We normally use this blog to joke around about anything and everything, but for once we’re going to get seriously serious. We promise this will be the only time!
Yolanda’s Armenian grandparents lived in the same house in La Cañada Flintridge for more than 40 years. During some summers, we would spend nigh every Saturday at their house, horsing around on their old-school (but very fun) diving board, pretending to drive our grandpa’s Cadillac, and gazing in awe at grandma’s massive, light-flooded living room that was eclectically yet tastefully decorated with artifacts from her extensive travels around the globe. Our granny (may she RIP) had quite the flair for decorating and design. We think all those days we spent in her house are a big part of why we are so interested in real estate (and etc) today.
Good times. Fond memories. Maybe that’s why, despite the fact she’s never lived there, Yolanda still keeps a close and interested eye trained on the super-sleepy La Canada neighborhood. So when we get a rare opportunity to write about one of the residents, we take it! See?
The richest family (or definitely one of the richest) in the city, as all the locals have long known, is Vince Dundee III and his wife Judy. The couple are very involved in the community and have hosted many philanthropic events, fundraisers, banquets at their mansion, which they purchased way back in 2006 for an A-list $9,900,000. A full decade later, that sale still holds the record for most ever paid for a house in the city. But wait! We’re getting ahead of ourselves here.
How did the Dundees get so rich? Well, first let’s give you a bit of family background. Vince Dundee III’s granddad — Vince Sr. — was an Italian immigrant to the US who became, for a short period, the Middleweight boxing champ of the world. He eventually settled in the Glendale (CA) area. And though he died young after being stricken with multiple sclerosis in his mid-30s, his family has remained rooted in the neighborhood.
After his father’s death, Vince Jr. became a successful restaurateur in the La Canada area. Unfortunately, his most famous local eatery rather bizarrely burned down in 1980. The blaze was quickly labeled arson, but the culprit was never captured. Though the Dundees stated they would rebuild the restaurant, 35+ years later the property remains vacant.
Now then, boxing and old burned-down restaurants obviously aren’t the main source of these folks’ wealth. Mr. Vince Dundee III was the longtime owner of a Glendale-based company known as Video Equipment Rentals (VER). As you might expect, VER rents out their massive supply of film and video production equipment (lighting, cameras, audio, LED) to a variety of entertainment industry and corporate clients. The firm also has distribution centers all over the world.
The business was lucrative enough to afford Mr. Dundee and his wife their aforementioned $10 million main residence in La Canada. We say “was” because although Yolanda cannot find a single online article to support this, it’s known that Mr. Dundee sold the company last year.
Like so many others before him, Mr. Dundee took his huge chunk of change and went a-huntin’ for some prime real estate. He settled on two side-by-side vacation homes on fabled Malibu Road, one substatially larger than the other and purchased in two separate transactions. A $23 million oceanfront compound, as it were.
The smaller house was acquired this June (2016) for $5,600,000 by Mr. Dundee’s LLC. Sparse listing information says the house was “sold before processing”. What we know is that the petite pad is a miserly 1,184-square-feet with 2 beds and 1 bath.
Nearly $5,000 per square foot may seem like a ludicrous amount to pay even for a beach house, but keep in mind this property is located on one of the best stretches of sand in the city.
What was really crazy about this sale, however, is that the seller — a guy named Ken Adelberg– had only purchased the house six months before, back in December 2015. Guess how much he paid? Just $4,250,000! That’s a wow-inspiring 30% (or so) value increase in just six months and for what we’re guessing was simply a minor cosmetic refresh.
But wait! That’s not all. If you think that seller pocketed a ton of change, wait ’til you see how much dough his neighbor made. The property next door was sold for $3,600,000 in 2013 to some developers and quickly bulldozed. The new spec-mansion that arose stood two stories tall.
Like its neighbor, the house was again “sold before processing” to Mr. & Mrs. Dundee. But check out how much they paid! A fat $17,650,000! Yowza. Even if the developer had invested $10 million into the construction of a new residence — and Yolanda highly doubts the actual tab was anywhere near that amount — they still would’ve walked with millions.
The modern new two-story house of unknown size has 4 bedrooms and 4.5 baths. Unfortunately, those two renderings above is all Yolanda’s got to show y’all what the place looks like today.
There you have it. In total, that’s $23,250,000 for the Dundee’s two-parcel oceanfront compound.
Now, let’s quickly discuss the family’s main residence back in good ol’ La Canada. As we mentioned, they paid a record-breaking $9,900,000 for the 10,000-square-foot, vaguely Dutch Colonial beast back in 2006. There are 5 beds/7 baths and a rectangular pool and spa. The heavily-wooded 1.33-acre lot ensures total privacy for the homeowners. And the seller, for what it’s worth, was former pro baseball star Darren Dreifort and his now-ex-wife Ann.
La Canada may seem boring as hell to folks used to the hectic life in Downtown LA or Sunset Strip areas, but the quiet Crescenta Valley community is an easy trek to the big studios and refreshingly paparazzi-free. Thus, in recent years it has become popular with a healthy handful of showbiz peeps. Current and former residents include Miley Cyrus, Vince Vaughn, Adam Carolla, Diane Farr, Angela Bassett and Gore Verbinski.