The rich are only getting richer, and they’ve got the real estate to prove it. For the world’s super-wealthy not your Angelina Jolies and George Clooneys but your billionaire CEOs and various magnates who are way wealthier than those peons — the price tag for an appropriate home goes all the way to $1 billion.
Some uber-rich buyers, such as Brazilian-born philanthropist Lily Safra, buy historic estates and add a few personal touches, like their own helipad. But many build a custom palace from the ground up. Bill Gates spent seven years and a few million dollars on his ultra-nerdy Xanadu 2.0 compound overlooking Lake Washington, and his personal seal is on everything from the high-definition monitors with changing art to the high-tech underwater sound system in his pool. Investor Ira Rennert’s neighbors in The Hamptons weren’t too happy when he decided to build a $245 million, 110,000-square-foot manse, but he got his bowling alley and personal power plant all the same.
Here are 10 extravagant homes with owners who really understand luxury:
The $135 million Beverly House, Beverly Hills, California
Beverly House, located three blocks from Sunset Boulevard, is currently on the market for $135 million. In the meantime, renters can pay $600,000 per month to get free rein of the lux property. It sits on six flat acres of land and includes a slew of smaller homes in addition to the Italian- and Spanish-style, H-shaped main house. That space features a 50-foot entry hall, intricately carved ceilings, a large library, wrap-around balcony, billiard room, family room with an outer terrace that can seat 400 people, an art deco night club, wine cellar, two projection rooms and spa facilities.
It was designed by architect Gordan Kaufmann and built by banking executive Milton Getz. In 1946, publishing mogul and “Citizen Kane” inspiration William Randolph Hearst moved in and stayed until his death in 1951. Since then, the home has become famous for its roles in films like “The Godfather” and “The Bodyguard.”
The $102 million Fleur de Lys Mansion, Los Angeles
This past March, the Fleur de Lys Mansion sold for $102 million, making it the highest-priced home sale to date in Los Angeles County. It was first listed in 2007 when original owners David and Suzanne Saperstein finished renovating the manse, divorced and moved out. The current owner, who paid entirely in cash and has chosen to remain anonymous, is rumored to be former junk bond king Michael Milken, according to the L.A. Times.
The 12-bedroom, 15-bathroom home, which was modeled after the French castle Vaux le Vicomte when it was built in 2002, has a 3,000-square-foot wine cellar with a tasting room, two-story library, commercial kitchen, cutlery room and spacious ballroom. The property also features a pool, spa and tennis courts. It was used for the film “The Green Hornet,” the ABC TV series “Big Shots” and the 2008 Audi Super Bowl commercials.
The $750 million Villa Leopolda, Villefranche-sur-mer, France
When Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov attempted to buy Villa Leopolda in 2008, it was valued at a whopping â‚¬500 million — equal to about $750 million at the time. It was built in 1902 by Belgium’s King Leopold II, who gave it as a gift to one of his mistresses. Lebanese banker Edmond Safra bought the estate in 1988 and left it to his widow Lily Safra when he died in an arsonist’s fire in 1999. She’s the current owner.
The 11-bedroom, 14-bathroom villa sits on 50 acres. It features a commercial greenhouse, outdoor kitchen, pool and helipad. It was used for famous films such as “The Red Shoes” and “To Catch a Thief.”
The $45 million 15 Central Park West, New York City
According to Michael Gross, author of the book “House of Outrageous Fortune: Fifteen Central Park West, the World’s Most Powerful Address,” this high-end Manhattan building is known as “Limestone Jesus.”
That’s probably because it’s full of the city’s most affluent and powerful residents, including hedge fund boss Daniel Loeb, who bought the 10,674-square-foot penthouse at the top of the high-rise for $45 million in 2008. In 2012, rumors began spreading that Loeb was trying to sell the property for $100 million, but he has yet to do so.
The $89.4 million Kensington Palace Gardens, London
Indian steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal calls this Kensington Palace Gardens home his “Taj Mittal.” He bought it for Â£57 million — about $89.4 million in today’s dollars — from English business magnate Bernie Eccclestone in 2004. The estate’s nickname is only sort of a joke: Mittal renovated it with marble that was sourced from the same quarry as the actual Taj Mahal.
The property is on the tree-lined “Billionaires’ Row,” where other highly affluent people like Roman Abramovich and Leonard Blavatnik also own property. It has 55,000 square feet of space, 12 bedrooms, a Turkish bath, swimming pool, picture gallery and ballroom.