The Los Angeles mayoral election is still more than seven months away, but the candidate field is already loaded with colorful characters. On the ballot are billionaire shopping mall developer Rick Caruso, longtime state representative Karen Bass, former police officer Joe Buscaino and former state senator candidate Kevin De Leon, all of whom recently participated in a feisty debate that highlighted voter concerns over hot button issues like the city’s fast-increasing crime and homelessness.
One of the lesser known candidates who’s also tossed his hat into the proverbial ring is Ramit Varma, an Encino businessman who co-founded online tutoring school Revolution Prep. Headquartered in Santa Monica since its 2002 beginnings, Revolution Prep was at one point named the fastest-growing education company in Los Angeles, and is recognized for its extensive array of test prep courses — particularly for the SAT, ACT and PSAT tests.
Last year, Revolution Prep was sold to private equity firm Apax Digital for an undisclosed sum. That’s given Varma the time and financial firepower to fund his mayoral ambitions, as he’s already pledged $1 million from his own pockets toward the campaign. And while the 45-year-old still has a long road ahead before successfully reaching elected office, Varma and his wife Delphine have wasted no time in acquiring some suitably mayoral digs. In Encino, the couple has just upgraded from their current $3 million home to a notably more lavish mansion in the same neighborhood, which they’ve bought for about $11 million. It’s the priciest Encino home sale so far this year, records indicate.
The new Varma estate is so new that the place is still under construction, and was marketed unfinished, with renderings showing how the completed product could appear. Built on speculation by Evan Gaskin, a prominent L.A. developer who has previously popped up on the Bravo TV show “Million Dollar Listing: Los Angeles” — and who also built the lavish Encino estate of Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton — the place is walled and gated, and lies on a flat parcel spanning nearly a full acre. With 10,000 square feet of living space, the main house packs in six bedrooms, and there’s also a 1,200-square-foot guesthouse/pool house out back with additional accommodations.
Particularly nifty amenities include a combo game room/screening room, per the listing, and a 2,000-square-foot owner’s suite with a marble-clad bathroom and showroom closets. An open floorplan includes a glass “wine closet,” a chef’s kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances and disappearing walls of glass that spill out to generously-scaled loggias. The vast backyard will offer an oversized swimming pool, and there’s also plenty of room for both a sports court and big grassy lawn.
And because the house is not yet completed, renderings only show the developer’s vision. It’s entirely possible, of course, that Varma will opt to make interior customizations and decorative choices that reflect his own sense of style and architectural leanings.