Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helú claimed the top spot on Forbes' richest people list for the second straight year. But this year, his recently acquired home on New York City's Fifth Avenue got nearly as much attention. Fascination with the ultra-deluxe real estate dealings of billionaires is nothing new. With a list and photos of the homes of the world's richest people, Rob Bear at Curbed has satisfied that craving.
For the second year running, Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helú has topped the Forbes list of richest people, this time with an estimated fortune of $74B. In the past year, Slim added some $20.5B to his net worth and at least one superlative home to his portfolio, the Duke Semans Mansion on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue. The megarich Mexican spent $44M to take over the only remaining single-family home on that storied boulevard. Though now hemmed in by a post-war apartment tower, the facade retains its pre-war elegance and location opposite the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The interior is apparently in need of a serious overhaul, which might explain why the only available photos are close-ups of the fine interior detail. Slim purchased from fellow billionaire Tamir Sapir, who had planned on opening a museum of his own-to display his massive collection of ivory-until he was busted for trying to illegally import some of that collection aboard his yacht. We're guessing that's the sort of absentmindedness that earned former cab driver Sapir his lowly $1.4B net worth.
Ever wonder how the rich and famous live? It turns out, they're not so different from us -- especially when it comes to weathering the financial storm. Even the ultra wealthy make bad real estate decisions. The only difference is, when they go into foreclosure, millions of dollars roll off their opulent mansions. Check out our list of foreclosed mansions, including the homes of Nicolas Cage and NBA legend Julius "Dr. J" Erving.
Poor Nicolas Cage – his taste in real estate is almost as questionable as his recent string of Hollywood blunders. This gorgeous Bel Air estate may look like a keeper from the exterior, but take a peek inside for an eyeful of that signature Nic Cage style – New Age-y color schemes, Orientalist artifacts, giant hash-pipe furniture and a life-sized Mickey Mouse statue. Once selling for $35 million, the super luxe manse was down to just $10.4 million at foreclosure auction last year. See how not to stage your home inside.
There are only a few moments in a broker’s life when they might wish they were colorblind. This eye-popping great room captures just about every color under the sun – and then some. When Tom Jones sold this house to Nicolas Cage in 1998, we don’t think the Vegas crooner could have envisioned his living room in quite this light. The fiery dragon ornament over the jade-hued fireplace gives the room that grown-up fratboy feel.
Ever wondered what the greenroom for the "Dating Game" looked like, circa 1975? Well, wonder no more. This busy lounge area just has too much of a good thing going for it. With a warm, neutral colored paint job and slightly less clutter, Cage may have sold this posh estate years ago.
It's Disney meets "Dynasty" in this spearmint-flavored dining room. Apparently, when the home hit the auction block back in April of 2010 at just $10.4 million (original price: $35 million), not one bid was placed on the property. Could it have to do with the menacing mouse staring down at prospective buyers as they walked into this otherwise handsome room?
Behold, the physical embodiment of the millionaire frat boy – the hash pipe sofa seat. These blown-glass chairs look strikingly similar to the smoking pipes that line the top shelves of most head shops. It’s unfortunate, because the rest of the room has an understated elegance about it. Hopefully Cage’s next real estate purchase will graduate him to more subtle floor designs.
In December 2010, NBA legend Julius Erving fell into foreclosure on the mortgage for his 6,572-square-foot St. George, Utah, home, which he had custom-built in 2006. The problems began for the former Philadelphia ’76er when the homeowners association in Erving's Utah subdivision overlooking Zion and Pine Valley filed a lien on his home. The association claimed Erving owed $2,100 in assessments and fines, for improper outdoor lighting, a dead tree and misplaced garbage cans. That amount soon ballooned.
The home, which has 10-foot-tall doors, had a $1.5 million mortgage in 2006 and is worth about $2.22 million today, according to Foreclosures.com. It first was listed in 2009 or $2.5 million and eventually dropped to $2.25 million before coming off the market in September.
Outdoor features include a covered deck, a fire pit, and a red, white and blue rubberized basketball court with the ‘76ers logo.
The 5-bedroom, 6.5-bath home includes this traditional dining room; a home theater with NBA logo chairs and a 150-inch screen; a master bath with a double-sided fireplace next to the tub; and a finished basement with a kitchen, walk-in closets, and a mother-in-law apartment.
Dr. J’s home includes five fireplaces -- including this one -- a Jacuzzi, swimming pool and a putting green. Erving moved to Atlanta in 2008 to keep an eye on the golf course he bought with the help of a $11 million mortgage.
Le Reve, a sprawling estate in Cumming, Ga., that was our estate of the day back in 2008 is now listed as bank-owned and under foreclosure. The home, which is approximately 47,000 square feet on 90 acres was listed at a stunning $45 million in 2008. It eventually dropped to $18 million in January 2010.
The gigantic manse has 82 rooms, two elevators and 62 televisions. The grounds include a heated swimming pool, pool house, spa, private playground, stables, tennis court, formal gardens and a guest house. The home, which is approximately 47,000 square feet on 90 acres, was listed at a stunning $45 million in 2008. In January 2010 we saw that price carved down to $28 million.Now it can be picked up for $18 million.
The lavish home's 82 rooms are all formally decorated and furnished with antiques from around the world, as well as handmade window dressings and custom paintings and murals.
Once the home of Hubert Humphrey, CEO and founder of Global Equity Lending, and his wife, Norma, it was built with a private bowling alley and a train room meant to imitate the old Central George Railroad.
La Reve also has its own golf course, a massage room and a huge movie theater that is a replica of Atlanta's famous Fox Theatre.
This posh estate in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., came on the market in February at the price of $4.2 million. The 11,000-square-foot mansion on 2.7 acres is a foreclosure worth millions more.
The Mediterranean-style home has 6 bedrooms and 6.75 bathrooms, as well as a resort-style pool with multiple waterfalls and a water slide.
Built in 2010, the home is in a private gated community near major highways. The grand entry space features high ceilings and marble floors.
The home has plenty of great views including one of the distant ocean. It also is fully landscaped with property zoned for horses.
The wood-paneled library provides a cozy old-fashioned retreat with a magnificent spiral staircase for visual interest.
In Encinitas, Calif., grotesque affluence has a name – the Vivienda. This 15-bedroom, 16,000 square-foot manor was zoned to be a residential home, but plans were soon put into motion to convert the gargantuan property into a drug rehabilitation center. Neither came to fruition, and in 2009 this $11 million mansion fell into foreclosure. With no bidders to speak of (even at the ridiculously low price of $2.75 million), it sat vacant until attracting the attention of a less savory group of onlookers—thieves and vandals. Read on to discover the fate of this massive foreclosure.
Looking at its barren rooms now, it's hard to believe that vandals broke into the vacant estate and stole close to $1 million in furniture, fixtures and appliances. Even the ultra luxe toilet seats were stolen in the heist! Not surprisingly, authorities fingered the original owner of the property with the high-end robbery. It was neighbors vociferous complaints that prevented the so-called "monster house" from being converted into a drug rehab center. Prosecution suggested that the owner was attempted to recoup her losses.
A look at the foreclosed estate’s real estate listing hints at just how dire the situation became. The listing agent proclaims at the top of the post, “BRING ALL OFFERS - BANK WANTS PROPERTY SOLD NOW!” While it’s unclear how much of the stolen furnishings were replaced, the mega-mansion actually found a buyer in July 2010.