Now that Bill Gates has vacuumed up Wellington property to the tune of nearly $40 million — spending $27.2 million this spring alone — we wondered what his plans might be for so much land and a trio of houses, two of them mansions.
Trusts affiliated with Gates now own 16.4 acres of land including two vacant lots and 31,445 square feet of living space spread among three houses on Mallet Hill Court in an equestrian neighborhood off South Shore Boulevard. Only one other property on the road — a vacant lot — is owned by someone else.
Welcome to the horsey ‘hood, Bill.
Forbes says Microsoft’s founder has a $75 billion fortune, making him the richest person in the world.
Gates and his people aren’t talking, but the speculation is that he’s buying privacy.
Bill and Melinda Gates periodically drop in to Wellington during the winter months when his 20-year-old daughter, Jennifer, a Stanford biology student, competes in show jumping events at Wellington’s Winter Equestrian Festival.
We don’t know if the homes, built in 1990 and 2010, will be tear downs, but if Gates decides to raze them and build his own far-larger mansion, perhaps his giant Seattle house holds some clues to what Wellington can expect.
If Gates builds a Wellington mansion, here’s some of what we can expect, according to Business Insider:
It will be expensive, provide thousands of jobs and may have a romantic name: Nicknamed Xanadu 2.0, after the mansion of the title character of Citizen Kane, Gates’ Medina, Washington spread opened in 1994 after taking 7 years and costing $63 million to build.
It would help our tax base: Gates pays $1 million in property taxes to King County, WA. for his home, valued at $124 million. (Together, Gates and the sellers he purchased homes and land from in Wellington paid $165,000 in ad valorem taxes last year.)
It might have its own Wikipedia page: Xanadu 2.0 does.
It will have a large and legal horse manure barn: Last year, Gates was fined $148,000 (reduced to $30,600) by the Village of Wellington for improper storage of horse poop. The original manure bin was too close to a canal; the replacement was built without permits.
It will be big and contain complicated technology (only his teenagers will know how to use): The house on a long stretch of Lake Washington shoreline is 66,000 square feet and contains state-of-the art electronics (which, to stay current, Gates must have upgraded many times in 12 years.) Guests wear pins that interact with the home’s sensors, altering lighting and temperature preferences as they move through the house.
It might not have art but it could have photos of art: Artwork on the walls of the Washington house is digital and can be changed with the touch of a button to display someone’s favorite paintings or photographs.
It will be built using green technology: Gates’ Washington spread is partially built into the landscape to reduce heat loss, a technique known as “earth-sheltering.” However, in Wellington, he’d want to accelerate heat loss.
There will be a really big pool: In Washington, the 60-foot pool is indoors, which seems unlikely in the Sunshine State.
Workouts there will be fun: In the Northwest, Gates’ house has 2,500-square-feet of exercise space, a sauna and steam room as well as a trampoline room with a 20-foot ceiling.
We will want to be invited to parties there: Gates’ mansion has a hall that can seat 150 people for dinner. If the conversation drags, there’s a 22-foot-wide video screen on one wall.
The library might contain something ancient and valuable (that Dan Brown might want to write a novel about): Gates’ 2,100-square-foot library has a domed ceiling and a secret bookcase that contains a hidden bar. The room also houses the Codex Leicester, a 16th-century Leonardo da Vinci manuscript that Gates bought at auction for $30.8 million in 1994.
There will be many cars: Various garages on Gates’ Washington property can hold up to 23 cars, including one garage built underground. With Wellington’s high water table, Gates might be able to house a boat underground, but definitely not a car.
There might be a quote painted on a wall that expresses Gates’ literary leanings: On the library ceiling is a quote from the end of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” that reads: “He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it.”
It’s an odd motto for a self-made gazillionaire, because Gatsby ultimately failed to grasp his dream, the love of Daisy Buchanan. Maybe it’s Gates’ reminder to himself that success is always just out of reach. Or that real success isn’t his billions but his humanitarian efforts with the Gates Foundation.
The quote goes on “– tomorrow we will run faster, stretch our arms further…And one fine morning –”
And ends with the most famous closing line in American literature.
“And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne ceaselessly into the past.”
Maybe in Wellington, he can include a quote from Marjorie Stoneman Douglas’ “River of Grass,” which chronicles the fragility of the once-spreading Everglades, upon which his new neighborhood is built.