What do you think about the future of opportunities in business real estate? This post will cover a couple of different perspectives on the concepts to identify possible problems and solutions. The inspiration for this post was a recent trip to the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California. Let’s start by looking at the paradox in this historical example from a reclusive, wealthy woman who spent her resources being innovative as the architect of her elaborate estate. People don’t always behave rationally, and in today’s rapid change, that is truer than ever!
After her husband’s death from tuberculosis in 1881, Sarah Winchester inherited more than $20.5 million (equivalent to $532 million in 2018). She also received nearly fifty percent ownership of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, giving her an income of roughly $1,000 per day, equivalent to $26,000 a day in 2018. These inheritances gave her a tremendous amount of wealth, which she used to fund the ongoing construction of her home. There are roughly 161 rooms, including 40 bedrooms, two ballrooms (one completed and one unfinished) as well as 47 fireplaces, over 10,000 panes of glass, 17 chimneys (with evidence of two others), two basements and three elevators.
When Winchester died, all of her possessions (apart from the house) were bequeathed to her niece and personal secretary. Her niece then took everything she wanted and sold the rest in a private auction. Mrs. Winchester made no mention of the mansion in her will, and appraisers considered the house worthless due to damage caused by the earthquake, the unfinished design, and the impractical nature of its construction. It was sold at auction to a local investor for over $135,000 and subsequently leased for ten years to John and Mayme Brown, who eventually purchased the house. In February 1923, five months after Winchester’s death, the house was opened to the public, with Mayme Brown serving as the first tour guide.
Today the home is owned by Winchester Investments LLC, a privately held company representing the descendants of John and Mayme Brown. The home retains unique touches that reflect Mrs. Winchester’s beliefs and her reported preoccupation with warding off malevolent spirits. These spirits are said to have directly inspired her as to the way the house should be built. The number thirteen and spider web motifs, which carried spiritual significance for her, occur throughout the house.
Who knows in Sarah Whichester imagined that her home, one that included innovative ideas, would become the mysterious attraction that it is today. The website reports that over 12 million guests have toured the facility opened in June of 1923. It’s a great example of the paradox or intersection of innovation, savings, and economy of design. Mixing and matching theories is what happens in real life. It’s not a one solution world. It is a world of complex interactions, and yet to understand the complexity better, we must artificially separate them. The two perspectives below are the benefits of original craftsmanship vs. mass-produced homes.
Future of Buildings and Climate Change.Economy, global warming, energy conservation, and the real estate industry. Environment, environmental change, climate change.
How to Future-Proof Your Career | Dorie Clark | TEDxLugano