You Mama was having a digital yakkety-yak the other day with a trusted, valued and well-connected source and we got to trippin’ about the handful of recent sales in Malibu that topped $ 30,000,000.
Of course, thirty million clams for a single private residence is multi-millionaire real estate child’s play in place like London and the craggy coastline of the South of France but, hunties—spectacularly pricey as it is by comparison to places like Columbus and Kalamazoo—in Malibu 30 million bucks is still a helleva lotta damn money.
Not being a scientist, an economist or a real estate professional we really can’t say if these sky-high prices in Malibu are the new normal in a world people by unfathomably rich jet setters or if they represent an anomalistic blip in the upper end property marketplace.
Of course, the reigning Queen Mother of all recent high end sales in Malibu is, of course, the still somewhat secrecy enshrouded sale of financier Howard Marks’ 9.5 acre bluff-top spread that went for a rumored and widely reported price to be about $ 75,000,000.
Your Mama don’t know a thing from a thang but several weeks ago, when this titanic transaction was making headlines in property gossip columns around the globe, it was tattled to Your Mama by a well-placed canary that the deal included just about every stick of the very posh and very expensive furnishings selected by frequently lauded and applauded nice-gay decorator Michael Smith.
Despite much speculation by real estate watchers, Your Mama included the identity of the buyer has yet to be confirmed. We first heard from a lady we know that it might be billionaire junk bond bigwig Michael Milkin. It was not. Then we heard from a source we call Cinnamon Stick who told us that word on the Malibu real estate gossip highway was that the buyer was a young Russian couple with “suitcases full of cash.” We queried a few of our better informed confreres and, after some initial trepidation, one of them fingered billionaire Oakley sunglasses founder James “Jim” Jannard as the new owner. Since then one of the property gossip gals at the Wall Street Journal described the buyers as, “a Russian billionaire couple” and Your Mama heard back from Cinnamon Stick who was emphatic the buyer is not Mister Jannard. So, we don’t really know at this point who coughed up the record breaking wad but we shall see, butter beans, we shall see.
Super producer Jerry Weintraub—Oceans Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen, The Karate Kid, Oh God) isn’t shy about his somewhat unconventional romantic life: He’s been married for nearly 50 years to his wife Jane but lives with his long-time mistress, Susan Elkins. Even more unconventionally, in April 2010 Mister Weintraub was quoted saying that Missus Weintraub and Miz Elkins are “best friends.” Well, alrighty then….
And here Your Mama used to think our family was a clusterfucky freak show because Big Daddy’s third wife’s children from a previous marriage used to spend a week or two every summer at the beach with Your Mama’s momma, who was Big Daddy’s first wife.
Anyhoo, once again we can’t verify it but Your Mama’s been told by multiple sources that Mister Weintraub and Miz Elkins occupy his Beverly Hills estate as well as his 10,000 square foot contemporary desert digs in Rancho Mirage while Missus Weintraub has long commandeered their nearly seven acre estate perched on a bluff above Malibu’s Paradise Cove.
Mister (and Missus) Weintraub have had the nearly seven acre spread on and off the (open) market since way back in 2007 and, finally, nearly a half dozen years later, Your Mama hears from someone who knows these things that they have finally sold their real estate white albatross for $ 41,000,000.* The buyer, our tattletale told us, is apparel mogul Serge Azria.**
The (alleged) purchase price is a big number, certainly by Malibu standards, but it is far less than the daringly optimistic $ 75,000,000 Mister Weintraub originally wanted for the ocean side compound that, in addition to substantial if architecturally very ordinary main house, encompasses three guest houses, a swimming pool complex, a lighted tennis court and extensive equestrian facilities including a two barns, stables and a riding ring.
Platinum Triangle property watchers may remember that is was Serge Azria and his missus who, in February 2010, paid $ 21,000,000 to buy the former Jane Wyatt estate in Bel Air, a 1930s Paul Williams-designed Colonial in Bel Air that had been fully reconstructed and greatly expanded by Showbiz tycoon turned high end house flipper Sandy Gallin.
