It’s no secret that iconic American billionaire Donald Trump has acquired much of his fortune through risky real estate ventures—high risk, high reward, right, Donald?
Trump purchased the Palm Beach estate Mar-a-Lago for a mere $5 million in 1985. Back then, no one wanted the 140-room estate build by Marjorie Merriweather Post. Post had intended the beachside property to serve as a summer White House and willed it to the government. But, President Jimmy Carter, famous for his frugal ways (and lowering the White House thermostat to 68 degrees) thought the acquisition frivolous.
And at $3 million a year in upkeep, he was right.
But Trump, yet again, had the Mitus touch. He turned the estate into a club—charging a non-refundable $150,000 a year to join and $12,000 a year in fees.
So what do all those thousands of dollars buy its 450-ish members? Well, to start, dining and shows featuring Jay Leno, Celine Dion and 11-year-old singing sensation Jackie Evancho. Members can also stay overnight in one of the suites, ranging from $750 to $3,000 a night.
Palm Beach, with the richest residents in the world, merely see Mar-a-Lago as another venue to host their swanky, upscale parties. In the business world, Mar-a-Lago is a real estate miracle. It’s now worth $300 million.