Best Buy founder's Bonita Springs mansion sells for almost $5 million

Andrew Wigdor
Naples Daily News

Best Buy founder Richard Schulze's Bonita Springs mansion has sold for almost $5 million.

The home was purchased for $4.75 million earlier this month by Rajiv Gupta and his wife, Kamla, according to Lee County property records. It was initially listed for $5,495,000 million.

The transaction represents the priciest Bonita Bay home sale since August 2014 and is the fifth-highest ever in Bonita Bay, according to Mike Dodge, director of market research for John R. Wood Properties. 

Rajiv Gupta came to the United States from India in 1968 with just $8 in his pocket. He went on to build a successful business career, spending 39 years with specialty chemical company Rohm and Haas. He served as the chairman and CEO of the company for 10 years until it was sold in 2009 for $20 billion. Since then, he's served on the boards of the Vanguard Group and DuPont and as the chairman of health care company Avantor and automotive technology company Aptiv.

He said that Schulze's former home made for a great fit. 

"We found the (Woodlyn Drive) property to be very attractive," Rajiv Gupta said. "We just love the place ... If you're going to settle down in one place eventually, it's a very attractive place."

The 14,363-square-foot Woodlyn Drive estate was home for nearly 20 years to Schulze, whose net worth is currently $4.1 billion, according to Forbes. He first built the mansion in 1999 and expanded on the square footage of the structure in 2006, according to Bill Earls, the John R. Wood Properties agent who listed the home.

Earls said that the home "meant a lot" to Schulze, as it was a place in which he lovingly held gatherings for his large family. Earls, however, said that the Guptas are also planning to carry on that "tradition," rather than using it as a corporate retreat or large vacation property.

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Schulze could not be reached for comment on the sale. 

"(Schulze) told me he feels a lot better about the whole deal because they are going to treat the house in much the same capacity as he has, as a family compound," Earls said. "(Schulze) had very fond family memories in that house, and for him to see another couple that was a really nice couple with every intention of carrying on family activities, it pleased him that that tradition would continue."

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Earls mentioned one of the large bedrooms of the home that had the names of Schulze's grandchildren drawn on the ceiling. 

"When the new buyer saw that they envisioned a place for their grandchildren to gather as well," he said.

The Guptas have three grandsons and two daughters, as well as siblings. 

"We are hoping as we spend more time there, we'll have opportunity to get our friends and family together more often," Rajiv Gupta said.

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The mansion sits in the gated Bonita Bay community, which has a private beach club, marina and golf courses. The home is situated on a 1.3-acre lot and includes seven bedrooms, a 12-person children’s bunk room, a study, theater room, game room, billiards room and pool.

The Guptas, who had been living in Pennsylvania, started home searching after considering where they wanted to spend more time in the "next phase" of their lives. Rajiv Gupta said the couple looked in Naples and other areas but leaned toward Bonita Bay due to the love they already had for the community. The couple has owned a high-rise condo in the Estancia complex at Bonita Bay for years.

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Best Buy founder Richard Schulze's home is on the market in Bonita Springs for $5.5 million

Schulze has since moved on to a home he built on Gordon Drive in Naples' exclusive Port Royal neighborhood. Earls said he made the transition about two years ago. 

A Naples Daily News article from 2013 states that the Best Buy founder bought land on Gordon Drive under a trust for $30 million.

Schulze, a St. Paul, Minnesota, native, founded Best Buy in 1966 and served as the CEO of the company from 1983 to 2002 and then as chairman until 2012. The company was first called "The Sound of Music" but was later changed to the internationally-known name after it expanded to six stores in Minnesota by the early '80s.

According to the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation website, Best Buy is now the world’s largest multi-channel, consumer-electronic retailer.

Reach Andrew Wigdor at awigdor@gannett.com and on Twitter @andrew_wigdor, whos