|This week we are pleased to have a new Guest Diarist whose daily reports on the web of real estate activity among the rich, the chic, the famous and the shameless, mainly out by the blue Pacific, in the land of Hollywood terrific: Real Estalker.
Real Estalker is the best tour guide to movieland and tycoon-ville today that can be found no matter where you look: keyboard, telly or the street. Who needs a map with this guy.
Today’s Guest Diary which has already appeared on his daily column, is about Beverly Park the very expensive gated community that sits high up in the canyons just north of Sunset and south of Mulholland where potentates and super-stars get to live like regular people in celluloid splendor. Or something like that.
Real Estalker writes:
Although none of $50,000,000+ estates on that list are located in the disturbingly dee-luxe Beverly Park community, the gated enclave is none the less a vortex of hotel sized houses with steroidal price tags.
Stretching across 250 acres high above the city of Beverly Hills, Beverly Park is divided into two sections with three gated entrances. Beverly Park South has a single entrance off Summitridge Drive and consists of 16 homes while Beverly Park North has entrances off Summitridge Drive and Mulholland Drive. Beverly Park North was sectioned into 64 parcels by the developers, however several super rich residents purchased mulitple parcels bringing the number of homesites to 56. Several properties are currently in various stages of construction and, as best as we can tell, two parcels remain undeveloped, one of which is owned by Beverly Park resident Robert Bisno and is for sale with an asking price of $11,900,000.
Whether loved or loathed, everyone in the Los Angeles real estate game seems to have a strong opinion about Beverly Park's near mythic mega-mansion lined streets. Mumbling Mandy says, "I think that Beverly Park is great in that it keeps comps and prices at a good standpoint for the high end market. The reason that many stars live there is because its very exclusive, has a no fly zone, and everyone in the community is of the same caliber." Another well connected contact whom we affectionately call Nelly Knowsitall says, "Beverly Park has always been about foreign money and new money. Lots of it." Kenny Kissintell, one of Your Mama's gal-pals who owns a jealousy inducing address in Beverly Hills and is rich enough to live in Beverly Park if he wanted, recently hissed in our big ol' ear, "It's soooo gross up there you can't believe it. That place is for the likes of athletes, assholes and Dr. Phil types...bad taste in every direction."
|One can imagine this super swank and heavily secured community might be very attractive to the rich, the famous and the so rich you don't even know their names. And it is. Current residents of Beverly Park include showbiz folks like Eddie Murphy, Denzel Washington, Rod Stewart and Reba McEntire and entertainment tycoons like Sumner Redstone, Avi Arad and Haim Saban. Then there are the big bizness barons like tool tycoon Eric Smidt and pizza mogul Larry Flax who founded the California Pizza Kitchen. Toss in a few more famous people, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon and a couple members of the Saudi royal family and you've got an old fashioned Beverly Park backyard barbecue...as if that ever happens.
Other than a burning desire to live in a domicile five or 10 times the size of the average American home and the smug satisfaction and strange comfort of knowing all of your neighbors are (theoretically) as filthy rich as you, security is a primary reason many people who possess piles of cash money and millions in art and jewelry gravitate to Beverly Park. Not only is the community gated and guarded 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but each tumescent Tuscan pile and every faux French chateau sits behind electronically controlled gates of their own and are equipped with state of the art security. Some residents even hire their own security personnel to roam the grounds, man the gate and protect their possessions. For many, that would be enough, plenty even, but not for the ridiculously rich residents of one of the U-nited States' more immoderate and pretentious private communities. Residents of Beverly Park also pay out of pocket for additional armed security to comb the unusually quiet and usually desolate streets where a human being (who is not the gardener) is rarely seen but through the dark tinted window of a luxury automobile.
A few of the swank Beverly Park spreads are usually on the open market at any given time, and occasionally one of them actually sells. The most recent transaction on record was in September of 2008 when super successful building contractor Ron Tutor forked over a staggering $32,200,000 for a yet to be completed monster-manse which according to listing information was designed to measure a whopping 27,000 square feet (approx.) with 9 bedrooms and an astounding 18 bathrooms.
|All of the sudden, perhaps due to the economic tsunami and the near instantaneous evaporation of wealth that has occurred as a result of the stock market melt down or perhaps just by coincidence, an unusual and surprising number of Beverly Park properties have popped up on the market. We thought it might be interesting to give a quick run down and a cold hard look at the available properties just in case there's a billionaire or two reading our little online endeavor who is still in the market for a humongous house that costs more to maintain each and every month than most Americans make in a single year.
