Posts Tagged ‘Showbiz’

The Real Estalker – Showbiz Exec Steve Burke Buys In L.A., Lists in P.A., and Holds in N.Y.C.

Friday, January 24th, 2014

SELLER: Steve Burke
LOCATION: Philadelphia, PA
PRICE: $ 5,200,000
SIZE: 8,120 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 6 full and 3 half bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Much to the self-serving chagrin of many, we’re sure, Your Mama unilaterally decided that, today, rather than dis and discuss the real estate affairs of some over-exposed reality television denizen or a misbehaving super star or international film legend, we’d like to discuss powerful and influential entertainment industry executive Steve Burke. Not only did he quietly acquire a nearly nine million dollar house in Los Angeles in December (2012) but he and his missus, Gretchen, also—as we first learned from real estate yenta Yolanda Yakketyyak—own an elegant, mansion-sized row house in downtown Philadelphia that’s currently on the open market with an asking price of $ 5.2 million.

Mister Burke, formerly the well-compensate COO of the cable t.v. and internet services conglomerate Comcast, became the even better compensated head honcho CEO of NBC Universal in January of 2011 after a much ballyhood merger between the cable and media juggernauts. The veteran executive was launched to the top of the industry gossip pyramid last fall when he and his team botched the unceremonious firing of a long-time NBC Universal executive named Adam Fogelson. Now, before some of y’all get your knickers all up in an indignant twist, Your Mama knows that probably nobody in Peoria, Panama City, or Pawnee gives a shit about the Misters Burke and Fogelson and/or their bad professional blood but, make no mistake, butter beans, in Tinseltown this was a much reported on and tittered about topic at all the best Showbiz power lunch eateries that cater to industry insiders. Still don’t care? Well, too bad. Have a gin and tonic and take a nerve pill and just try to enjoy the photos and the floor plans, okay?

Mister Burke, in his early 50s and still handsome in that clean-cut middle-aged former frat guy sort of way, purchased the historic red brick row house near Philadelphia’s picturesque Rittenhouse Square in August 2010 for $ 5.85 million. It was, according to local property gossips, the most ever paid for such a property in downtown Philadelphia.

Current digital marketing materials show the five floor Georgian—there are four floors above ground plus a finished basement, all serviced by a wood-paneled elevator—stretches about 26 feet wide and spans 8,120 square feet with five bedrooms, six full and three half bathrooms, and half a dozen fireplaces.

Floor plans included with online listings show a raised stoop entry opens into a large entry with built-in window bench, wood floors, and an impressive staircase with lots of elaborately turned spindles. The street-facing formal living room has a fireplace and the formal dining room—the Burkes appear to have furnished it as a sitting room in listing photos—has an ornamented barrel vaulted ceiling. A full wall of bookcases fitted with leaded glass doors also opens on the back side in the dining area of the expensively outfitted and cook-friendly eat-in kitchen at the rear of the house.

On the lower level, in addition to a (windowless) fitness room, a three-quarter hall bath, and several impressive storage rooms and a walk-in wine storage space, there’s an attached, alley-accessed two-car garage. Think about how desirable an attached two-car garage in the middle of downtown Philadelphia is to a wealthy, city-dwelling Philadelphian who prefers their own Mercedes or Maserati to the SEPTA. Anyways…

A bedroom-sized, bookcase-lined, and all-paneled library plus a larger family room (with fireplace) and a compact half bathroom in the hallway share the roomy row house’s second floor with the master suite. The decent-sized but hardly huge master bedroom has a fireplace and direct access to a private deck. There’s also a fitted walk-in closet/dressing room and a compartmentalized bathroom equipped with two sinks, a free-standing soaking tub, separate glassed-in steam shower and a wee dry sauna.

Each of the three bedrooms on the third floor have private attached bathrooms. The smallest gets no extra special amenities but the medium sized one has a fireplace and a small dressing area and the largest one, which stretches the full width of the house, not only has a fireplace but a fitted walk-in closet. A fourth family/guest bedroom on the fourth floor is identically sized and laid out as the largest bedroom the third floor. Also on the top floor is another pint-sized powder pooper in the hall and, at the back of the house, a wet-bar equipped media alcove and an adjoining sitting room with built-in book cases and French door access to a city view roof deck.

