Even if he’s not exactly a household name, most real estate aficionados know who Ron Burkle is. That’s because the billionaire Southern California native, who made his fortune through leveraged buyouts of supermarket chains like Stater Bros., Ralph’s and Fresh & Easy, is one of the biggest collectors of historic and architecturally idiosyncratic properties.
Burkle currently owns the wacky Bob Hope mansion in Palm Springs, originally designed by architect John Lautner. The 69-year-old also owns the sprawling Bob Hope estate in L.A.’s Toluca Lake neighborhood, which he bought in 2018 and saved from demolition. But that’s not all — he’s also got Michael Jackson’s infamous Neverland ranch, the wildly lavish Greenacres estate in prime Beverly Hills, a palatial clifftop estate in La Jolla, and additional homes in London and New York. Back in 2019, Burkle sold Frank Lloyd Wright’s famed Ennis House for $18 million to a married pair of cannabis entrepreneurs.
Today, Burkle is an official Montana resident; his primary residence sits on its own private island in Montana’s peaceful Flathead Lake. That 22,000-square-foot “castle” was built by real estate titan Don Abbey and was once offered for sale for as much as $78 million.
Every billionaire worth their salt also needs a beachfront vacation home in a sunny locale, and records indicate Burkle has now fulfilled that need, dropping $13.5 million on an oceanfront house within Malibu’s guard-gated Malibu Colony community. Nearly 100 years old, the residence was built towards the sunset of the Roaring Twenties, completed in 1928, and remains much the same classic home as it was way back in the day.