Last week, when ‘Time’ magazine named Person of the Year to Elon Musk, they described how he followed a Spartan lifestyle. “The richest man in the world owns no houses“read the first sentence of the article.
The magazine was echoing what has become a key element of the public image of Elon Musk. Since the billionaire CEO of Tesla Inc. and SpaceX announced last year that he was going to “sell almost all of your physical possessions“For the sake of simplifying his life, Musk has presented himself to the public as a man of simple tastes.
“My main house is literally a house of about $ 50,000 in Boca Chica / Starbase, for which I pay a rent to SpaceX, “he said on Twitter last June, referring to a city in Texas, near the border with Mexico, in the vicinity of the rocket launch facilities of SpaceX. “Pretty cool, yes.”
What Musk did not tell, and few people know, is that he has also been around a year living on a friend’s riverside farm wealthy man known as Kenny, according to people familiar with the matter. It is such an extravagant home that it was the most expensive house for sale in the Texas capital when it was sold a few years ago.
Musk has been in contact with real estate agents to see mansions that are for sale in the Austin area. Some of these people also indicate that they have even visited mansions in person.
The owner of the Austin home where Musk has been residing is Ken Howery, another billionaire who has known Musk for decades. The visit of CEO it was so secret that some of Howery’s friends didn’t know about it.
Howery is a co-founder of PayPal Holdings Inc., where Elon Musk was a director early in his professional career. Later, and in the company of Peter Thiel, he founded Founders Fund, the bottom of venture capital who has endorsed several of Musk’s ventures.
All three are part of what is popularly known as the paypal mafia, a group of former company executives who subsequently achieved additional business success.
In 2017, Musk posted on Twitter that he had been to a party, which was also attended by actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Orlando Bloom, to greet Howery.
Musk announced last year that he had moved to Texas. Earlier this year, he moved Tesla’s headquarters to Austin
Howery served as the United States ambassador to Sweden during the second half of the presidency of Donald Trump. According to some of his acquaintances, since he left the position he has been travelling the world, chasing tornadoes and other extreme weather events as a ‘hobby’, among other activities.
The consequence of this is that his house became available to Musk, who announced last year that he had moved to texas. Earlier this year, he moved Tesla’s headquarters to Austin.
Property records indicate that the house has almost 750 square meters of interior space on a peninsula jutting into the Colorado River at the foot of Mount Bonnell. It has a riverside pool, a ‘hot tub’ and a private jetty, and being part of a community called Watersedge, it is protected by several gates and a guardhouse.
The mansion sold for more than $ 12 million in 2018, but its price has multiplied since then
The mansion sold for more than $ 12 million in 2018, but real estate agents indicate that its price has multiplied since then, as the city’s real estate market is in full expansion. Could not be determined if Musk has paid Howery for residing there. The fortuna de Musk It is valued at $ 240 billion. Neither man responded to requests for comment.
When the story came out, Howery sent a message stating: “Elon doesn’t live in my house. Lives in South Texas. He has been my one-off guest when he has visited Austin. “Upon posting the story, Musk told the Insider website that” I don’t live there and I have no intention of buying a home anywhere. ”
Musk’s lengthy stay at the Austin mansion, as well as his continued search for a nearby trophy property, complicate the narrative he has cultivated. Many years ago, temporarily slept with a white pillow Without a sleeve on the floor under his desk at the Tesla factory in the San Francisco area. Last year, he pledged on Twitter to “not own any house,” and has delivered by selling a large portfolio of homes.
“I live in a $ 50,000 house.”he wrote on Twitter in July. Public records show that he is registered to vote in Cameron County, Texas, near Boca Chica beach, in a house built in 1971 that occupies a fifth of an acre. Records also indicate that the home is owned by Space Exploration Technologies Corp.
According to people familiar with the matter, in recent months, Musk and his representatives have hired a number of Austin-based realtors to search for a trophy home in the area. According to these people, Musk’s personal financial advisers They have sent a series of requirements to the agents, among which they express their willingness to own a large piece of land, which is currently not available in any of the properties on the market.
Two of them claim that Musk has visited several houses in person, and indicate that among the houses in which he has expressed interest includes a custom-built mansion owned by well-known jewelry designer Kendra Scott. One of them added that Scott, who indicated through a spokeswoman that he had no interest in commenting on the matter, was willing to reach an agreement with Musk, but he did not appear on several occasions when he was supposed to go. to visit the house.
One of the keys to Musk’s search, informed people say, is privacy
One of the keys to the search for Musk, indicate people informed about it, it’s privacy. According to these folks, the search is such a well-kept secret that many Austin luxury home sellers hope it will remain so even when they buy a home.
When Austin’s most expensive home was sold for about $ 39 million earlier this year to a California limited liability company connected to Musk, word spread in the area that Musk was the secret buyer. However, according to Jonny Jones, businessman and former homeowner, this is not true, and he has been forced to silence rumors.
Michele Turnquist, a Real estate agent who represented Jones at the sale, says they keep giving him the wrong congratulations. “About five people have told me, ‘You know, the house you put up for sale was bought by Elon Musk,” he says. “I answer that, If he had bought it, I would not know“.
With input from Rebecca Elliott.
* Content licensed from ‘The Wall Street Journal’.
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Manufactured Home or Mansion in Austin: Where Does Elon Musk Live?