Mister and Missus Burke, who have five children, may have set a record sale price when they purchased their mid-city row house but, with it’s current $ 5.2 million asking price, the West Coast-bound Burkes stand to loose a good-sized bundle of money, even if they manage to pull in a full price buyer. Indeed, as per Your Mama’s bejeweled abacus, Mister and Missus Burke are looking at a bank account brutalizing $ 650,000 loss, not counting carrying costs, improvement expenses, and real estate fees.

Money, however, doesn’t seem to be too much of an issue for Mister and Missus Burke, bless their financial hearts. Even though they’re looking at a hefty loss in Philadelphia they still have the wherewithal to keep a huge spread in New York City—more on that later—and spend—as we also first heard from Yolanda Yakettyyak and confirmed with property records—$ 8,700,000 on a newly built mansion in L.A.’s Brentwood area. Listing details described the white, clapboard-sided house as a “New England Trad” that sits on almost a third of an acre in a discreet but decidedly affluent and—obviously—exceedingly expensive neighborhood and is conveniently located walking distance to The Brentwood Country Mart.

The children will note that listing details (and other reports) show Mister and Missus Burke’s row house in Philly measures 8,120 square feet and listing details Your Mama turned up for their new house in Los Angeles shows it, too, has 8,120 square feet. Spooky or just a cute coinky-dink? You decide.

Listing details Your Mama turned up show the Colonial-esque residence has a total of six bedrooms and 6.5, one of each of which is comprise a staff suite in the finished basement area. The airy interior spaces were finished with furniture grade built-ins, quarter and rift sawn oak floors throughout, and feature vaulted wood ceilings and marble bathrooms.

There are, as is expected in a house of this size and price, a foyer that will impress guests, formal living and dining rooms, and a wood-paneled library. Less formal family quarters include an large eat-in kitchen with breakfast area, separate mud room, and an adjoining family room that opens to the backyard. Downstairs, in the finished basement, along with the staff bedroom and bathroom, there’s a screening room with wet bar, a wine room, a powder room, and a laundry room with dual washers and dryers, probably handy for a family with five children. The landscaped backyard has large terraces and patios, one with a fire pit, a built-in barbecue set up, and a heated swimming pool and spa.

In New York City, Mister and Missus Burke own a large, terraced apartment in the same Arts and Crafts-y Upper West Side building where Madonna lived in a meandering multi-unit combo before she decamped to her triple wide townhouse on the Upper East Side. The Burke’s, higher floor urban aerie is a combination of three apartments that property records and reports from the time show Mister and Missus Burke purchased in separate transaction between early May and late July in 2011.

First they paid $ 11.75 million for a large and lovely if somewhat quirkily laid out four bedroom and three bathroom apartment with a slender, 65-ish foot long terrace with sweeping views over Central Park to Fifth Avenue. Quick on the heels of that came the $ 2.95 off-market acquisition of the apartment next door—of unknown size—and shortly after that the space-craving couple coughed up another $ 1.8 million for a third, contiguous apartment with one bedroom and one bathroom. A few quick tabulations on Your Mama’s bejeweled abacus reveals they spent a cool $ 16,500,000 to purchase the three apartments and we have to assume (without knowledge or proof) they’ve since spent a small fortune to combine them into one (hopefully cohesive), family-of-seven-sized sprawler. As of today the combo-crib is not listed on the open market but, of course, we don’t have any inside intel on the Burke’s future plans for the place.

listing photos and floor plan (Philadelphia): Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Fox & Roach
listing photos (Los Angeles): Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
The Real Estalker

The Real Estalker – Showbiz Bigwig Mike Medavoy Flipping Out Again

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

SELLER: Mike and Irena Medavoy
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $ 7,998,000
SIZE: 5,437 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: In 2007 Tinseltown super producer Mike Medavoy and his wife Irena slapped a ludicrously optimistic $ 23,500,000 price tag on their nearly 11,000 square foot house in the guard-gated Beverly Park community that sold July 2009 for $ 12,500,000.

