Money was a central theme in Gilmore Girls. Everyone knows that Lorelai Gilmore came from a wealthy family. She fell back on them more than once to get things done, and the Gilmores had enough plenty of cash to throw around. Fans often forget, however, that Luke Danes appears to be sitting on a pretty substantial nest egg, too. When you look at Luke quickly, you’d never think he was swimming in cash. His clothing choice was pretty basic, his living accommodations can be described as practical at best, and his car was nothing particularly flashy either, but was Luke secretly rich? It’s possible.
Luke inherited his building, so he never spent any money on rent
Luke spent his entire life in Stars Hollow. He grew up in the town, and his parents clearly had serious roots in the hamlet. True fans know that Luke inherited the building that houses Luke’s Diner when his father passed away. Before Luke turned the space into a diner, it was a hardware store. Lorelai even mentions that the apartment upstairs was never intended to be lived in. Apparently, Luke’s father used it as an office.
Presumably, Luke’s father owned a house in the town, as well. If that’s true, Luke likely sold the home after his father’s death. Fans know that he had just one sister, Liz, so even if he had to split the profits of the sale, he was left with a good chunk of money. One can assume the building was owned free and clear, too, meaning Luke only had to pay property taxes, and he didn’t have a rent or mortgage payment for his living accommodations. Anything he made from the diner was, thus, pure profit.
He owned more than one property
Luke didn’t just own one building in Stars Hollow, he held the building next to Luke’s, as well. Not only was he likely collecting rent money for any apartments within the building, but he also had retail space that he rented out to Taylor Doose, the town selectmen. According to The Balance, the average price per square foot varies when it comes to retail. A storefront located in an area with a lot of foot traffic comes at a premium. Anything from $15 to $35 per square foot is considered acceptable.
The building that housed Taylor’s candy shop was located in a heavily traveled area of the hamlet. Right on the main strip, Luke could command a pretty decent rent for the space, and Taylor didn’t seem interested in vacating the area anytime soon. Sure, Luke had to outlay some serious cash to buy the building but he would have made it up over time in rent collected.
He had plenty of money to throw at Lorelai
The number one reason fans believe Luke was secretly rich is just how easily he parted with money when it came to Lorelai. Before the couple was ever in a relationship, Luke was happy to throw cash at her, and he didn’t seem to give it a second thought. When Lorelai ran out of money while renovating The Dragonfly Inn, Luke handed her a check for $30,000. Sure, he was an investor, but he didn’t want to draw up any paperwork. Either he was super trusting, super in love, or he didn’t really need that money all that badly.
He also bought the Twickham house when he believed it was the perfect spot to raise a family, and when Lorelai made it clear she didn’t want to move, he was happy to throw money at the problem to renovate her home. He even paid a premium to get the crew to finish everything early. Since Lorelai didn’t even have the money to fix a termite issue early in the series, fans can assume her financial situation didn’t improve enough to take on a massive renovation project. Luke paid for it all.