These super rich people bought an entire town

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Real estate has always been a sought-after investment. There is a constant demand for it and only a finite amount for everyone. The super-rich, of course, have long made a habit of buying property, but they don’t always stop there.

Sometimes the super-rich went so far as to buy up entire towns. These transactions occur for a variety of reasons, and usually with extremely mixed results. Here’s a look at some notable celebrities and other super-rich people who have taken real estate to extremes and bought up entire towns.

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Kim Basinger – Braselton, Georgia

Fresh off Tim Burton’s mega-hit Batman, co-star Kim Basinger has announced that she’s buying nearly the entire town of Braselton, Georgia for a whopping $20 million. The original plan, as Basinger explained at the time, was to turn the small town 50 miles northeast of Atlanta into a tourist attraction.

However, Basinger’s plans for movie studios and production houses quickly fell apart. In 1992, several residents told the Chicago Grandstand that the city was worse off than it was before the deal. Basinger’s brother Mick, who handled the business side of things, blamed the recession for chilling potential investors and fellow developers.

Basinger filed for bankruptcy the same year. She has since sold their interests in the city.

Find out: how much you need to be ‘rich’ in 50 major US cities

Mark Cuban – Mustang, TX

Billionaire investor and longtime Shark Tank host Mark Cuban bought the tiny town of Mustang, Texas in December 2021. While the town has only the only watering hole in the otherwise dry county of Navarro, with a population of 21 (and an alligator), he does not know if he will be involved in any development plans.

“I don’t know what I’ll do with this,” Cuban told the Dallas Morning News about the purchase, stating that he only bought it because a friend of his needed to sell it. The sale price is unclear, although the city was previously put up for sale in 2017 for $4 million.

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Michael Bruno – Smoking, NY

Michael Bruno, entrepreneur and self-proclaimed ‘real estate junkie’, hasn’t bought all of Sloatsburg yet, but he’s invested around $15 million in real estate in the quaint New England town, about 35 miles from midtown Manhattan.

“Once we get rid of the visual blight and Tuxedo starts to have that rural, foodie character, other neighbors will spruce up as well,” Bruno told the New York Post in 2016. It’s part of a project broader which involves real estate, beautification, and rejuvenation of the neighborhood. The 1stdibs.com founder has also invested in Chester Agriculture Center, a for-profit collective that is buying up long-standing farmland in the area to lease to a new generation of innovative organic farmers.

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Larry Ellison – Lanai Island, Hawaii

While buying a city is definitely a status symbol, it doesn’t quite compare to buying an entire island. That’s what Oracle founder Larry Ellison did after vacationing on the remote island of Lanai. In 2012, CNBC noted that he bought 98% of the island for $300 million in 2012.

Ellison’s purchase brought him 90,000 acres of land, a town of 3,200, and two luxury Four Seasons hotels. Both are still operating, of course, and their new owner promises that those who visit will “be treated like royalty” at one of the five-star resorts.

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