Way back in 2013, ultra-wealthy dancing philanthropist Glorya Kaufman — she’s the widow of KB Home co-founder Donald Kaufman — heaved her mammoth compound in the upper reaches of Brentwood’s Mandeville Canyon onto the market with a $40 million pricetag. Amber Hills, as it is known, features a main house originally built in the 1940s by venerated architect Paul Williams and once occupied by film stars Dick Powell and June Allyson.
In the 80s, the house (and the whole estate, actually) was prominently featured on the campy detective TV series Hart to Hart as the residence of stars Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers. Our Mrs. Kaufman had owned and resided on the property since the 1960s but eventually downsized to an $18.2 million home in Beverly Hills.
Despite the celebrity pedigree and the vast expanse of land (48 acres in LA!) the fortified estate did not sell for over a year. And it took a public auction for the property to eventually transfer for just over $16 million, which seems like a good deal considering everything the buyer got. Heck, this spread has its own private lake!
Anyway, the buyer then (in 2014) was a corporate entity mask for former East Coast financier David Ganek. Our Mr. Ganek co-founded Level Global Holdings, a now-shuttered hedge fund that was (in)famously raided by federal investigators back in 2010. Though he later sued the government for allegedly fabricating evidence leading up to that raid, Mr. Ganek’s suit was not successful. As far as Yolanda knows, he no longer manages money other than his own substantial assets.
On the personal front, Mr. Ganek remains hitched to his longtime lady Danielle. The couple have three adult children.
While we have no idea what the Ganeks’ original intentions were for the property — maybe they bought it as a vacation estate, or maybe they intended to flip it all along — it looks as though they are not inclined to stay at Amber Hills, because the estate has just become available again with a $31.5 million ask, nearly double what they paid less than four years ago.
Back in 2014 — when it last sold — we heard that the main house “needed work” and that the estate overall could use a sprucing-up. Perhaps that was the reason for the heavily discounted last sale price, perhaps not. Either way, current photos show that Mr. Ganek has done little to alter the compound’s grounds, and there are zero photos of the main home’s interior — which suggests that the indoors might not be in top-notch shape.
The gated driveway leads to an epic long private roadway which winds past mature oaks and bloomin’ bougainvillea bushes. A quaint bridge leads over the estate’s lily pond-filled lake, and a few more turns bring you to the main residence.
The sprawling wood- and stone-sided main house weighs in at approximately 12,000-square-feet of living space. To Yolanda’s eyes it is not exactly gorgeous, although we can certainly appreciate the history and sylvan setting. The house overlooks the lakes and the rolling hills beyond. As y’all might expect, the property is a haven for wildlife — deer, foxes, coyotes and the like.
Elsewhere on the estate are a large two-story guesthouse, staff quarters, and a maintenance building. It should be noted that there is no swimming pool on the grounds, but there is a full-size tennis court with adjacent pavilion.
Mr. and Mrs. Ganek preside over a substantial property portfolio that includes an 8,500-square-foot mansion in the winter resort town of Aspen, Colorado, a large estate in the Hamptons that they have owned since 2002, and a deluxe $28 million penthouse in the Puck Building in NYC’s SoHo area. The couple also formerly owned an art-filled apartment in 740 Park Avenue — long considered one of New York’s best residential buildings. After initially listing their 740 Park pad with a wild $44 million asking price, the unit was finally sold in 2017 for just over $25 million to Brazilian banking heir Jacob M. Safra.
Back to the Mandeville spread — Yolanda wonders how many folks in LA (besides developers!) are looking for 48 acres of high-maintenance trophy estate. While gorgeous, the compound seems almost like overkill, right? You’d have to have a full team of domestic employees on hand just to make sure things stayed pristine. And $31.5 million is a lot of money by almost any standards.
Then again, it’s 48 acres in LA…
Listing agent: Kurt Rappaport, Westside Estate Agency