Nassef Sawiris divides his time between palatial homes in London, New York City and Egypt, but the billionaire jet-setter has never owned a Los Angeles residence. At least that was the case until a few months back, because it turns out Sawiris was the mystery buyer who recently paid north of $24 million for a strikingly glamorous and photogenic mansion in Trousdale Estates, one of Beverly Hills’ most expensive neighborhood pockets.
Born and raised in Cairo, Sawiris is the youngest of three sons born to Onsi Sawiris, the late business mogul who built the Orascom Group into a worldwide conglomerate with interests in construction, tourism, hospitality, tech and media. In recent years, Nassef has shed his image of being just another wealthy heir and gained fame as a shrewd businessman who has acquired holdings in some of the world’s most valuable companies and sports franchises. He’s now far richer than his two older brothers, per Forbes, with a $7 billion net worth partly thanks to a 6% stake in Adidas — Sawiris is Adidas’ single largest shareholder.
To the general American public, however, Sawiris may be known primarily because of Kanye West. Last September, West posted a photo of Sawiris to his much-watched Instagram account with the succinct caption “Sooooo much positivity.”
As for the Sawiris home in Beverly Hills, the modernist structure was built in the late 1960s and sits atop one of the most desirable ridges in the Trousdale neighborhood. But the house wasn’t always as glam as its setting — by the mid-2000s, the single-story place had undergone a series of unfortunate renovations that left it looking like a vaguely Greco-Roman take on modernism, complete with dozens of white columns surrounding the entire home.
Enter Edward “Eddie” Israel, a veteran real estate developer who bought the property in 2009. Israel, a major landlord of Los Angeles apartments and condos, paid $5.1 million for the bedraggled house and enlisted architect William Hefner to reimagine the premises. The house was subsequently leveled, taken all the way down to the studs and expanded in a multi-year process completed circa 2012.
Judge the residential results for yourself, but the estate is now undeniably far more stylish than ever, with extraordinarily high ceilings, walls of glass and blonde hardwood floors throughout. And in 2017, it made the cover of “Trousdale Estates: Midcentury to Modern in Beverly Hills,” a now out-of-print book by author Steven Price that detailed the neighborhood’s colorful history.