No other LA neighborhood is better-known for its concentration of billionaire homeowners than Malibu’s Carbon Beach — so much so that this strip of land between the PCH and the ocean is often simply (and perhaps unimaginatively) called “Billionaires’ Beach“.
Thus, when a property on the Carbon sand recently sold for $18,700,000 (in cash), we were naturally curious about the identity of the beach’s newest billionaire homeowner. But before we get into all that, here’s a stubby background on the house itself.
Last sold back in 1993 for just $2,825,000, the two-story modern was built in 1956 and long owned by Hal Alden, the late pioneering textile importer. Shortly after his 2017 death, his heirs hoisted the .23-acre spread onto the market with an aggressive $24.5 million ask. About six months later, it finally transferred for the discounted $18.7 million.
Nearly $19 million is still a great deal of money, of course, but it’s relative peanuts compared to what other Carbon Beach homes have fetched in recent years. Lest we forget, there was an $85 million sale just a few doors away and a record-shattering $110 million deal just last year.
But we digress. It took Yolanda several months before we discovered the buyer’s identity, but it turns out he’s a very well-to-do fella named Robert F. Smith.
According to both Forbes and Bloomberg, Mr. Smith — an engineer by trade and entirely self-made — is the wealthiest black billionaire in America. His estimated fortune of $5 billion is roughly double Oprah’s net worth, in case anyone is keeping tabs.
Along with fellow real estate baller Brian Sheth, Mr. Smith is one of two head honchos at Vista Equity Partners, the Texas-based private equity firm that primarily invests in software and tech startups. Vista owns over 50 software companies and employs approximately 65,000 worldwide.
56-year-old Mr. Smith and his second wife Hope Smith (née Dworaczyk), a former Playboy model, have two children (he’s also got three more from his first marriage). The couple are big time philanthropists who recently gave $50 million to Cornell University (his alma mater), $40 million to the United Negro College Fund, $20 million to the Smithsonian and $27 million to breast cancer research. In 2016 alone, Mr. Smith’s Fund II Foundation donated some $160 million.
Our Mr. Smith is also the current Chairman of Carnegie Hall and a major political donor who has given generously to both Republican and Democratic causes and candidates, records show.
But anyway, it isn’t such a surprise that the Smiths would be looking to buy on Carbon Beach. For the last few years, as Yolanda has previously discussed, the couple have resided (part-time) in a blufftop Malibu mansion without direct ocean access. It’s only natural that a billionaire couple would also desire an oceanfront beach “shack” to complement their holdings.
The 4,036-square-foot wood-sided structure features a wee gated motorcourt and garage space for two luxury vehicles. A generous 60 feet of sandy frontage allow space for a lengthy patio. Those billion-dollar views take in the aquamarine Pacific and stretch all the way down to the Palos Verdes peninsula and Catalina island.
As is typical for a luxury beach house, the interiors are outfitted with a soft, neutral sort of decor. The open-concept floorplan means most of the lower level is one giant room — there’s a living area, a dining space, and a family/lounge area with adjacent wet bar.
Also on the main floor is a large gourmet kitchen with granite countertops and bar-style seating plus three ensuite bedrooms for family or guests.
The entire second floor is dedicated to the sumptuous master suite, with its stunning walls of glass in the bedroom, a separate sitting area (could be converted into a gym) and a lavish master bath with built-in soaking tub and glassy shower.
Some of the Smiths’ new billionaire neighbors include Larry Ellison — he owns a dozen homes along this same strip of sand — Dodgers owner Mark Walter, Michael Milken, Haim Saban, Les Moonves, Jamie McCourt, and Michael & Iris Smith — who recently paid the $110 million for their Carbon Beach home. (The other Smiths’ new pad is currently gutted and under major construction, but we digress).
Astute real estate watchers may recall that this is not the first time we have discussed Mr. & Mrs. Smith on this here website. Back in 2015, they paid former Real Housewives star Yolanda Hadid a whopping $19,495,000 for her huge, custom-built Malibu mansion.
The clifftop compound and its massive infinity pool happen to directly overlook Carbon Beach. And yes, it also peers down on their new $18.7 million shack.
As astute real estate watchers may recall, the former Yolanda Hadid property featured a custom walk-in refrigerator that apparently became world-famous (or at least famous among reality TV viewers) for its multitude of appearances on Real Housewives. Heck, the fridge even has its own Instagram account.
Our Mrs. Smith also clearly enjoys her new refrigerator and posts the occasional photo of it on her own Instagram account. But as usual, we digress.
Why do the Smiths need two Malibu homes, each of which cost nearly $20 million? Well, they’re billionaires. And their primary residence — the one they bought from Ms. Hadid — is nice, but it doesn’t have direct ocean access. With the new property, they can step out the back door and onto the sand. Or use it to house guests. Or rent it out. Or… y’all get the picture. The possibilities are many.
And like all proper billionaires, the Smiths have luxury real estate in many different zip codes. Their primary residence is in Austin, Texas, where Mr. Smith’s Vista Equity has long been based.
Last year, the couple made huge real estate waves when they paid more than $59 million for a triplex penthouse in New York City’s Getty building.
Designed by the acclaimed Peter Marino, the glassy Getty features twelve floors of luxury living — and the penthouse reportedly includes all three of the uppermost floors. The Smiths’ record-shattering purchase was reportedly the most ever paid for a residence in downtown Manhattan.
Listing & Selling agent: Chris Cortazzo, Coldwell Banker