The least expensive property currently available is located in Beverly Park South, which some snooty types with a flair for the flashy will say is less desirable than the Beverly Park North section where all the truly tremendous houses are located. The approximately 4-acre estate belongs to country music queen Faith Hill and her country music king huzband Tim McGraw. The countrypolitan couple listed their approximately 10,500 square foot Mediterranean style pile in October of 2008 with an asking price of $14,800,000. They have not lowered the price. The 6 bedroom and 7.5 bathroom sprawler includes a double height entrance hall, large entertainment spaces and a master suite with dual bathrooms, one of which includes black tile accents and is open to a large gym and looks to Your Mama like a gay bathhouse circa 1982. Sorry Mister McGraw, but it does.
In February of 2007, the house was burglarized, a situation that surely disturbed the other residents of the supposedly secured community. According to reports at the time, the intruder entered the house through a broken window. Authorities did not elaborate on what items were stolen except to say that an unspecified amount of money was missing. What Your Mama wants to know is why wasn't the damn burglar alarm clanging and screaming the very moment the nervy thief breathed on the window pane?
|Also located in Beverly Park South is the home of aged Italian siren Luciana Paluzzi and her media mogul/theme park executive husband Michael Solomon who originally listed their 13,638 square foot house in July of 2008 for $19,995,000, a figure that quickly and inexplicably jumped up to $23,995,000. According to the always informative Babbling Babette, British pop star Robbie Williams entered into a contract to purchase the house in the late summer for close to the asking price but backed out at the last minute, lost his sizable deposit and decided to move back to England. Shortly after that aborted transaction, the asking price was lowered to its current number of $19,995,000.
As best as we can tell from listing information, the the main house includes 3 bedrooms including a master with dual bathrooms, natch, 3 additional bedrooms in the 2-story guest house and another separate room and bath for a live in staff person. The back yard offers panoramic views down the canyon towards Beverly Hills proper and includes a large pool and spa as well as a sunken, not quite north/south tennis court for the sporty types. For what it's worth and as far as were are concerned–and of course, our opinion is utterly meaningless–the Paluzzi pad could benefit greatly from a nice gay decorator doing over the dated day-core which will cost the new owner another couple million in couches, cabinetry and commodes.
Although Mister Zada earned a doctorate from UC Berkeley, worked as an adjunct professor of mathematics at institutions of higher learning like Stanford and Columbia, became a champion poker player and a money manager, he chose to make his big bucks and major mark on the world with a seriously smutty magazine called Perfect 10 in which women who have not had any cosmetic surgery are pictured baring their naughty bits and nether parts in all their extremely explicit glory.
According to listing information, the 6.79 acre estate includes an approximately 20,000 square foot main house plus an approximately 5,000 square foot guest house connected to the main house by a glass and steel bridge. Altogether the property includes 11 bedrooms and 18 bathrooms as well as dance and art studios, a gym, office, library and all the other rooms expected in a house the size of a small airport. Exterior amenities include parking for a bevy of Mister Zada's "natural" beauties, a paddle ball court with pavilion, vast stretches of flat lawn perfect for a rousing game of strip croquet and a swimming pool and spa not nearly as orgy-sized as one might expect from the home of a proud pornographer.
|Just down the street and around the bend from Mister Zada's colossal contemporary is the home of controversial and much maligned property developer Robert Bisno and his wifey Jeanette who hoisted their 5+ acre estate onto the open market in late November of 2008 with an asking price of $29,500,000. Since then the asking price has been sliced and diced down to its current number of $25,900,000. Listing information shows the approximately 16,800 square foot behemoth includes 5 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms as well as a media room, piano room, an office, and a brick-lined wine cellar with its own living and dining areas.
The grounds include a exuberantly and meticulously manicured rose garden, walking paths throughout the property, a swimming pool, sunken tennis court and a backyard cabana with another living room, a bar and a terlit so that wet guests need not traipse through the main house dripping chlorinated water which could ruin the Aubussons.
Some real estate scuttlebutters say Mister Bisno has been forced to sell his big house out of financial distress, and indeed at one point not so long ago a Notice of Default had been filed and at least one auction date was staved off. However, Your Mama don't know nuthin' from nuthin' about Mister Bisno's bank accounts so we do not need to hear from his people about how he's still swimming in dough. Maybe he is, maybe he ain't. All we know for sure is that for whatever reasons, Mister Bisno wants to sell his damn house.
|The next property belongs to Rockstar Energy Drink founder Russ Weiner who listed his 5+ acre Beverly Park real estate baby just this week with a breathtaking asking price of $28,000,000. While that number does not sound so large when you consider the asking price of many of the other properties currently for sale in Beverly Park, we ask y'all to consider that prop records reveal Mister Weiner only purchased his 8,448 square foot mansion in February of 2007 for $15,000,000. We're not sure if Mister Weiner made any significant (or even any insignificant) improvements to the 6 bedroom and 7 bathroom Spanish hacienda style house. But for that ginormous price increase, he better have gilded the place in gold because let's be honest, what kind of damn fool would pay nearly double what Mister Weiner paid just two years ago in an economy sinking faster than the Titanic? Seriously, who?
