Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bill Gates Rents Horsey Homestead in Florida

Most of the time wildly philanthropic Microsoft multi-billionaire Bill Gates and his wife Melinda live in a colossal and carefully choreographed, custom designed and meticulously constructed compound on the shore of Lake Washington in Medina, WA.

The approximately 66,000 square foot lodge-like residential complex, comprised of many structures both separate and connected, burrows into and tumbles down a steep hillside to the shimmering water's edge. As to be expected from the private pad of an astoundingly wealthy computer genius, Mister Gates' waterfront residence is loaded with every future-forward technological doo-dad, gew-gaw and hoozy-goozy a person can conceive.

Rumors and reports state that residents and guests of the Gates' mall-sized mega-mansion, designed in a joint venture between Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and Cutler Anderson Architects, don sci-fi-ish pins programmed to automatically change the lighting, climate and/or audio/visual systems to predefined settings set by the pin wearer. Your Mama isn't quite sure what exactly happens when Mister Likes It Cool With Bright Lights And Hardcore Heavy Metal walks into a room occupied by Miz Likes It Warm With Soft Light And Smooth Jazz but we're certain the techno hocus-pocus constructs an hierarchy for such circumstances that also ensures any room Mister or Missus Gates may be in remains set to their own particular temperature, light and sound preferences.

Whatever happens with the dueling pins is, however, neither here nor there when it comes to today's discussion which is about a far more traditional and much less technologically savvy estate in the upscale horse community of Wellington, FL that Mister and Missus Gates are reported to have leased at a rate of about $600,000 for the duration of the Winter Equestrian Festival that runs from January 11 through April 1st 2012 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington. Its been widely reported in the South Florida gossip blogs and newspapers that Mister and Missus Gates' daughter Jennifer plans to compete in the months long high-brow horse competition.

Yesterday we received a covert communique from an informant we'll call Flo Reeda who not only passed along the real estate gossip about Mister and Missus Gates' temporary residency in Wellington but also listing information for the 4.18 acre spread located behind the guarded gates of the exclusive Mallet Hill equestrian enclave.

Listing information provided by Miz Reeda shows the property–listed on the open market as of today with an asking price of $12,999,000–encompasses a 7,352 square foot faux Tuscan-style main house with 8 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms plus an additional guest house with two more bedrooms and–we assume–at least one more facility for ablutions and etc. In addition to a sitting room and private bathroom, the master suite includes a garage-sized walk-in closet and dressing room lined with built-in haberdasher drawers, sweater shelves, and hanging racks.

The long and skinny tile-roofed villa is approached via a long, dead-straight palm tree-lined drive that culminates in a circular motor court with a fountain at the center, a fountain comprised, natch, of three carved stone horse heads. The driveway continues through a porte cochere to a parking lot-sized rear motor court with garaging for upwards of half a dozen fancy cars.

With stone–possibly marble–floors under foot and a painted coffered ceiling over head, the ballroom-sized formal living room opens to the lushly landscaped back yard entertainment terrace through French doors topped by arched fan lights. The formal dining room offers a pitched beamed ceiling with little, bric-a-brac-y hand-stenciled details and a full wall of frameless plate glass that encloses a temperature controlled wine cellar with floor-to-ceiling custom-built wine bottle racks. Your Mama cottons more to the hard stuff–we swoon for gin–but the Dr. Cooter never met an expensive bottle of wine he did not like and would d.i.e. for an entire room in which to store his always-expanding collection of the boozy grape juice.

Anyhoo, an almost entirely beige center-island kitchen has stone tile floors, slab granite counter tops, and all the high-grade commercial style stainless steel appliances to be expected in a mansion of this magnitude and expense. Other notable features noted on listing information include a home theater and an outdoor kitchen.

The extensive on-site equestrian facilities, the really important stuff in a pony town like Wellington, include an 8-stall barn with tack and saddle rooms, a pasture or two, a jumping ring and a sand ring. These are all amenities that mean all but nothing to Your Mama but surely make a devoted horse person's skin tingle and sweat with real estate desire.

A heated swimming pool and spa is situated near enough to the house for food, beverage and terliting conveniences but feels none-the-less secluded due to the thick and mature tropical foliage that surround it and the wide sunbathing terrace. A nearby ramada provides necessary shade from the essentially relentless and notoriously scorchy South Florida sunshine.

With their $50-billion dollar plus fortune Mister and Missus Gates may be the wealthiest–if temporary–residents of Mallet Hill but the equine lovers enclave is filled with plenty of other wildly rich movers and shakers in the high-fallutin' international equestrian world. Property records show that some of the current owners of horse farms in Mallet Hill include hair scrunchy queen Rommy Revson (ex-wife of Revlon heir John Revson), billionaire Peter Kellogg (of the Wall Street Kelloggs and not the cereal Kelloggs), and Georgina Bloomberg (daughter of three-time New York City billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg). A deeper dig into the property records reveals young Miss Bloomberg–or more likely her father–bought her nearly 12-acre equestrian complex in April 2006 for $8,900,000. She has since given the entire estate a complete overhaul.

The home Mister and Missus Gates are said to have leased is owned by real estate mogul George Banks. Mister Banks and his wife, according to the peeps at Trulia, have wanted to sell their house for well over a year, 453 days to be exact as of today October 12, 2011. It was rumored and reported in April 2010 that Her Horsey Madgesty Madonna herself had a look-see at Mister and Missus Banks' equine-friendly estate in Mallet Hill.

The South Florida gossip honcho Jose Lambiet reported yesterday on his Gossip Extra blog that Mister and Missus Gates' lease agreement includes an option to purchase the property. But of course, they already have the option to purchase the house; It's listed on the open market. We don't know a doily from a doughnut but Your Mama imagines that what Mister and Missus Gates do have–if they have anything at all–would more specifically be a first right to purchase if some other Richie Rich sniffs around and makes a reasonable offer.

Whether they stay for six months or decide to buy for the long term, we're certain that Wellington in general and more particularly the other residents of Mallet Hill happily welcome the relatively unassuming Gates family not to mention their private security team that will only enhance the existing systems and controls provided by the homeowners association as well as the private security some of the other community residents surely employ.

aerial image (top): Bing
listing photos: Illustrated Properties


Bethany said...

What a modest home ;)

Anonymous said...

Gates is certainly too wise to exercise the purchase option. The LA crowd that barely has a pot to pee in relative to Mr. Gates, should take a memo..RENT!!

Anonymous said...

Love the attention to their daughter. Nice Story/Nicer People.

The House and Furnishings are well so Florida...

Christina said...

A nice little property near WEF really is the horse lover's dream.

Anonymous said...

If i was a multi-billionaire, I would never rent anything. I would just buy it, and maybe I would come back to it after I was done, maybe I would just give it to a friend.

The sheer trying to spend over $50 billion before I die would keep me up at night. I wonder what your frame of mind is when there is literally nothing you can't buy short of the larger more developed countries.

Anonymous said...

Do the Gates have any other homes besides the one in Washington? I haven't heard of any. Given their immense wealth they seem marvelously modest housing wise: one, admittedly spectacular, home, and that's it. Not four or five to move around to according to the season.

Anonymous said...

they do indeed own another property in the private Yellowstone Club, Montana. you can't miss the house—it's the only one with a heated driveway, hence nary a snowflake in sight.

FrenchGirl said...

it's too tiny for me and my cat

Anonymous said...

Don't they have a place in Hawaii as well?