Expensive houses of US billionaires
June 13, 2011
Large houses and lavish homes usually define rich people. But if you’re one of the few ultra-rich, how should your home look like and how much would it cost?
To know the answer, let’s look at the residences of seven American billionaires whose houses are valued at several million dollars.
Million-dollar Homes of US Billionaires
1. Bill Gates
Location: Xanadu 2.0 at Medina, Washington
Home Value: $121 million, according to tax assessments
Size: 66,000 sq. ft. (6,100 sq. m.)
The 2nd richest man in the world owns a large mansion, nicknamed Xanadu 2.0, that rests on the side of a hill overlooking Lake Washington in Medina, Washington. Its total land area is 66,000 square feet (6,100 square meters). It includes a 17-by-60-foot swimming pool with an underwater music system and swimmers can dive under a glass wall and emerge outdoors by a terrace.
The estate has a 2,100-sq ft library with a domed reading room which houses the Codex Leicester (also known as Codex Hammer), Leonardo da Vinci’s 16th century notebook of scientific writings, which Gates bought in an auction in 1994 for $30.8 million. Xanadu 2.0 has a reception hall that can seat 150 people, a 20-seater art deco theater, a 1,500-sq ft gym, a boathouse, and an artificial stream. Guests to the estate wear a pin that automatically adjusts the temperature, music, and lighting of a room based on the guest’s preferences.
2. Ira Rennert
Location: Fairfield Estate at Sagaponack, New York
Home Value: $200 million, according to tax assessments
Size: 63 acres (250,000 sq. m.)
Considered the most expensive home in the US with a value estimated at $200 million, the Fairfield Estate is owned by American billionaire Ira Rennert who is ranked #196 in the Forbes list of the World’s Billionaires in 2011 with a net worth of $5.2 billion. Rennert made money by using junk bonds to finance his acquisitions of companies primarily in the mining and metals industry.
The estate is named after Fairfield Pond, the body of water adjacent to it. The main house alone, which faces the Atlantic Ocean, is built on 66,000 sq. ft. of land — exactly the same size of Bill Gates’ entire Xanadu 2.0 estate.
The house has 29 bedrooms and 39 bathrooms. It also includes three swimming pools, an indoor theater, a basketball court, a bowling alley, two tennis courts, two squash courts, and its own power plant that supplies the estate’s electricity.
3. Yuri Milner
Location: Silicon Valley Mansion, Los Altos Hills, California
Home Value: $100 million, based on purchase price in March 2011
Size: 18 acres (73,000 sq. m.)
Russian billionaire Yuri Milner is the founder of Mail.ru Group (formerly Digital Sky Technologies) whose investments are currently in Facebook, Zynga, Twitter and Groupon. His net worth is around $1 billion, according to Forbes Magazine.
In March 2011, Milner bought the Silicon Valley Mansion in Los Altos Hills, California for $100 million. It resides on an 18-acre hilltop site with a panoramic view of San Francisco Bay. It includes a 25,500-square-foot main house and a 5,500-square-foot guest house.
4. Dmitry Rybolovlev
Location: Maison de L’Amitie, Palm Beach, Florida
Home Value: $95 million, based on purchase price in 2008
Size: 80,000 sq. ft. (7,500 sq. m.)
The grandiose Maison de L’Amitie was formerly owned by healthcare magnate Abe Gosman and was bought by real estate mogul Donald Trump for $41 million in 2004 as part of the Gosman estate’s bankruptcy filing. Trump renovated the property (with The Apprentice Season 3 winner Kendra Todd heading the renovations) and put it on sale for $125 million.
In 2008, it was scooped up by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev for a discounted price of $95 million. Maison de L’Amitie includes 24-karat gold bathroom fixtures, white marble columns, a series of trompe de l’oeil reproductions of famous paintings and 475 feet of unobstructed beachfront. It also has a 100-foot swimming pool surrounded by gardens.
5. Donald Trump
Location: Penthouse of Trump Tower, New York
Estimated Property Value: $50 million
Size: 30,000 sq. ft. (2,800 sq. m.)
The 58-level Trump Tower is the 9th tallest building in New York and 29th tallest in the US. Donald Trump occupies the top three floors of his namesake building, considered one of the most expensive apartments in New York City. The building’s public spaces are clad in Breccia Pernice, a pink white-veined marble surrounded by brass and mirrors. The five-story atrium has a waterfall, shops, cafes, and a pedestrian bridge that crosses over the waterfall’s pool. The Trump Tower is the setting of the NBC reality show The Apprentice and also the residence of the winners of the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA beauty pageants during their reign.
6. Oprah Winfrey
Location: Promised Land, Montecito, California
Home Value: $52 million, based on purchase price in 2001
Size: 42 acres (170,000 sq. m.)
Oprah Winfrey’s main residence is a Georgian-style mansion that sits on more than 42 acres of land with ocean and mountain views. It has a tea house and more than 600 rose bushes. According to Winfrey, she named her house “The Promised Land” because “Dr. King said he would not get to the promised land but one day we might. And so that’s why I called it that… because I think it’s a fulfillment of the promise that Dr. King spoke of.”
7. Larry Ellison
Location: Porcupine Creek, Rancho Mirage, California
Home Value: $42.9 million, based on purchase price in February 2011
Size: 240 acres (971,000 sq. m.)
Oracle Corp. CEO and billionaire Larry Ellison bought the 240-acre estate for $42.9 million in February 2011 from Tim and Edra Blixseth, founders of the invitation-only resort club The YellowStone Club. Porcupine Creek has an 18,430-square-foot Mediterranean-style main home, which has hand-painted ceiling murals, an amphitheater and a resort-style pool. It includes eight two-bedroom guest houses, a gym, spa, and an outdoor party grotto with a full-size stage that can accommodate 500 guests. The estate also boasts of an 18-hole golf course.
Sources: Forbes Magazine, Wikipedia, Various sites
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