEO Donald Lassere said the museum is pleased that an Ali fan purchased the property and hopes to give Weiss a tour.
Mayor Greg Fischer has said he hopes the home will be preserved as part of a larger tourist attraction, and that he is willing to help Weiss with the project.
"I am delighted that a fan of the champ is in control of the home and the city looks forward to helping make this residence a place that spreads the message of Muhammad Ali's legacy," he says. "We are proud to be the home of the "Louisville Lip."
The house is in serious disrepair, and is located in an area hit especially hard by vacant and abandoned properties. It was valued at just $23,000 by the Jefferson County Property Value Administration when initially put up for sale.
But Weiss says he will not turn the home into a rental property, and wants Ali and local residents to be proud of whatever is done with it.
"There's this boyhood home he grew up in, and to see the place where his values were instilled and to keep and preserve that and to make sure that’s there for history," he says. "He is one of the most influential people in the world right now. And I think it’s important that it’s recognized and kept in the annals of history."