A few months later, in September 2009, the Hollywood power player and is charity-minded lady downsized to an approximately 6,200 square foot house in the ever-so-trendy Trousdale Estates neighborhood in Beverly Hills for which they paid $ 5,850,000. However, Mister and Missus Medavoy soon caught a classic case of The Real Estate Fickle and, in June 2010, flipped the low-slung four bedroom and seven bathroom house back on the market with an asking price of $ 7,495,000. Property records show the house sold very quickly to a Canadian corporate concern for $ 7,500,000.

The following April (2011) Mister and Missus Medavoy plunked down $ 6,000,000 dollars for a 5,437 square foot architectural pastiche of a house in prime East Gate Bel Air that Your Mama will call it a faux-Tuscan Renaissance Revival style villa due to a lack of more discernible or specific vernacular.

The—ahem—villa overlooks the impossibly exclusive Bel-Air Country Club where, as per the country club’s website, gentlemen members and their male guests are not allowed to wear “Bermuda or walking shorts, jeans or denims of any color, tank tops, cutoffs, swimwear, football jerseys, or any type of shirt with printed phrases and warm-up suits are not permitted.”

Anyhoo, less than two years later, in late February 2013, the itchy-footed Medavoys heaved their Bel Air house back on the market with a $ 7,998,000 price tag. It might seem ludicrous to some of the children that Mister and Missus Medavoy would slap an asking price on the house 33% higher than they paid for the place less than two years before but they did undertake an extensive and costly renovation of the property and—bully for them—within two weeks the property was put into escrow with an unknown buyer at an unknown price.

Incidentally, the property had been owned since at least the mid-1990s by Jon Peters—another Tinseltown super producer—who sold the house to arts and culture patroness Brindell Roberts Gottlieb in March 2008 for $ 8,200,000. Miz Gottlieb, bless her real estate heart, lost a $ 2.2 million bundle when she sold the house to Mister and Missus Medavoy for just six million bucks.*

Listing detials show the two story house was originally built in 1950, sits on .85 gated acres, measures 5,437 square feet and has a total of four bedrooms and five bathrooms including a “romantic” master suite with high ceiling and dual bathrooms.

The formal living room is roomy enough to comfortably accommodate a grand piano and has wood floors, a vaulted exposed beam wood ceiling, hulking stone fireplace and at least four sets of French doors that open to a long and wide, slate-tiled city view terrace. The vaulted ceiling continues over the formal dining room with a quartet of sky-lights that flood the room with light all day long. There aren’t any listing photos of the kitchen but listing details call it a “Fabulous country open kitchen with eat-in breakfast room.”

Other less formal spaces include a gallery lined with windows and built-in bookshelves, a fully carpeted den/office and an also fully carpeted over-sized family room filled with roll-armed upholstered sofas and chairs and a truckload of books, photographs, accolades and other movie industry memorabilia form Mister Medavoy’s nearly 50 years in Da Movie Bizness.

The lower level—where some if not all of the bedrooms are located as far as Your Mama can tell—opens to a basket weave pattern red brick terrace and wedge-shaped deck that surrounds the bullet-shaped swimming pool. The terraced and fully landscaped grounds include tended gardens and walkways, narrow strips of flat lawns and a lighted sport court that overlooks the once exquisite UCLA-owned Hannah Carter Japanese Garden.***

The immediate area where this house is located is chock full of large estates owned by all sorts of wicked-rich people who include apparel mogul Serge Azria—who paid $ 21 million for his 12 bathroom house in April 2011, billionaire investor Tom Gores, financier Michael Doumani, wealthy widow Bren Simon who once put her 20,000-ish square foot mansion on the market for $ 50,000,000 but has since reduced it several times the price to its current $ 29,900,000.

*Mister Medavoy’s has had a hand in producing, literally, hundreds of feature films including One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Rocky and Annie Hall, all of which earned best picture Oscars in the mid-1970s. Since then he produced through a variety of companies (Orion, TriStar and Phoenix) a slew of money maker and award winners including The Terminator (and Terminator II), Dances with Wolves, The Silence of the Lambs, Sleepless in Seattle, Hook, The People vs. Larry Flint, The Thin Red Line, Shutter Island and the 2010 mega hit Black Swan. According to his extensive and impressive resume on the Internet Movie Data Base, Mister Medavoy has more than half a dozen projects from several different genres (Sci-Fi, Horror, Drama etc.) in various stages of filming and development. 

