With the news that Steve Jobs’ widow Laurene Powell Jobs purchased an estate in Wellington, Florida for $15.3 million in cash across the street from Bill Gates’ equestrian estate, the town of Wellington, Fla., made national headlines. Wellington, a town of approximately 60,000 around 15 miles east of tony West Palm Beach has become a nexus of wealth and power due to one factor: horses and the people who ride them for show. Jobs and Gates, it just so happens, each sired a daughter with a love of and talent for show riding.
The news of the Jobs’ purchase came fast on the heels of June reports that Bill Gates had purchased what nearly amounted to a whole street in Wellington, simply to provide privacy. Gossip Extra detailed how Gates spent approximately $37 million in Wellington.
But why is this place so attractive to the moneyed elite?
Wellington’s ascension to prominence among the horsey set is relatively recent. The village was once the world’s largest strawberry patch on land owned by Charles Oliver Wellington. In the 1950s, Mr. Wellington bought 18,000 acres of central Palm Beach County swampland. Wellington began as a planned unit development approved by Palm Beach County in 1972, and up until 1990, it was mostly a bedroom community with few shopping centers or restaurants until it was incorporated in December 1995. While the shopping and restaurants of Palm Beach are a relatively short drive away, Wellington residents now also have their own mall and an increasing number of fine dining options.
In addition to Gates and Jobs, many other hose lovers make Wellington home for at least part of the year. Other notable residents include Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, Bruce Springsteen (another celebrity with an equestrian daughter), and Michael Bloomberg, whose daughter Georgina is another famed horsewoman. Both Jessica Springsteen and Georgina Bloomberg lost out on competing in the Rio Olympics but Wellington cheered on another local, Kent Farrington, who was one of the four riders named to the team.
What’s life like in Wellington?
Things heat up in winter at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington with the World Equestrian Festival, which runs through the first few months of the year and hosts some of the most valuable and pampered horses in the world, as well as the people who ride, train, own, and adore them.
Real estate plays a role here, too — the names of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival Circuit Champions and Awards are a who’s who of the luxury real estate locals including Illustrated Properties, Douglas Elliman, Engel & Volkers, and more sponsoring championship awards. The Palm Beach International Polo Club runs its season in the first part of the year, as well and hosting the U.S. Open Polo Championship. Earlier this year, Prince Harry came to play polo in Wellington, continuing a tradition his father, Prince Charles, started decades ago.
The most expensive luxury properties in Wellington come with some serious horsepower, offering barns, stables, tack rooms, arenas, and plenty of acreage. Palm Beach Point is the spot for some of the most luxurious properties and is prized for its easy access to the horse shows and polo games. Each property in the community is on at least five acres and prices start over $1 million.
Currently listed is a 10-acre farm surrounded by mature trees that separate the three different barns, which total 28 stalls on property. The home is a four-bedroom Mediterranean ranch.
The main Barn built in 2001 also has a tack room, office, feed room, and wash stalls. The property is also equipped with a 350 x 200 grass field and a GGT footing arena, all surrounded with mature landscaping to cool even the warmest days. The property also includes staff quarters and is listed for $7.5 million with Illustrated Properties via Luxury Portfolio.