Mister Weiner owns a number of properties all over Los Angeles and has spent the better part of the last few years trying to unload them. He's got a four floor butt-buster of a house on Franklin Avenue that's been listed since the dawn of time. That house, now listed at $2,500,000 was first listed in January of 2007 for $3,995,000. Another property he wishes was not sitting in his real estate portfolio is a cockamamie house on Sierra Alta Way with 9 bedrooms and 13 bathrooms that's currently listed at $14,900,000 but was previously listed as insanely high as $22,000,000. Mister Weiner recently managed to lighten his real estate load when he sold the famed and somewhat infamous house known as The Fortress up on Sunset Plaza Drive in late 2008 for $8,000,000. This was after two long years on the market with an asking price that started at a decidedly optimistic $14,995,000.
|Next on the list is a 27,000 square foot spec built maximalist manor house currently listed at a blistering $31,500,000 which is a lot of damn money even for the crazy rich. However, it's a far cry from the $49,000,000 the developer first listed the palatial 10 bedroom and 14 bathroom mansard roofed mega-mansion that our sidekick Joodee craves to tool around in while wearing a hoop skirt, powdered wig and silver slingback sandals pretending to be the Duchess of Beverly Park.
The three stories of unrestrained opulence include monumental entertainment spaces including an honest to God ballroom, a poshly paneled, circular library with a glass floor that looks down into a 2,500 bottle brick-lined wine cellar, a huge home theater, a marble spa in the basement that includes wet and dry massage rooms, a gigantic gym with mirrored walls, a hot tub and an indoor pool for all those chilly southern California winters. The grounds include a swimming pool, deep loggias for lazy afternoons lounging in the shade and the necessary permits for a tennis court. The necessary permits? Thirty one million bucks and you get permits for a tennis court? Pleeze. For that amount of money we don't only want a tennis court, Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter want a deeded to the property and scantily clad tennis pro available at day and night at a moment's notice.
|Although it does not appear on the MLS, an estate known as The Great 78 still appears on the listing agent's personal website with an asking price of $34,000,000. At one point Your Mama erroneously thought this real estate white elephant was owned by beer baron Adolf Coors, but as it turns out, it's actually owned by former body builder and nutritional supplement magnate Bill Phillips. The near three acre estate, which has been for sale for about as long as Your Mama has been alive, boasts a 17,826 square foot vaguely Moorish style mansion with a large motor court, lots of palm trees, 9 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms.
Several other Beverly Park properties were recently for available for purchase but did not sell and no longer appear to be listed on the open market. Those properties include Indonesian biznessman Han Moeljadi's 10 bedroom and 14 bathroom architectural extravaganza which had been listed at $29,000,000 since before we started our little online endeavor back in late 2006. The listing has disappeared from the MLS, but we do not find any transfer records for the property.
In August of 2007 super producer Mike Medavoy (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Rocky Terminator and etc.) and his wifey Irina put their modest by Beverly Park standards mansion on the market with an asking price of $23,500,000 which was later reduced to $21,500,000. According to property records, the vaguely Hampton-esque style house measures 10,769 square feet and includes 5 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms and a large striped motor court. After some time languishing on the market, the Medavoy's de-listed their house and, presumably, decided to stay in Beverly Park a bit longer.
|George Santo Pietro, otherwise known as Vanna White's ex-huzband and baby daddy, built an approximately 30,000 square foot beast next door too his own over-sized mansion which he listed in August of 2007 with a teeth chattering asking price of $50,000,000. In the Spring of 2008, Mister Santo Pietro rather wisely leased the 9 bedroom and 15 bathroom spread to the talented and wildly eccentric musician Prince. Mister Santo Pietro is rumored and reported to have persuaded Prince to fork over the princely sum of $200,000 per month, a number that very well could be true but sounds a bit exaggerated to Your Mama. As far as we know, Prince still struts his purple stuff up and down the long hallways of the house.
And then of course, there's Villa Firenze, the gigantic multi-parcel spread owned by Steven Udvar-Hazy that we keep hearing (but can not confirm) is quietly being shopped around a price so high no one will even whisper it in Your Mama's big ear. Among other money making undertakings, Mister Udvar-Hazy made a few billion smackers leasing jets and according to property records on file with the County of Los Angeles, he chose to spend many tens of millions building a massive monument to his wealth which measures in at a whopping 28,660 square feet with 8 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms. Keep in mind those figures do not include the 2,948 square foot guest house (which records show has 2 bedrooms and 3 terlits) or any of the other out buildings and pavilions that dot the 10+ acre estate.
It would not surprise Your Mama or the Dr. Cooter to learn that there are even more rich (or formerly rich) folks quietly shopping their Beverly Park money pits around to that very short list of folks who still have the finances and desire to live like robber barons, rock stars and royalty.