Though long considered the most prestigious guard-gated community in Southern California, the opulent Beverly Park seems lately to have declined in popularity among the ultra-wealthy jetset. Folks with cash to burn are routinely choosing other areas — Trousdale Estates, Bel Air, Holmby Hills — over the big BP.
For this, the most common reason cited is the very thing that makes Beverly Park so desirable to its loyal residents: the seclusion. Located high in the mountains above Beverly Hills, the remoteness of the neighborhood — while great for privacy and security — also makes access a tedious affair. The main entrance on Mulholland Drive is a good 10 minutes’ drive from anything, and that’s without traffic. And while the secondary entrance on Summitridge Drive will lead y’all to downtown Beverly Hills, that is also a 15 minute trek (without traffic).
Another big turnoff to today’s buyers is the style of homes in Beverly Park. Most palaces up there are turgid Tuscan behemoths or fat faux-French chateaus. Both styles, while exceedingly popular a decade ago, have fallen from grace in favor of sleek contemporaries or elegant Traditionals with contemporary interiors. Rich folks want clean lines and simplicity now, but the majority of Beverly Park beasts are frumpy, quite frankly.
However, just because the neighborhood is no longer as en vogue as it once was does not mean moneyed buyers have abandoned it altogether. Billionaire Tom Gores recently paid $38 million to buy his old house back, Kimora Lee Simmons busted out $25 million for a 6-acre estate, an Indonesian property developer spent $26.7 million the mega-mansion of another Indonesian, a wealthy Chinese couple spooned out $26.5 million for a turgid Tuscan, and Canadian construction heir Cody Leibel threw down just over $25 million for the former home of Reba McEntire, sold by businessman Yife Tien.
And then there’s this outrageously lavish property we shall discuss today, which just sold for $32,000,000. That’s a lot of moolah by anyone’s standards, but keep in mind that the 22,906-square-foot behemoth was originally asking $50 million nearly four years ago.
Yes, it took multiple price chops, a change of realtors, and four years to finally unload this puppy.
What’s more, records reveal the sellers — we don’t know exactly who they were, other than they were from the Ukraine — paid $27,400,000 for the house in April 2009, at the height of the economic recession. So that $32 million represents only a 16% increase in value after nearly a decade of ownership, and in a far hotter real estate market! Hmmm.
Anywho, we digress. The new owner is listed as an LLC that is easily linked to a dude named John Simonian. Our Mr. Simonian is of Armenian ancestry but was raised in Lebanon, and he is perhaps the most successful luxury wristwatch dealer and distributor in all of Los Angeles.
Westime, Mr. Simonian’s watch store chain, has locations on Rodeo Drive, Sunset Boulevard, and in La Jolla and Miami. And when we say watches, we ain’t referring to Fossil or Timex. These are watches that can cost more than luxury cars and small houses — Patek Philippe, Rolex, and Audemars Piguet.
In addition to whatever profits he hauls in through Westime, Mr. Simonian also makes money by serving as a major distributor to other luxury stores that sell these watches. So basically, if y’all are buying a fancy timepiece — especially here in LA — you are probably putting money into Mr. Simonian’s pocket. He thanks you for your purchase and for his new $32 million mega-mansion.
The palace was built back in 2008 on speculation by a local developer named Jeff Bazyler. Though the 1.92-acre lot is not particularly big for Beverly Park — the largest estates up here are 5+ acres — it is sizable enough to accommodate the nearly 23,000-square-foot pad. A gated driveway slopes up to a wooden bridge that crosses the moat.
Yes, y’all, if the mansard-roofed mammoth somehow didn’t pound home the fact that this place is a damn castle, the moat and the wooden bridge surely will.
Anyway, there is a six car garage and a motorcourt that seems rather too cramped for a house of these proportions. Carved wooden double doors swing open to the three-story palace’s interior.
For as garish as the exterior is, Yolanda was expecting a little more drama on the inside. Where are the gold-plated walls, the chinoiserie, the lavendar silk rugs? Adrienne Maloof’s old Beverly Park pad put this place to shame!
Well, at least there are enough coffered ceilings to fill a few cathedrals (do cathedrals even have coffered ceilings? We need to get our ass to church). And look, there’s a wood-paneled library with almost no bookshelves! But at least it looks cool, right? How very LA.! Cute.
The kitchen’s acres of neutral marble look blah to us, and we really dislike that massive overhang on the center island. At least the formal dining room is surprisingly intimate. And check out that 2,500-bottle brick wine cellar, which sits directly below the library. Guests upstairs are visible to folks in the cellar through a glass portal. Ladies (and gentlemen, for that matter) be sure to wear your knickers if you plan to stand on that glass.
The master suite is equipped with a private balcony, a laughably terrible four-poster bed that looks as though it was dreamed up by Marie Antoinette, and his-and-hers bathrooms and closets.
Her bathroom is light and bright, his is more moody with dark hardwood and black marble. Each has their own built-in soaking tub and glass shower.
There are a total of 10 bedrooms in the home, at least two of which are bigger than the master suite at most normal-sized mansions. Outside is a deep, shaded loggia with al fresco dining options.
As we say, his house was originally built on spec, so that could explain why there are a few wonky features here and there: the entire backyard is taken up by the full-size tennis court, leaving the gardens, lawn, and gigantic swimming pool to be located rather awkwardly off to the side of the residence.
For those of y’all who would prefer not to swim outside — you know how brutal those SoCal winters can get — fear not. The house comes fully loaded with an indoor swimming pool and spa, plus a sauna, steamroom, a gym, and a “treatment room”, whatever that is.
In addition to the folks we’ve already mentioned, some of Mr. Simonian’s new Beverly Park neighbors include Eddie Murphy, Denzel Washington, Sylvester Stallone, Sumner Redstone, Jami Gertz, Paul Reiser, Rod Stewart, Haim Saban, and several Saudi princes.
Our Mr. Simonian is clearly a fan of the Beverly Hills Post Office area — his new Beverly Park spread is at least his third mansion in the neighborhood. His current residence is a big ol’ Mediterranean located in a small gated enclave not far from Beverly Park.
Records show that Mr. Simonian bought his Bowmont Estates pad back in 2013 for $10,500,000 from the late media mogul Bud Paxson. Directly next door is a large mansion that has been owned since 2011 by a Saudi royal, was previously leased to Nicki Minaj, and is currently leased to Mariah Carey.
Before moving to Bowmont Estates, Mr. Simonian lived in the Oak Pass gated community, also located in the B.H.P.O. near Beverly Park. In 2013, he sold his house there to film producer Mike Medavoy, who flipped it just last year for nearly $10 million to Jessica Alba.
Listing agents: Aaron Kirman & Neyshia Go, Pacific Union
John Simonian’s agent: Jeff Hyland, Hilton & Hyland