September 27, 2022

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Inside Tyler Perry’s Boundary-Breaking Real Estate Portfolio

6 min read

Tyler Perry isn’t exactly known for his subtlety, perhaps especially when it comes to real estate. The actor, director, screenwriter, and producer has bought and sold a number of sprawling estates over the years, most notably in Los Angeles and Atlanta. He also shelled out a significant amount of money for a log cabin in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and once treated himself to a 25-acre island in the Bahamas for his birthday. But his generous spending isn’t all just for show: Perry has been deliberate in selecting the sites for his real estate expansion, choosing a number of properties that have ties to slavery and racial injustice as part of a slow, steady march toward reclaiming these places.

In a 2019 BET awards speech, Perry gave a nod to this process. “While you’re fighting for a seat at the table,” he said, referencing the controversy over #OscarsSoWhite, “I’ll be down in Atlanta building my own.” Below, we’ve rounded up some of Perry’s most well-known homes, and the powerful stories behind them.

2001

The now-billionaire made one of his first investments in Atlanta real estate with the purchase of a parcel in Fairborn, Georgia, in April 2001. He paid just $62,661 for the land and built what he would later tell Ebony magazine was a “testament to the rewards of faith.” Avec Chateau was a 17,252-square-foot behemoth featuring six bedrooms and six-and-a-half bathrooms. “I wanted this house to be vast,” he told the publication. “I wanted to make a statement, not in any grand or boastful way, but to let people know what God can do when you believe.” The 26-room home featured a double-height Italian marble foyer with a large sculpture of a horse, a ballroom-sized “grand salon,” and a paneled library with a crystal chandelier, among other extravagant spaces. Perry listed the property for $3.695 million in 2009. It is unclear whether it ever sold.

2004

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Photo: Karwai Tang/WireImage

The creator of the Madea movie franchise paid $4.3 million for 22 acres of land in the ultraexclusive Beverly Ridge Estates. He then spent many years and many millions building an impressive 24,000-square-foot Tuscan-style villa on the grounds. The luxurious pad features eight bedrooms and 12 bathrooms, and has played host to a number of A-list celebrities, including Barack Obama, and Oprah, as well as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Perry opened up his home to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in early 2020, after they stepped down from their royal duties, a connection largely believed to have been made by their mutual friend Oprah. The property is currently worth around $18 million, according to county records.

2005

Perry’s $9 million purchase of 17 acres along the Chattahoochee River, just outside Atlanta, was a historic one. The property previously belonged to segregationist Moreton Rolleston, a prominent lawyer and the proprietor of the Heart of Atlanta Motel, a business that refused service to African Americans prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and lost a Supreme Court case that declared the act to be unconstitutional that same year. Perry tore down the existing home and spent the next three years constructing a 34,000-square-foot mansion with seven bedrooms and 14 bathrooms. The palatial residence featured a motor court with a fountain, a parlor with leather walls, a home theater with unique vaulted ceilings, and an underground ballroom with Brazilian cherry flooring. Perry sold the estate to televangelist David Turner for a record-breaking $17.5 million in 2016. Steve Harvey then reportedly bought it for $15 million in 2020.

Also in 2005, the Diary of a Mad Black Woman star purchased land in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where he began to build a log cabin as a vacation home. Perry has shared stunning sunset photos from his back deck there, and in a 2019 interview with Ellen DeGeneres, he shared that he’d encountered a grizzly bear in his backyard, as well as a moose. “You were here first, I’m not gonna bother you,” he recalled jokingly telling the bear. “I’m gonna stay over here and if you want the backyard, that’s fine. That firepit I built and spent all that money for, you go right ahead, it’s all yours. Beer’s in the fridge.”

2006

Perry went with a different aesthetic for his next purchase, an ultramodern, 9,725-square-foot contemporary behemoth, designed by SPF: architects and located in the Bird Streets area of Hollywood Hills. The prolific producer paid $9.6 million for the home, which featured four bedrooms and six bathrooms, a sauna, a glass-floor catwalk that serves as the ceiling of the wine cellar, a billiard room with a window looking directly into the swimming pool, a nightclub with a bar and a disco ball, and a three-car garage. Perry tried to offload the home for $13.25 million in 2010 to no avail, but he finally sold it for $11.25 million three years later.

2009

Islands along the west coast of Exuma, Bahamas.

Islands along the west coast of Exuma, Bahamas.

Photo: DeAgostini/Getty Images

Perry treated himself to a private island for his 40th birthday, purchasing the 25-acre White Bay Cay and an adjacent seven-acre island in the Bahamas to ring in the landmark year. The larger of the two islands was listed for $7 million, according to The Wall Street Journal, though it’s unclear how much the media mogul ended up paying for the dual purchase. Perry built a Balinese-style villa and neighboring bungalows on the island, which was previously uninhabited, and even took flying lessons just so that he could take his private plane to and from the his new pad, People reported. “There was nothing there when I bought it,” he told AD of the Exuma property. “I had to bring in the water and electricity—even my own palm trees from Miami.”

2015

The fake White House at Tyler Perry Studios.

The fake White House at Tyler Perry Studios.

Photo: Tierney Gearon

Six years later, Perry purchased a 330-acre lot on which to manifest his biggest endeavor yet: Tyler Perry Studios. “At heart, I’m a frustrated builder,” Perry told AD during a tour of the space. “I think I would have been an architect if I hadn’t gone into entertainment.” His studios are built on the grounds of Fort McPherson, a former military base that served the Confederate Army, a fact of no small significance to Perry. “When I built my studio, I built it in a neighborhood that is one of the poorest Black neighborhoods in Atlanta so that young Black kids could see that a Black man did that, and they can do it too,” he said while accepting his 2019 BET Award. “The studio was once a Confederate Army base, which means that there were Confederate soldiers on that base, plotting and planning on how to keep 3.9 million Negroes enslaved. Now that land is owned by one Negro.” Black Panther was one of the first films shot at the studios.

2017

Next, Perry bought a sleek glass Beverly Hills house with gorgeous views of Los Angeles. He paid $14.5 million for the 4.5-acre estate, previously owned by billionaire physicist, philanthropist, and inventor Alfred E. Mann, who’d built the property in 1992. The pad measured 17,245 square feet, with 10 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms throughout. Perry reportedly only bought the home as an investment property, and flipped it back onto the market for $17 million just five months later without many renovations or improvements. Pharrell Williams paid $15.6 million for the tony residence, which features pyramid-shaped skylights, stone marble stairs, a koi pond, and a resort-style swimming pool with a slide and grotto, though the musician has since sold the house.

2018

Two years after selling off his record-breaking Atlanta estate, Perry bought another plot of land just outside the city. Though it’s unclear how much the billionaire spent on the 1,200 acre property, he is in the process of constructing a 35,000-square-foot mansion there, as well as a second, smaller structure, possibly to be used as a guest house. There is also an enormous lap pool under construction, and what appears to be an airport runway, which makes sense given Perry’s pilot skills. Other plans for the property include an organic farm with horses and other animals; TMZ reports that Perry wants his young son to grow up appreciating the land and the animals. As an added perk, the new estate is located very close to the mogul’s 330-acre Tyler Perry Studios for an easy commute.

Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest

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