Bill McGuire Buys Up The Neighborhood

Bill McGuire Buys Up The Neighborhood

The former UHG CEO is a land collector.

Former UnitedHealth Group CEO Bill McGuire is slowly but surely expanding his holdings. And we don’t mean buying up another professional soccer team—instead, it’s his entire Orono neighborhood.

Property records indicate McGuire bought his “primary” Orono residence in 1997 for about $2.7 million and has since spent roughly $17 million in eight transactions, scooping up adjacent properties and ultimately taking possession of roughly 30 acres. His most recent purchase: a 2.17-acre property bought in May for $1.3 million. (His acquisitions were first reported in Finance & Commerce.)

McGuire declined to comment on his intentions, as did a Realtor who has represented him, and neither city nor county officials say they are privy to his plans for the expanding estate, which is primarily nestled between the Orono Public Golf Course on the west and the Woodhill Country Club on the east. (He also bought a $7 million Lake Minnetonka property just down the road.)

The general consensus is that the real estate market has bottomed out, and that makes it a good time for those with the financial wherewithal to expand their residential property assets in the area, says Candi Stabeck, who for a quarter-century has worked for Edina Realty, focusing on the Lake Minnetonka suburbs. “The land on the east and north sides of Lake Minnetonka is very valuable,” she says. “And the good Lord isn’t making any more of it.”

Stabeck claimed ignorance of McGuire’s intentions and says that while such acquisitions are quite rare, he’s not the first to do it—the Dayton family, for example, has acquired a lot of land over the years in the area—and “there are a few different parties” eyeing property expansion. “The few that have been able to pick up contiguous lots in the area have been very fortunate.”

McGuire’s grand scheme remains mysterious. On a map, the outgrowth resembles a game of Risk. Maybe it’s a family compound, or he simply desires privacy. Then again, the total square footage could accommodate about a dozen soccer fields—perhaps he’s looking to bring the Minnesota United Football Club to his backyard.