PHOTO: Bill & Melinda Gates
Bill and Melinda Gates shocked the world on May 3rd when they announced their divorce. They’ve been married for 27 years and dated for seven years before that. They have three children ranging from ages 18 to 25. Their $146 billion fortune is the fourth-largest in the world.
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Part of that fortune includes incredible mansions in Washington, California, Florida, and Wyoming. None of them are small or cheap, as is to be expected when you’re one of the richest people in the world. The least expensive of the Gates family mansions is their $9 million Wyoming spread. The most expensive is their main residence on Lake Washington in Medina, Washington which is valued at a minimum $150 million. Washington is a community property state where assets built during a marriage are typically split 50/50. Bill and Melinda bought or built all their homes after their 1994 marriage, so neither can claim complete ownership of any piece of property.
Let’s take a look at all of the mansions owned by Bill and Melinda Gates.
Xanadu 2.0 – $150 million
Medina, Washington is a small suburb of Seattle that is also home to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. This property has long-been the Gates family’s main house. The press nicknamed the mansion “Xanadu 2.0”, a reference to the mansion owned by the protagonist in Orson Wells’ “Citizen Kane”.
The mansion sits on five acres on the shores of Lake Washington in Medina, Washington, roughly nine miles away from the headquarters of The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in nearby downtown Seattle.
Bill purchased the lot the home sits on for $2 million in 1988. He then spent seven years and a reported $63 million building Xanadu 2.0. It was ready about a year after he and Melinda married.
The property has a 66,000 square foot primary mansion with a 60-foot swimming pool with an underwater music system, a 2,500 square-foot gym, a 1,000 square-foot dining room, six kitchens, and a dining hall that can seat 200 people. For larger gatherings, the 2,300 square foot reception hall can seat 150 people for dinner or 200 for a cocktail party.
Gates is an avid reader, and the ceiling of his large home library is engraved with a quotation from The Great Gatsby that says, “‘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.” The 2,100 square foot library features priceless works, including pieces by Da Vinci. The library has two secret bookcases that open—one of which contains a bar.
The annual property taxes on the mansion are reported to be $2.3 million, on an assessed value of $150 million. The home sits on a five-acre plot with an artificial stream stocked with salmon and trout. Gates also had a beach created with sand imported from the Caribbean.
The home has seven bedrooms and 18 bathrooms as well as an art deco home theatre that seats 20. The home also features a trampoline room and a number of high-tech features including the ability to change the temperature, lighting, or music in any room with the touch of a button.
In fact, Xanadu 2.0, may well be one of the most high-tech homes in existence. The home has a climate sensor program and digital art catalog. Gates’ guests are given a pin that reacts with sensors across his home, adjusting temperatures and lighting to their fancy in any room. Speakers tucked behind wallpaper follow guests room-to-room playing the songs of their choice. To top it off, $80,000 worth of computer screens throughout the home allow for total control of artwork and photographs displayed in every room.
Property tax records show that the Gates family owns around a dozen of the surrounding properties, giving them 10 extremely private and secure acres.
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