Last year, Nicolas Berggruen made news when he splashed out $63.1 million at auction for L.A.’s storied Hearst Estate — formerly known as the Beverly House, for its location on North Beverly Drive in prime Beverly Hills. Less than four months later, the Parisian-born billionaire investor/philanthropist paid another $12.3 million for the smaller house next door. Now he’s added yet another neighboring property to his packed real estate portfolio; combined, the three separate but contiguous parcels cost him $90.2 million and create a 5.5-acre compound.
Property records show the founder and chairman of the Berggruen Institute — a think-tank geared toward developing ideas and shaping political, economic and social institutions for the 21st century — doled out an additional $14.8 million in an off-market deal for his latest acquisition, which last sold in 2014 for $8.9 million. The first two properties he purchased were owned by Leonard Ross, and sold as part of the attorney, financier and real estate investor’s ongoing bankruptcy proceedings, while this third property belonged to 102-year-old British billionaire Jacques Gaston “Tony” Murray, who still maintains another adjacent property.
Built way back in 1926, Berggruen’s latest acquisition features seven bedrooms and 6.5 baths in 7,000 square feet of single-level living space. Nestled on just over an acre of land, and mostly hidden away from the street behind mature trees and a hedge-covered gate, the sprawling white stucco and terracotta-roof structure is fronted by a wide driveway and spacious motorcourt.
Because the home was never on the market, there are no updated photos. But older images from a previous listing show decoratively dated interiors that were originally crafted by the late legendary Hollywood interior designer William “Billy” Haines; reportedly commissioned in 1960 by then-owner Rita Roedling, stepdaughter of filmmaker and Haines client Mervyn LeRoy, all of the furnishings were later sold at auction. At the time of the listing, the home was being marketed as a “restoration or development lot for a dream home.”
A circa-2014 floorplan displays the front door opening to an entry foyer that leads to a kitchen, butler’s pantry and breakfast room. From there, a fireside living room is flanked on one side by a master suite outfitted with a separate sitting room and bath, and a formal dining room and library on the other — with all of the rooms boasting walls of glass and French doors spilling out to an expansive terrace. Other highlights include two additional kitchens, a recreation room, courtyard and grassy backyard holding a large freeform pool.
Besides his Beverly Hills compound, Berggruen also owns the legendary Edie Goetz estate in Holmby Hills and the 2.2-acre property next door. But his primary residence remains West Hollywood’s iconic Sierra Towers building, where he’s spent more than $20 million buying up at least seven different condo units; he additionally owns a 1920s Spanish Revival-style mansion atop the Sunset Strip, which houses the current president of the Berggruen institute.