John Thain asks $11 million on the Santa Monica sand

Astute real estate watchers may recall that former Merrill Lynch CEO and Wall Street titan John Thain recently paid $13 million for a historic hacienda on Brentwood’s most prestigious street. So it’s not wholly surprising that his other LA pad has just popped up for sale with a $10,950,000 pricetag.

Located in pricey Santa Monica, the house is situated on a sublime stretch of beachfront. In fact, it’s one of only three dozen (or so) Santa Monica homes that sit right on the sand, with the ocean waves and volleyball nets just beyond the back door.

Mr. & Mrs. Thain (photo: Hauteliving.com)

Records show that Mr. Thain and his longtime wife Carmen picked up the property in April 2015, paying $6,875,000. At the time of their purchase, the 1999-built three-story house was a rather blah, vaguely Mediterranean sorta beige thing. But Mr. Thain — a guy who clearly enjoys the finer things in life — spent two whole years (and a whole boatload of money) giving the place a contemporary makeover. Only the finest materials and finishes were used. Naturally.

The 4,443-square-foot home includes a three-car attached garage plus off-street parking for another six vehicles, per the listing. The blocky house — described as a “Modern Traditional” in listing materials — is now painted a milky white offset by steel-blue trim.

Inside, the formerly tacky decor — think garish colors, ’90s-era granite countertops, orangish hardwood floors — have been completely overhauled. Everything is clean-lined, luxurious and elegant.

The main floor’s got formal dining and living rooms with a double-sided fireplace bisecting them. Adjacent to the living room is a “cook’s” kitchen with high-end appliances and ocean views.

Recretional amenities include a games/lounge/family room with pool table and a media room with fabric walls for sound absorption.

There are four bedrooms in the residence, all of them en-suite. The third-floor master includes a bedroom with fireplace, bathroom with soaking tub, and dual walk-in closets. And most importantly, there’s a private balcony overlooking the sand and sea.

Check out the new rooftop deck with its built-in fireplace. Views take in the coastline from tourist-packed Santa Monica Pier all the way up to Malibu’s Point Dume peninsula.

One of the most well-known bankers in America, Mr. Thain has served as CEO of everything from Merrill Lynch to CIT Group and even the New York Stock Exchange. Prior to those roles, he was COO of Goldman Sachs during the turn of the millennium. Now in his 60s, Mr. Thain serves as a director at Uber and as a member of the supervisory board at Deutsche Bank.

Despite his success, Mr. Thain has also attracted criticism over the years — particularly during the last economic recession — for his profligate spending.  Shortly after he resigned as Merrill Lynch’s CEO, someone leaked documents to the press showing that Mr. Thain had paid a staggering $1.2 million of the company’s money to redecorate his executive office. ($800,000 of that amount was a retainer fee to Michael S. Smith, a man most famous as the Obamas’ White House interior designer.)

To his credit, Mr. Thain offered to reimburse Merrill Lynch in full from his own pocketbook. But the damage was already done — and Mr. Thain soon became a symbol of corporate American greed.

Anyway, Mr. Thain has a long-documented affinity for luxury living. In addition to the pricey Santa Monica palace and his new Brentwood casa, he’s also got a massive estate in the suburban New York town of Rye. The compound — which includes a mega-mansion main house with interiors by Michael S. Smith — spans five different parcels on 10+ acres of land.

The Thain estate, New York

Naturally the Thains also maintain an “in-town” Manhattan pied-a-terre. Their triplex penthouse is located at 740 Park Avenue, the venerable Upper East Side pre-war building long considered to be one of the — if not the — premiere residential address in all of NYC. And the Thains’ triplex can now be yours! Their Michael S. Smith-decorated 740 Park spread has been for sale since last April (2018) with an unchanged $39.5 million asking price.

Keep in mind that 740 Park Avenue is a co-op known for its highly selective board. Not only are all potential buyers fully vetted, board rules forbid buyers from financing their purchases. No mortgages allowed, kids. And prospective purchasers must also show proof of at least $100 million in liquid net worth. Better start saving those pennies.

Listing agent: David Offer, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

    1. Sandy Santa Monica says:

      I’m a condo dweller, but if it means never having to hear the Annenberg Beach House in full revelry, it’s worth 30m! I must pass this place when I hit the dusty trail down to Perry’s Cafe. I’ll e on the lookout.

  1. Sandy Santa Monica says:

    This place is closer to the pier than I thought. Meh. Honestly, if you have Thain money why wouldn’t you buy the legendary Cary Grant compound at 1038 Palisades Beach Road? It’s practically next door. Just sold a few months ago for a steal (dropped from 12m to 8m). Everyone from Howard Hughes to Grace Kelly shacked up there and it’s interior is retro-perfecto! Tried to get my money-bags ex husband to buy it for me on a payment plan. He passed. Philistine didn’t like the parking lots. 😂 It tortures me from Ocean Front walk every day. LOVE it.

    1. Sandy Santa Monica says:

      In creepier news, 1038 is also where Polanski and Sharon Tate lived while he wrote Rosemary’s Baby, though I prefer to think of Irving Berlin pounding out ditties while he lived there. Sorry. I’ll be pithy from now on. Promise. I’m the Werewolf of Hollywoodphiles and golden era landmarks are my full moon.

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