**As far as we can tell from a look-see at the property records, Miz Roberts Gottlieb still also owns the nearly 11,000 square foot house on 2.34 acres immediately next door that she and her deceased husband Milton—a former economics professor turned real estate developer—have owned since the late 1990s.

***The 1.5 acre Kyoto-style hillside garden, designed in the late 50s and early 60s by Nagao Sakurai, was donated to UCLA in the mid-60s. Although they had agreed to maintain the garden in perpetuity, in early 2012 the university removed all the valuable art objects and planned to sell the garden citing prohibitively high maintenance costs, deferred maintenance issues and a lack of attendance/revenue related to the strictly limited parking. Controversy ensued and garden preservationists were relieved when the L.A. Superior Court granted a temporary injunction that prohibits the sale of the garden. A trial is set for May (2013) to determine the long-term fate of the stored garden. The university also listed the adjacent house—the so-called Carter House—in February 2012 for $ 9 million but it was de-listed five months later and has not returned to the (open) market.

listing photos: Coldwell Banker / Beverly Hills South

The Real Estalker

The Real Estalker – Another Showbiz Divorce Another Mansion Sold

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

SELLERS: Patricia Arquette and Thomas Jane
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $ 2,775,000
SIZE: 6,082 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: While out and about we happened to run into a little birdie acquaintance the other day—let’s call him Ben Theredonethat—who asked Your Mama if we’d heard about how Emmy-winning actress Patricia Arquette and her handsome ex-husband—that would be beau-hunky actor Thomas Jane, the chisel-chinned, hairy-chested and fine-fannied star of Hung—had quietly sold their historic mansion in Los Angeles’ hoity-toity Hancock Park ‘hood.

We had not heard a word, not a one and, after a momentary pause to harness what little dignity we have, screamed, “Spill it!”

Naturally, just as soon as Your Mama pulled our big BMW into the garage we took to the interweb and quickly sorted out the facts of the matter and, just as Ben Theredonethat tattled, Mister Jane and Miz Arquette did indeed sell their former family home in Hancock Park in early January 2012 for $ 2,775,000. The buyer, as per property records, was producer Fenton Bailey, one of the World of Wonder gentlemen responsible for television and silver screen fare such as (but not limited to) the budding Million Dollar Listing franchise, the catty yet heartwarming RuPaul’s Drag Race, the sensitively done documentary The Eyes of Tammy Faye, and all those Tori (Spelling) & Dean (McDermott) reality programs.

We know just about nil about Mister Jane except that he’s not afraid to appear birthday suit nekkid and/or very realistically act out The Sex on the tee-vee but we do know that despite (and perhaps because of) their decidedly non-traditional upbringing Miz Arquette and all four of her siblings have gone on to Show Business notoriety of varying degrees and types. There’s actor sister Rosanna Arquette (Suddenly Seeking Susan, Pulp Fiction franchise, The L Word), actor/producer brother David Arquette (Scream franchise, Eight Legged Freaks, Jake and the Never Land Pirates), dragster turned tranny actress sister Alexis Arquette, née Robert (Friends, Californication, The Surreal Life), and the lesser- but hardly un-known actor Richmond Arquette (Dirt, Se7en, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button).

Like her red carpet walking brothers and sisters, Miz Arquette has toiled in Tinseltown for decades, in her case since the mid-1980s. She is best known, perhaps, for her Emmy-winning turn as the tee-vee version of real-life (and self-described) psychic medium Allison Dubois on the long-running but now-canceled supernatural drama Medium.

Reality television watchers may recall that the real life Allison Dubois appeared on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills last year and acted a damn fool. No disrespect, Dolly Dubois, but even you have to admit you didn’t come off looking like an innocent kitten what with your sinister grin, dire predictions, and that creepy vapor cigarette thing you kept puffing on. This year, according to her resume on the Internet Movie Data Base, Miz Arquette will soon be seen on the silver screen in Girl in Progress with Eva Mendes and A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III with Charlie Sheen, Jason Schwarzman and Bill Murray. But we digress.

