After six years of running for president, former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney is back to doing the many things he did when he was just a private citizen: pumping his own gas, shopping at Costco, riding roller coasters at Disneyland, and buying mansions.
Lately, Romney has been bolstering his property holdings in Utah, where he went to college and where his family has long, Mormon roots. Last year, he bought an acre of land in Holliday, near Salt Lake City. His son Josh bought the lot next door. The land is zoned for equestrian use and comes with a barn, which will presumably accommodate Ann Romney's dressage horses. The Romneys are tearing down a rambler that's currently on the site to build a 5,900 square-foot farmhouse in its place. The Salt Lake Tribune got a peek at the architectural plans recently approved for the new house. Among the massive rooms, closets the size of a Burger King, personal spa, and other luxury features, the manse has at least one more whimsical addition. Channeling his inner Bruce Wayne, Romney has arranged for his new study to have a hidden ante room that will be accessed through a secret bookcase door.
The paper notes that Mitt isn't the only Romney to add some clever design features to his expensive property. His son Craig is famous for building a house that includes a swing in the middle of the living room, a secret passageway, and a circular staircase that converts into a slide.
It's unclear how much time Mitt will be spending in the new farmhouse. He also recently purchased a new, 8,700-square foot home in the swank Utah ski resort of Deer Valley, 28 miles from the Holliday house, that was last listed for $8.9 million. Romney owned a house in Deer Valley when he was in charge of the 2002 winter Olympics, but sold it before running for president.
The Romneys apparently need a lot of space. Even as they are acquiring big chunks of the state of Utah, Mitt and Ann have finally received the greenlight to tear down a $12 million, 3,000-square foot beach house in La Jolla, California so they can build a 11,000-square foot mansion on the plot, replete with the car elevator that was subject of so many jokes during the presidential campaign. In addition to their Utah and California properties, the Romneys still own a condo in Belmont, Massachusetts, which allows Mitt to vote in the state he once governed without facing charges of voter fraud. And they own a 6,700-square foot lakeside vacation "cottage" and surrounding estate worth $10 million in New Hampshire. Not counting the condo or the guest quarters at the New Hampshire estate, that works out to about 32,300 square feet of living space for Mitt and Ann, or enough to provide a two-bedroom apartment for every single member of the immediate Romney clan, including each of the 23 grandchildren. Romney's real estate acquisitions seem like an attempt to compensate for his inability to buy the one house he really wanted: the White House.