Osama bin Laden
(Photo from US Department of Justice)

The former holiday home of Osama bin Laden's brother is being torn down on its Central Florida site 23 years after the family fled because of the 9/11 terror attacks.

The Oakland property was purchased by Khalil bin Laden just over four decades ago for $1.6 million as a wedding gift to his wife. He was residing at the mansion with his partner and son when Al-Qaeda attacked the World Trade Center in New York City.

Due to fear for their safety, Khalil and his family were airlifted out of the Florida home. From here, they departed the United States on a private jet with a police escort and headed for Saudi Arabia. They never returned to the U.S.

Officials found the brother of the Al-Qaeda mastermind to have no links with terrorism. In February 2006, Khalil sold the home for $4 million through his company, Desert Bear, collecting a $2.4 million profit.

According to one neighbour, Tara, the property has undergone many changes in her time living in the area. She told WESH television station: "I've seen it be abandoned, I've seen it when people were living in it, I saw it when it was a wedding venue."

Tara also revealed how she and her family found out about the demolition of the home, stating: "We were on the lake today, and we saw the crane, we heard the noise, and we could just tell that it was finally the day that it was getting torn down."

The neighbour's mother realised who was living next to them when she witnessed firsthand Khalil and his family fleeing the property after the 9/11 attacks.

Before the demolition process began, the mansion had a luxury touch to it: a swimming pool and jacuzzi spot, plus a marble stone-covered bathroom with a shower with gold trim. There were five bedrooms and five bathrooms, whilst the home contained arched hallways, horse stables and a 3000-square-foot carriage site.

There have been multiple mansion owners since Khalil sold it, with the first owner after the sale being the development company majority holder, Aleem Hussain. He was arrested in 2007 for a nine million real-estate scam, which led to a seven-year prison sentence and the mansion being foreclosed.

The property has belonged to an LLC since 2021. Earlier this year, the owners filed a notice to begin working on "improvements" to the Florida home.

The demolition process began last week, leading to the house's structure being torn down. Splintered boards and brick fragments were lying around the site as a result.

According to Rock and Roll Demolition Services, the demolition job will likely see them operate on the site for another week and a half.

Whilst official proposals for the soon-to-be-vacated space have yet to be heard, the main priority is newly built multi-family housing. Plans for a 242-unit apartment complex are in the works, with two main three-story-high apartment buildings expected to be developed.

There are plans for some lakefront space on the site and commercial operations.