You're being nutty.
You are not seriously concerned. Or are you?
Get developers to buy them, then renovate them in to apartments. You could fit several families in some of those monstrosities.
No, Poe, he's right. Once their gazillionaire owners "move on," these over-indulged dream houses typically sit vacant for decades.
first museums, with tours as at "the breakers", then pay for entrance parks such as the huntington gardens. then condo's. then maybe cool ruins. then not so cool ruins inhabited by post-apocalypse tribes of mutant zombie cannibals. Oh excuse, the filthy rich are already mutant zombie cannibals, figuratively speaking.
There's been a $40 million-plus house on the market for about five or six years on the east side of the lake if I remember correctly. That's what happens. Meanwhile these crazy houses continue to suck up energy and resources because they need to be kept up in the fruitless hope that someone wants to spend all that money on it.
At least a couple of them can probably be the Seattle branch of kink.com (or its descendants). They're doing neat things with the old Armory in SF...
A glut of ten-million dollar houses does not equate to a housing crisis. The price gap between a normal house and an uber-mansion is enormous, so there is quite a cushion for high-end market fluctuation.
If a $100,000 Rolls Royce suddenly started selling for $70,000, how would that affect the price of a Honda? It wouldn't.
You're starting to understand, Dan.
Only, it's not just the hideous mansions -- the $600,000 Wallingford bungalow is just as impractical and unsupported as a million-dollar home with mesozoic plants.
Local tech companies are no longer minting millionaires, and this area is in for a rude awakening.
Those with enough money simply tear down the existing house and build their own monument to themselves.
And Dan, you're showing just how out of touch you are if you've never heard of Myhrvold.
If you think these houses are a problem, ELF 'em. All of 'em. There. Solved.
The weird, sorta flying saucer house used in Woody Allen's "Sleeper" is in the foothills near here, and just sold after 30 years of sitting empty. The windows were all broken, the carpets and wood in the house were all rotted, the electrical system was totally worthless, and there were wild birds and animals living in it. Something to look forward to.
And last night I stayed awake wondering how many times the word "uh" is said in one day.
I don't get the concern here. Rich people have built huge mansions throughout history. In NY they were converted to multi-unit housing, or museums, or libraries, or stores for fancy designers. In vacation spots they were turned into hotels, or tourist attractions. In wine country, a few became wineries. And, in lots of places (like Philadelphia) the next generations of the family are still living in the houses.
@13: they sold the Sleeper house? Awesome! I remember driving past it on a semi-regular basis, and remarking every time that it looked cool.
in the 70s the mansions around volunteer park became hippy flophouses.
Probably the same thing that happened to the mansions on Capitol Hill in the mid 20th century. They become run-down and super cheap, until the next boom cycle when they will become over-valued/re-valued.
Yeah, Abby. Finally. Forget what the sale price was, but it was peanuts compared to what it's gonna cost to get it liveable again.
What will happen to these mansions? Same thing that happened to the ridiculous homes built by previous rich eccentrics: The building becomes a white elephant, the value of the place is reduced to the land value, and the next rich eccentric comes along to bulldoze the previous monstrosity to build their monstrosity.
p.s. Is Paul Allen dead yet? If not, why?
Once they reach the White Elephant stage, these mansions will either
a) be burnt to the ground for the insurance
b) be broken up into condos
c) be turned into museums like the gilded-age "summer cottages" in Newport RI.
At least that's been the experience with rich people's real estate cast offs in my corner of the country. The arson solution is the most common, btw. Insurance fraud is the RI state sport.
Hey, Providence: My mom met Buddy Cianci on Wednesday at the opening of some Broadway-type show there. Said he pulled up in a limo with a "leggy blonde" on his arm. It's good to see that some things never change.
Actually, @11 wins.
Hey, who forgot to close the tags on this article - it's making all of SLOG look teeny tiny ....
BTW: all "Mesozoic plants" means is ferns, monkey puzzle trees and cycads, all of which are common all over Seattle. They actually make for a very low maintenance garden, which in this area would require little watering.
