Yesterday it was announced that a fresh crop of exceedingly rich folks have joined Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and a 101 other members of the 0.00001% in signing The Giving Pledge, a promise to donate at least half of one's wealth to charity—and we salute them for it. Of course, as one might imagine, these sorts of people aren't terribly inconvenienced by the disappearance of half of their massive fortunes. Take Craig McCaw, the telecom mogul with an estimated net worth of $1.6B. McCaw and his wife have their primary residence in Seattle, but currently own British Columbia's James Island, as a vacation home. The 780-acre island, in Canada's Gulf Island archipelago and a short flight from Seattle, has been upgraded substantially in the McCaw's tenure, with the addition of a 5,000-square-foot main house, a glassy pool house, six guest houses, private docks, an airstrip, a replica "Western town," and even an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course. After having their fun on the island for years, the McCaw's have listed the property for a jaw-dropping $75M.
↑ Venture capitalist Mark Stevens, the former managing partner of Silicon Valley whale Sequoia Capital, amassed a $1.3B fortune through early investments in tech titans like Google and LinkedIn. Before pledging half of it to charity, he spent a bundle on his Atherton, Calif. home, set on an extremely private 5.5-acre lot. He purchased the historic home in 2000 for $10M, and set about adding an extravagant playhouse in the rear yard, complete with tennis court, swimming pool, and even a water slide that wends its way down from a treehouse.
↑ Through his years of real estate development, Related founder Stephen M. Ross has not only boosted his net worth to an astronomical $4.4B, but also acquired a taste for fine properties. In 2007, he bought the Maurice Fatio-designed estate called The Reef, on the Palm Beach, Fla. waterfront. The 11,000-square-foot International Style mansion won several awards over the years, including a gold medal
at the International Exposition in Paris in 1937. It is kept impeccably by Ross, who spent more than $31M on The Reef. The billionaire splits his time between this address and his penthouse atop the Related-developed Time Warner Center in Manhattan.
↑ America's youngest female billionaire, 42-year-old Spanx founder Sara Blakely, signed away half of her $1B fortune yesterday, but not before investing in a slew of pricey properties. She and her entrepreneur husband, Marquis Jet founder Jesse Itzler, live primarily in a high-rise apartment on New York's Central Park West, but also spend time in a sprawling Atlanta-area manor and this Clearwater, Fla. beachfront estate. Blakely grew up in Clearwater, and now owns one of the town's most desirable pieces of real estate. Bought in two parts in 2011, the 2.5-acre tract cost the undergarments baron around $8.8M.
↑ Joseph Craft III is hardly a household name—his products don't have the retail presence of Blakely's—but he is one very rich man. The owner of a prominent coal company, Craft lives a surprisingly modest life in Tulsa, Okla., where he owns this large but ordinary house, worth less than $2M. By comparison, the billionaire donated more than three times that amount to complete the basketball practice center at the University of Kentucky, his alma mater.
· James Island [Sotheby's International Realty]
· 5 Queens Court [Alain Pinel Realty]
· Landmarks Manual (PDF) [Town of Palm Beach]
· Mystery buyer purchases $8.8 million of Clearwater Beach property [Tampa Bay Times]
· Joe Craft's House [Virtual Globetrotting]