*Property records do not yet reflect a sale, making this transaction and the details discussed here little more than rumor and gossip.**Serge Azria is not to be confused with his fashion designer brother Max Azria who owns some of his own pretty impressive real estate in Los Angeles.***We’re not sure if Miz Wyatt’s house was actually designed by the legendary architect Paul Williams but it does bear some of his iconic flourishes such as the sweeping circular staircase in the entrance hall and listing details from the time it was sold to Mister Gallin called it an “elegant PAUL WILLIAMS trad.“
Everyone who knows even a smidgen about the real estate doings of big livin’ billionaires knows that Larry Ellison is pretty much the Grand Poobah of trophy property buyers in America. The man owns more high-maintenance estates than Your Mama has fingers and toes. He’s got a painstakingly constructed Imperial Japanese style compound in Woodside (CA), a massive modern mansion in San Francisco, a vast spread in Rancho Mirage (CA) with a private 18-hole golf course and he’s said to have spent well over $ 100 million piecing together and building a colossal compound on the glittering shore of Lake Tahoe. Hell bells, butter beans, the man bought almost the entire island of Lanai last year.
In addition to his collection of private residences Mister Ellison is well known as one of the largest owners of residential and commercial property in the low key but swanky seaside town Malibu (CA). He owns, according to property records and various reports, at least a dozen ocean front homes on Carbon Beach alone, including a small cottage rented by Jennifer Aniston in the immediate wake of her split with Brad Pitt all those years ago.
Of course, Mister Ellison needs another high maintenance ocean front home in Malibu like he needs a goddam peg leg. Howevuh, hunties, last September the jet-setting bajillionaire surprised even us jaded property gossips when he shelled out a very complicated $ 36,943,890 for former Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel’s quintessentially late-80′s early 90s post-modern minded Michael Graves-designed compound situated on 151 feet of prime Carbon Beach ocean frontage.
The three pavilion complex contains a total of 9 bedrooms and 13 bathrooms in 10,317 square feet of interior space that includes a soaring three-story rotunda entrance gallery and a barrel vaulted screening room.
We’re not sure why Mister Ellison felt compelled to buy Mister Semel’s old house but buy it he did. Anyone want to take bets Mister Ellison isn’t done buying up houses in on Carbon Beach?
The 6.6 acre Malibu estate of architecture appreciating computer industry pioneer/philanthropist/patron of the arts and big time lefty liberal political donor Max Palevsky first hit the open market in July 2010 with an in hindsight quite high $ 55,000,000 asking price. By the end of the year the price had plummeted to $ 45,000,000 and two long years after that, in December 2012, the Palevsky family finally settled for what property records reveal to be $ 36,500,000.
The buyer is listed in property records by an unimaginatively named corporation but—lean in close, now—Cinnamon Stick snitched to Your Mama that the buyers are “very rich Russians.” She did not give us their names but clearly Cinnamon Stick has some sort of preternatural-like bead on all the filthy rich Russians (allegedly) snapping up top end real estate in Malibu.
Anyhoo, the 7 bedroom and 8.5 bathroom main house—an 11,313 square foot Mediterranean villa originally built in 1975—sits well off Pacific Coast Highway and privately behind a 12-foot wall. The estate claims almost 340 feet of ocean frontage, according to listing information from the time of the sale, and, as best as Your Mama can tell, the beach is only accessible by way of a fantastically long, zig-zagging staircase. Any lazy person or glutially weak individual who aches in their very core to stroll the sand or bob in the ocean would most certainly think thrice before they made the trip down to the beach knowing full well they’d have the make the much more physically harrowing trip back up.
On the ocean side of the main house there are numerous and varied covered porches, balconies and terraces that all possess panoramic vistas up and down the—let’s be honest, chickens—drop dead dee-VINE California coastline.
One the other side of the house there’s a courtyard planted with a painstakingly maintained spoke-pattern formal garden with a star shaped fountain at its hub. Through the courtyard and across the driveway there’s a large heated swimming pool with plenty of sunbathing space. Tucked back into some trees beyond the swimming pool, there’s a fenced and lighted tennis court with viewing pavilion and convenient half bathroom. Somewhere there’s a one bedroom and one bathroom guest house/staff quarters with kitchen, living room and separate study.
Malibu may not be every one’s cup of often traffic-snarled seaside tea and none of these houses may be architecturally acceptable at any price to some of the children but each of these ocean front estates is most definitely extraordinary in its own way. Maybe it’s got some architectural zhuszh to it. Maybe the amount of land in that location is particularly rare. Whatever but something, you know? Your Mama’s own real estate requirements are much more humble and we think a person has to be a little cray-cray to spend more than $ 30 million for any house. None the less, not to recognize where there is real value in these unusually expensive properties is just to be silly, snooty and/or small minded.
listing photos (Semel/Ellison): Hilton & Hyland
listing photos (Palevsky): Pritchett-Rapf & Associates
The Real Estalker