It seems that for the past couple of years, the wealthiest man on earth has been purchasing thousands of acres of farmland in northern Florida. That’s right, Bill Gates. A subsidiary of one of Gates’ investment companies has recently bought nearly 5000 acres in Suwannee County for almost $28 million. Large amounts of land were purchased in Madison and Hamilton County as well. The sellers of those 400 forest acres were not aware of who was actually buying the property. The man in charge of Gates’ investments, Michael Larson, likes it that way.
It is in Mr. Larson’s job description to build Gates’ financial position in order to further the cause of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to combat hunger, disease, and lack of education in developing countries, reports the Wall Street Journal. So far, they have acquired over 100,000 acres across the country. The investment company, Cascade Investments which is headed by Larson, also invests in several other areas including energy, manufacturing, insurance, hotels, & railroads.
Ever since the real estate bust, Cascade has been focusing on rock-bottom land prices in the US, particularly in Florida. As for the commissions in Suwannee County, they too didn’t realize who was ultimately making these purchases. There were only aware that the same entity was paying good money for several chunks of lands in neighboring counties.
It’s not unusual for the foundation to hold back on announcing purchases of real estate, says the Wall Street Journal. If a seller knew that multibillionaire Bill Gates was interested in buying their land, they would likely increase the land’s asking price.