On January 2003, just a month or so before she gave birth to a baby with now ex-husband Thomas Jane and more than three years before they were married—those free-loving Hollyweirdos—Miz Arquette and Mister Jane paid two and a quarter million clams for a sizable and heavily ornamented 1929 Mediterranean mansion on a corner lot with with long side frontage on one of the busier thoroughfares in Hancock Park.

We know some of you zip code smarty pants and parvenus are going to get all jiggy with real estate indignation and flabbergast about why it is anyone really rich would choose to live in Hancock Park where the crime rates are higher than in the Platinum Triangle. Well, that’s just fine. Go on witcher bad selves. The fact is Hancock Park—not every corner of it but certainly most of it—has always been and remains an upscale neighborhood with postcard-perfect tree-lined streets lined with stately homes owned by a slew of rich and famous folks who include former Friend David Schwimmer, sit-com superstar Patricia Heaton, French clothing tycoon Christian Audigier, newly out of the closet actor Matt Bomer, Emmy-winning producer John Wells, Oscar winner Kathy Bates, celebrity gossip Janet Charlton and, arguably, the celebrity king and queen of Hancock Park Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas. And that, puppies, doesn’t even scratch the surface of the long list of past residents who include the likes of Nat King Cole and Howard Hughes.

Anyhoo, Miz Arquette and Mister Jane, who were officially divorced in 2010, first listed their former family home in June 2011 with an asking price of $ 3,399,000. By November the price had dipped to $ 2,900,000 where it remained until Mister Bailey came along and scooped it up, according to the busy beads on Your Mama’s bejeweled abacus, for almost 20% less than it was originally priced.

Listing information shows the hulky and bulky house—dubbed in marketing materials as the romantic-sounding Villa Catalunya—sits onalmost one-third an acre and measures a man-sized 6,082 square feet with 4 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms. Wide steps at the front of the vine-encrusted mansion lead to what listing information somewhat generously describes as “Gaudiesque.”

Inside the arched, carved wood front door guests and the Dominos pizza delivery dude alike will no doubt be more than impressed with the voluminous and ornate, double height entry hall that reminds Your Mama more than a little of the legendary Limelight nightclub in New York City, now—horrors upon horrors—a kind of boo-teeq shopping mall. Having produced both the 1998 documentary Party Monster: The Shockumentary and the 2003 film Party Monster about club kid and Limelight employee turned drug addled murderer Michael Alig it seems almost inconceivable Mister Bailey didn’t also make that visual connection but, of course, Your Mama don’t know nuthin’ about birthin’ babies or, certainly, what goes on in Mister Bailey’s brain.

The dizzying but ab-baf star burst pattern encaustic tiles under foot continue up the celeb-worthy center staircase to a wrap-around gallery girdled by a wrought iron banister where taffy-twisted Solomonic columns hold up a heavy-duty, hand-stenciled wood ceiling. We have no idea if Mister Bailey plans to host parties here but iffin he does, we might suggest at least once hereplace the antique light fixture over the stairs with a great big sparkly disco ball so that everyone can swoop and swirl down that stunning staircase and have their own, private dancing queen moment.

The cocktail mixer-friendly step-down formal living room just off the entrance hall (above, top left) has gleaming variegated peg and groove wood floors, a monolithic wood-burning fireplace flanked by several pairs of arched (and probably original) stained glass windows, a classic Fortuny light fixture, and a full wall of built-in wood bookcases with carved pilasters and glass-fronted doors.

A wide opening in the built-in bookshelves connects to a library/den/media room (above, top right) where there’s another Fortuny light fixture, a delectable and high hand painted wood-beamed ceiling, another bank of arched stained glass windows, and a pair of arched book cases on either side of a mysterious inset at the far end of the room. Listing photographs show the room equipped with projection equipment and a wide screen that scrolls down from the ceiling, hopefully at the easy press of a remote control button lest there always need to be a pesky foot stool at hand.

