Tony Hsieh, the founder of Zappos.com, owns a mobile home park in Las Vegas, Nevada, called Airstream Village. He also has a net worth estimated to be around $800 million. So why would someone with so much money want to own a mobile home park? For that matter, why would they want to live in the same park they own? Because that’s exactly what Tony does – he lives in the park with his pet llama.
He enjoys the social experiment of high-quality living on very little money
Tony told a Las Vegas newspaper "for me, experiences are more meaningful than stuff. I have way more experiences here at Airstream.” Prior to living in his mobile home park, he lived in an expensive high-rise condo in an exclusive building. Clearly, since he can afford to live anywhere he wants, he is enjoying the mobile home park lifestyle or he would not continue to make that his address.
He enjoys the sense of community
Tony could choose to insulate himself from his fellow man. But he finds the mobile home park a refreshing change, as far as having experiences with other humans. “I see my neighbors a lot more now than I did when living in a house in the suburbs or living in an apartment building,” he told the Las Vegas Review Journal in January. Mobile home parks are well known for social camaraderie, and Airstream Village delivers on this tradition.
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Mobile home parks are good investments
Tony charges $1,200 per month per lot, which includes an Airstream trailer or a “tiny house”. The park has 30 lots, so it generates around $432,000 in revenue, and nets an estimated $250,000 per year. And that’s on a single acre of land. You would be hard pressed to yield that much cash flow from such a small space and low capital investment. While Tony is very frugal, he is also extremely interested in making money, and the mobile home park allows him to make a huge profit from something that interests him.
He believes that mobile home parks could change many urban areas
Tony believes that “urban camping” could be a great idea to revitalize many blighted downtown areas, such as the one in Las Vegas where Airstream Village is located. He intends on expanding Airstream Village enormously in the years ahead, and to promote similar programs in other cities. Unlike many Americans who view trailer parks as a negative, Tony sees them as cool, hip and completely in-tune with the concept of a “green” America.
Many people find it crazy for a guy who is nearly a billionaire to own and live in a mobile home park. But if you look at it factually, it’s not a bad idea at all. His contributions to “urban camping” may one day be revolutionary – but until then, he’s having a lot of fun. And making a lot of money with his hobby.