Thursday, August 18

Want to Live Like a (Middle Earth) King? Check Out This ‘Lord of the Rings’-Inspired Crowdfunding Project

A group of architects and engineers is ready to build an epic piece of property in Southern England — but they need nearly $2.9 billion to do it.

The group aims to create a replica of Minas Tirith, the fictional city and capital of Gondor in Lord of the Rings. Fans of the series will remember this as the site of the Battle of Pelennor Fields in The Return of the King.

Based on the design in director Peter Jackson’s adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkien trilogy, the property will feature both residential and commercial spaces. Luxury penthouses will be built on any of the property’s five levels alongside resort-style spaces.

In order to actually turn this fantasy into reality, the architects and structural engineers behind the project have set up an IndieGoGo campaign to crowdfund the elaborate fortress.

Jonathan Wilson, who set up the campaign, explained that the goal is to make something that every Tolkien fan can enjoy.

“We all share a love of Tolkien’s work, and a desire to challenge the common perception of community and architecture,” Wilson wrote on the crowdfunding site. “We believe that, in realising Minas Tirith, we can create not only the most remarkable tourist attraction on the planet, but also a wonderfully unique place to live and work.”

So far the campaign has raised nearly £17,000 from fewer than 500 backers in just 12 days, but that’s less than 1% of the overall funding goal.

Travel for residents and visitors will include horse-drawn carriages, especially for those who pledge $100,000 to become Lords and Ladies of Minas Tirith. No word on whether the property will be accessible by vehicle or able to store cars and trucks; as 78% of homes purchased in the U.S. in 2013 had garages, living without one could be a bit of culture shock for Middle Earth-loving Americans.

Funding ranges from £3 for a Twitter follow from the campaign to thousands more for accommodations that come with a 100-year lease. Those who want to shell out big bucks to live like Aragorn Elassar and his elven queen Arwen can pledge £1.72 million for a luxury four-bedroom penthouse.

These potential Stewards of Gondor have determined that it will cost them about £1.85 billion (or $2.9 billion USD) to cover the costs: £15 million for the land, £188 million for the labor, and £1.4 billion for building materials. The remainder will be used to maintain the property and provide public services through the year 2053.

If the campaign doesn’t meet its goal by the end of September, then all funds are returned to donors.

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