Should you happen to spot a decked-out Mercedes-Benz Sprinter — naturally complete with a personal driver, snazzy lighting, six reclining seats, a TV, Internet, fridge, ice-maker and champagne area, sound system, bathroom and more — traversing the highways between L.A. and the O.C., you might want to glance over and see if it’s transporting successful real estate broker turned Netflix’s “Selling Sunset” star Jason Oppenheim of The Oppenheim Group. After all, that’s the way this go-big-or-go-home realtor prefers to travel between his Sunset Strip office and his all-new Newport Beach workplace that’s expected to make its official debut in late April … although he and his team there already have amassed $100 million in new listings — before even officially opening the doors!
And speaking of that new office, Oppenheim has pulled out all of the glitzy stops, and he’s not afraid to boast about it. “I don’t think there will be a cooler office in California,” he says. “I’m having fun with it. I’ve never thought about making money, but just doing things in a cool, new, fun extravagant way, and it’s always ended up kind of working out for me. It will be what I’ve always dreamed an office could be.” Situated in a brick building at 3140 E. Coast Highway, in prime Corona del Mar, the one-of-a-kind spot will sport 4,000 square feet of wide-open space hosting a full Italian kitchen, two gyms, and a vault (because the building once housed a bank, though it was more recently the Hobie Surf Shop.)
There’s also an enormous living room and bar, an on-site DJ, an area for books and boomboxes, a pool table, an indoor dining room and even a grassy outdoor dining area with barbecue. “It will be like my L.A. office, but on steroids,” he adds. “It’s almost three times as big.” And, although nothing is definitive yet, Oppenheim says he’s already discussing a new show about the Newport Beach team to add to the popular Netflix “Selling Sunset” franchise. Dirt had a chance to dive in a little deeper with this respected residential mover and shaker.
How did you first develop a passion for the real estate business? I think it’s been with me my whole life. My family has been in real estate for five generations, almost 120 years. My great-great-grandfather came to L.A. in the late 1800s and started doing real estate, my grandparents did real estate, and my parents and uncle. It’s always been in my blood.
How did The Oppenheim Group come about? I worked at Coldwell Banker many years, and I was a lawyer before that. I think my personality is more entrepreneurial. I always wanted to make decisions, and do my own thing and take risks. It was inevitable that I would go out on my own when I was comfortable … I started my office in a second bedroom in my house in 2014, and I had a great first year. I was expecting my productivity to go down when I left Coldwell Banker, but it didn’t. My productivity and income doubled that year, and I thought about going out and investing in an office space.
Where was your first office? I found my dream location on Sunset Boulevard. It was a retail space (the site of the original Café Trocadero) owned by the same man for about 100 years. I went into the office all the time and would talk to him, look at old photos, write him letters, and bring in my family and girlfriend to convince him I was right person to buy it. I offered more than asking, and after about six months, he gave me the spot. I built it out and had some friends join the team, and it grew and took on a life of its own.
What’s transpired since? Netflix happened and then the next thing in Newport Beach. I spent years thinking about a second office, but I didn’t know where I wanted to open it. I found myself coming to Newport, and I love it … it’s beautiful and clean, the water and boat life. The luxury real estate market here is going to have many good years ahead of it, and I thought this is a natural second office that’s not far enough away from L.A. that I can’t go down several times a week if I want to.
What are some of the standout houses in your inventory right now? We have two homes we’re planning to launch this week in O.C. for $18 million and $19 million, right next to each other at 1207 and 1215 Dolphin Terrace. They overlook the harbor, and they’re pretty spectacular. It’s a great start to what we’re building and creating down here. We also sold an amazing property in L.A. today for just under $10 million at 7000 Macapa. It’s one of the most amazing homes I’ve ever sold in my life … the architecture, view, set on a promontory and a world-famous architect.
How would you describe your dream property? I would say that Macapa property is a dream home of mine. I thought about buying it when I sold it six years ago and I thought about buying it right now, but it may be one of the ones that will always get away.
What’s hot right now when it comes to investing in a luxury property? Everything is doing very well right now, but if you can get land right now that’s a premium. Views are always important, but land has had a resurgence. People were focusing too much on the square footage of property, and they need to focus less on the size of the house and more on the location and land.
The most valuable amenity? I think location is No. 1 and land is No. 2, and high ceilings and indoor-outdoor livability is important, and as always, the kitchen has become the centerpiece of the house more than the formal living room these days.
Where do you live? The Bird Streets … the design and quality of construction in that area is second to none. Many of the homes offer amazing views, there’s such a great eclectic group of people and it’s accessible to everything … my office, great cafes and shopping. Nothing is more than 5 minutes away from the Hollywood Hills.