Across the entry hall opposite the formal living room, a properly baronial formal dining room (above, bottom left) is wrapped with three-quarter height wood paneling and has yet another Fortuny light fixture, partly parqueted wood floors, and extravagant hand-painted moldings and ceiling details. A double-wide, built-in carved wood buffet helps with food service and china and tchotchke storage. Undoubtedly the dining room set seen in listing photographs does not remain in situ since Miz Arquette sold to Mister Bailey, but the children will note that some nice-gay or lady decorator had the good sense to go the matchy-matchy route with the massive library-style dining room table with Solomonic column legs that echo the aforementioned spiral columns used around the second floor gallery in the entrance hall.

At the rear of the residence the compactly arranged if hardly small service areas include a large and well-maintained but heart wrenchingly banal eat-in kitchen with inlaid limestone tile floor, (too-)traditional raised-panel cabinetry (that may or may not be mahogany), perfectly ordinary white tile counter tops and back splashes, an L-shaped center island with snack counter, and a small adjoining breakfast area. The appliances are all probably top notch and la-di-dah but we suspect (and hope) Mister Bailey will replace all of this nonsense with something more appropriate, interesting, and hideously expensive.

The service wing also includes laundry facilities and a good-sized staff bedroom with private pooper done head to toe in vintage (and probably original) pixilated pink and jet black tilework.

Miz Arquette and/or Mister Jane could not, it seems, fit enough Fortuny light fixtures into their home and upstairs a small sitting room/office has a fourth Fortuny light fixture. Each of the upstairs guest/family bedrooms have an over-sized bathroom with eye-popping vintage (and probably original) tile work. One bathroom (above, bottom right) is an old-timey turqwahze and lemon yellow heaven while the other is turned out a little less vibrantly in sea foam green and fleshy-beige (above, bottom left). 

The expansive, multi-room master bedroom occupies the entire ass end of the upper second floor and looks to Your Mama like the sort of place the priest of a wealthy parish or a robber baron might like to live. More carved wood Solomonic columns divide an entry vestibule from a partly paneled sitting room with fireplace and built-in book cases. Beyond the sitting room, the bedroom area has a heavily articulated and painted coffered ceiling, and a row of stained glass windows on two walls, one of which, we have it on good authority, depicts Jesus Christ.

Imagine now, children, attempting to engage in non-procreational carnal relations with your loved one—or whomever—with a life-sized, stained glass Jesus Christ giving you the stare down. No thank you, hunties. Anyways, the attached master bathroom, with a curving wall of stained glass windows, looks like it was (at least partly) “updated” about the same time as the kitchen and, as far as we’re concerned, could use a re-do to restore it back to its original glory. The highlight of the master suite is not, believe it or not, the stained glass Jesus but rather a pair of secret panels over and next to the fireplace in the sitting room that pop open to reveal a flat screen tee-vee and and an adjacent walk-in closet/dressing room.

A covered porch tucked into the base of the u-shaped rear of the residence provides a perfect, shady spot to spend an afternoon nibbling on leftover egg fu yung, sipping an ice cold gin & tonic or two (or three), and catching up on all the latest political brouhaha and celebrity snitchery on your favorite websites and blogs. The two arms of the u-shaped rear of the residence form a courtyard almost entirely devoted to an essentially rectangular swimming pool. On one side a long and deep covered porch has honeycomb-shaped Mexican paver tiles and on ground and a back wall tiled half way up with magnificent and fiery tiles. On the other side of the cement pond concrete pavers of various sizes are set into a grassy patch that wraps around the back of the house where there’s a lounging/dining terrace and built-in barbecue center with sink and under-counter refrigerator. A limestone (or some other kind of stone) wall with fountain drops water into a semi-circular spa.

A covered porch connects through a locked doorway to a electronically gated motor court and detached three bay garage all of which is very nice but we just have an issue with houses oriented in such a way that all but ensure the owner never come through the front door but instead requires they shuffle across the back yard and get into the house through the service areas. Especially in a house like this were coming through the front door is an experience worth repeating over and over and over again.

Mister Bailey has long owned a charming 4 bedroom and 3 bathroom residence just above Hollywood he bought in 1994 for $ 480,000 and put on the market late last year with an asking price of $ 1,649,000. The price tag for the historic 1921 Arts and Crafts bungalow has since dropped to $ 1,459,000.

listing photos: Photos for Homes for Nourmand & Asssociates / Beverly Hills

The Real Estalker