Ferns are neato.
Although Myrvold's house may be wacky (and is supposedly the inspiration for the house in Cryptonomicon by Neal Stepehenson, the one with the crashed 747 in pieces hanging from the ceiling)
the vast majority of the tech billionaires are actually pretty conservative in their tastes.
Most of their houses will be readily accepted by your garden variety rich person, so you dont have to worry they will become white elephants on the real estate market.
In fact, most anybody who makes a bunch of money is usually pretty conservative in their tastes- its usually the second generations, the ones who didnt have to earn it, who squander it on follies.
I used to work in the houses of rich movies stars and rock stars in LA, and I was always amazed at how pedestrian and conservative they were- guys from Saturday Night Live make money, and they buy Rembrandts.
#17 - same here in San Francisco. In the 70's huge Victorians stayed vacant, became squats, or were divided up into studio apartments. That said, it's the upper-middle class I think that sits more precariously on the fence of wealthy security - there's always going to be a top .5% that goes unaffected by economic downturn.
uh, that would be post-Rapture so why worry about it?
The guy may have too much money, but non-periodic tilings are teh awesome.
There's always the wartime uses as well, in case an invading army descends on us. Or the urban wars happen. Or, like in the Day of the Triffids, "comets" blind almost everybody and giant walking plants kill off a huge number of people, then all the survivors can band together in the mansions and rebuild society while fighting off the mutant plants.
Dan honey, all of us non-billionaire boomers will be living in them, only they will be divided by sheets and blankets like in Dr Zhivago. We will sneak out at night to steal shingles from the mansion next door to heat our hands over. We will be shot if we are caught.
I love all you post-apocalyptic types. Lake Washington houses are not going to be divided up into squats and flophouses; they're going to continue to be owned by very rich people. And freak houses like Myhrvold's are going to get torn down, gardens ripped out, and redone from scratch. That's what rich people do. There are no abandoned mansions on Mercer Island waterfront.
If I came into that kind of money, I'd be hauling ass down the Frank Lloyd Wright archives in Arizona and hiring them to build me Fallingwater over the Duwamish. Or something.
But it would definitely be Frank Lloyd Wright.
If I came into that kind of money, I'd a 25,000 square foot house where one half looked like The White House and the other half looked like a Tuscan villa, and then I'd build a wall covered with exact replicas of famous paintings by Leonardo, Michaelangelo, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, etc., with numerous openings through which you could see the house and also many, many twice-life-size replicas of famous statues (David, Venus de Milo, etc.), only painted to look like real people.
Just to piss the neighbors off.
Chinese multi-millionaires, and you'll be grateful to be employed by them as servants, because the alternative...
I thought the Sleeper house was in Denver?
No no no... the owners will obviously leave behind a trust fund for the upkeep of the house while it sits empty, ready and waiting for the day when they are thawed out of their cryogenic freeze.
I just found out my uncle wants to have his head frozen, and he's not even rich. Seriously.
The baby boomers will start dying off by then. These mansions will then be turned into funeral homes.
@38 In the foothills just outside Denver.
@34 You are NO FUN. I can be post-apocalyptic if I want to. I just can't decide whether my post-apocalyptic wardrobe is going to be more Mad Max or medieval.
I vote for "our new Chinese masters."
But, failing that,
President M.C. Hammer? After his comeback, retirement, and move into national politics, of course.
@41: I'm going for an Imperial-style tunic and toga combo, myself.
I predict that a sex advice columnist who got rich syndicating his column will accidentally place the winning bid for Myhrvold's place on ebay. He'll then hold elaborate dinner parties there, until one day, some asshole from the local newspaper will crash the party and find a repeating pattern in the aperiodic tilings. But it will turn out just to be a drug-induced hallucination, so it'll all be ok.
Two or three decades ago, millionaires were very rare, but now they are everywhere. So in two or three decades, when the current millionaires and billionaires die off, there will be even more billionaires and trillionaires to buy such mansions and build more, until the earth is totally destroyed by human beings.
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