How A Real Estate Mogul Turned $10K Into $15.2B

doanld-brenPhoto Credit: ABC News

Donald Bren is said to be the world’s richest real estate mogul, with his worth coming in at around $15.2B — yet the former Marine came from pretty humble beginnings.

According to an investigation by Bisnow, Bren’s first real estate project dates back to the 1950s when he took out a $10,000 loan to build a home in Newport Beach, California, which he soon sold. The young entrepreneur parlayed that initial project into a string of projects across Orange County before being tapped to oversee the master plan to build the town of Mission Viejo, California.

After selling his company, and subsequently buying it back during the recession at a discount, Bren set out on his riskiest decision yet in what turned out to be a major coup. The next couple decades would see him gather a group of investors to buy a 35% stake in Irvine Co. (in 1977), before systematically pushing out all of his partners and culminating in a 1996 legal battle that left him in control.

“Donald had the Irvine Ranch, nearly 100,000 acres upon which to build a fortune,” Bisnow explains — and this turned out to be the basis for his purchase of the majority of the legendary MetLife Building in New York City.

In a 2011 interview, Bren explained that as far as real estate investments go, he learned from his father that “when you hold property over the long term, you’re able to create better values and you have something tangible to show for it.”

So there you have it.

Read the full story at Bisnow …