Though it was never officially on the market, a lavish oceanfront estate in Laguna Beach has sold for a jaw-dropping $70 million — the priciest Orange County residential real estate transaction ever recorded. The sale bests the recent $61 million transfer of a house in nearby Newport Coast, and blows away a $55 million compound deal in Corona Del Mar from a few years back.
The buyer is Joseph Edelman, founder and CEO of the New York-based biotech hedge fund Perceptive Advisors. As was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, Edelman and his wife Susan Lebovitz-Edelman now hold the keys to a nearly 18,000-square-foot mansion in northern Laguna’s ultra-exclusive, guard-gated Irvine Cove community.
Per records, the home’s seller was Jason Moore, the Puerto Rico-based owner of Irvine, Calif. credit card processing company Merchant Services. Moore — who owned the house through his Abalone Point LLC and also previously owned two Newport Coast homes — is also a major landlord of commercial properties, though he remains low profile.
Moore acquired the Italianate-style structure back in 2018 for “just” $32.7 million, more than doubling the property’s value in just three years. Built over eight years and completed in 2010, the place was designed by Warner Group Architects and originally owned by entrepreneur Ronald K. Loder and his wife Yolanda; the couple purchased the land from one of the last heirs of the Irvine family, who had owned it since Spanish land grants were issued in the 19th century.
Perched atop a one-acre bluff overlooking the Pacific, with direct access to an essentially private beach, the resort-like property includes a Tuscan-style main house with four bedrooms and six baths spread across nearly 10,000 square feet, plus a two-story guest house patterned after Philip Johnson’s Glass House in Connecticut. Glitzy amenities range from a screening room with bar and 10,000-bottle wine cellar to a gym sporting a massage room.
Previous listings for the house show a commercial-grade kitchen equipped with Carrara marble countertops and a Bonnet Maestro range, while the sumptuous master retreat has dual baths and closets; nearly all of the living spaces open via galleries and loggias to picturesque ocean views. The meticulously landscaped grounds are dotted with rose gardens, 100-year-old olive trees and fountains imported from Europe, and host an oceanfront pool and spa with a cabana and an adjacent event lawn. Other amenities include a 53-foot brass and glass waterfall made from materials culled from a Los Angeles bank and a six-car garage boasting a hydraulic lift.
Edelman, 66, operates a hedge fund with $10 billion under management and has an estimated net worth of $2.9 billion, per Forbes. The couple also own a New York penthouse on Manhattan’s Park Avenue that’s currently listed for just under $30 million. As for Moore, he maintains a multimillion-dollar mansion in the exclusive Ritz-Carlton Residences at Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico.
Evan Corkett and Steve High of Villa Real Estate repped Moore in the deal; the Edelmans were repped by Jon Curci and Rex McKown of Compass. Michelle Luhan of Compass in New York was involved in the transaction as a referral agent.