We know everyone loves reading about Beverly Park. Anytime we write about it we get loads of clicks — clicks up the wazoo, in fact. So a post about the biggest and baddest Beverly Park estate of them all should be a fun diversion from our normal routine, right?
For those of you unfamiliar with the big B.P., let Yolanda give a brief overview. The 250-acre gated community began development in the 1980s and sits way high up in the mountains above Beverly Hills, in an area known as the Beverly Hills Post Office. All B.H.P.O. homes have the coveted 90210 zip code but are technically located in the city of Los Angeles, which means they must make do with city of LA services and utilities.
Though there are hundreds of gated communities across Southern California, Beverly Park is almost certainly the most exclusive and expensive. The price of admission begins at $15 million or so for the smaller houses and ascends rapidly from there.
In the years since its formation, the area has become notorious for a few unique features. The first (and the most obvious) is the exceptional size of the homes. According to Yolanda’s count, there are 72 separate estates behind the gates of Beverly Park, three of which are currently little more than vacant land. Although the smallest home is approximately 8,000-square-feet, the average square footage of houses in the community is about 15k, Yolanda would guess. Damn — those are some big ass mansions!
The community is also known for its many famous residents. Hollywood celebrities such as Denzel Washington, Eddie Murphy, Sylvester Stallone, Kimora Lee Simmons, Rod Stewart, Samuel L. Jackson, Magic Johnson, Vanna White, Jami Gertz, Paul Reiser, Dr. Simon Ourian, and Mark Wahlberg are all homeowners there.
Beyond the celebs, the area is also rich in high-profile owners of a different strain — royalty. Saudi royalty, to be precise. According to Yolanda’s count, there are at least a half-dozen estates in the enclave that are owned by various Saudi princes and princesses.
Lastly, in addition to the celebs and royals, the area is also known for being quite popular with foreign businesspeople, many of them low-profile billionaires. And indeed, Beverly Park is exceptionally diverse, even for LA — there are fabulously rich residents there from Indonesia, Mexico, China, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Israel, Lebanon, Dubai, Pakistan, and even little-known countries like Kazakhstan and Africa’s Côte d’Ivoire.
Due to the exceptionally wealthy nature of its residents, Beverly Park has become something of a residential Fort Knox. For starters, there are three separate 24/7 guard-gated entrances. Then there are 24/7 community security patrols that monitor the whisper-quiet streets. And many of the billionaire homeowners hire their own (armed) private security to patrol. Not to mention that each estate is behind its own electronic gate, and the enclave is equipped with hundreds of security cameras.
To put it simply — no matter where y’all are in the 250-acre community, there are probably at least a couple pairs of eyes watching and analyzing your every move.
But we digress. Y’all might be surprised to learn that the largest and most lavish estate in Beverly Park — recently made available off-market with a $165 million pricetag — is not owned by a Hollywood celebrity, a royal family member, or even a foreign bajillionaire. Rather, the owners are just a regular ol’ American businessman named Steven Udvar-Hazy and his longtime wife Christine.
Of course, “regular” is a relative term whenever we are discussing Beverly Park. This particular businessman happens to have a net worth of $3.9 billion (according to Forbes).
Mr. Udvar-Hazy, now in his 70s, was born in Hungary but emigrated to the USA with his family as a young boy. Though poor, he showed interest in aviation at a young age. Upon his graduation from college, he essentially created the aircraft leasing business. With his partners, he co-founded International Lease Finance Corp. — the world’s largest aircraft lessor by value — which was sold to insurance giant AIG in 1990 for $1.3 billion. After the big sale, entrepreneurial Mr. Udvar-Hazy founded another large aircraft lessor — Air Lease Corporation. Air Lease has since gone public.
With wifey Christine, to whom he has been married for several decades, Mr. Udvar-Hazy has four adult children — two sons and two daughters. The couple are major philanthropists. Perhaps their largest donation to date was the $65 million they gave to the Smithsonian — that cash created the massive Udvar-Hazy Center.
For anyone who might be curious, the Udvar-Hazy family are Mormons. In fact, Yolanda believes that they may be the wealthiest LDS (Latter Day Saints) family in the whole wide world.
Anywho. In late 1993 — about three years after his giant AIG windfall — the Hazys coughed up several million dollars for about 12.5 acres of vacant land in North Beverly Park. They then spent five or six years (and according to records, tens of millions more) to construct a gigantic estate compound.
Designed by William Hablinski — a prominent LA architect responsible for several of Beverly Park’s largest mansions — Villa Firenze (as the estate is known) is meant to evoke a 16th or 17th century Italian village. And regardless of whether you believe the architecture accomplishes that goal, the compound is certainly large enough to qualify as its own village.
Per property records, the main house weighs in at a colossal 28,660-square-feet of living space. Then there is a detached garage, a two-story guest house of nearly 3,000-square-feet, and three additional guest houses/cabanas surrounding the pool. Yolanda would guess that the total living space on the property comes close to 35,000-square-feet.
The three-parcel compound has three different addresses and is accessed from its own private street. A suitably large front gate allows entry to the palatial motorcourt. Naturally there are mature canary palms and formal gardens.
Though the house was undeniably designed to impress — the twin staircases access separate wings of the hotel-sized residence — there are some cute homely touches, like the potted plants and the framed family photos on the entryway table.
Elsewhere on the grounds are a full-size tennis court, an additional sports court, and parking for dozens of vehicles. A paved walking/running trail rings around the entire estate.
For reasons unknown to Yolanda, the Udvar-Hazys have quietly been acquiring additional property in the surrounding B.H.P.O. for several years now. Way back in 2000, they paid $2,000,000 for a lot accessed off Mulholland Drive that happens to overlook the entirety of Beverly Park. They razed the site and are completing a contemporary-style compound with an infinity pool.
Just last year (2017), the family coughed up another $2,000,000 for the modest ranch house next door.
In 2004, the Udvar-Hazys paid about $1.5 million for a house on another Mulholland Drive ridge overlooking Beverly Park. This property is notably for previously being home to Marlon Brando and for being the site of a 1990 murder. Our Mr. and Mrs. Udvar-Hazy quickly demolished the former house on the site and custom-built the 7,000-square-foot Mediterranean-style mansion above.
When they are not in Beverly Park, one can often find the Udvar-Hazys sunning themselves at their Orange County (CA) vacation home. Located in the ritzy Ritz Cove guard-gated community in Dana Point — just south of Laguna Beach — their custom-designed blufftop mansion overlooks the sea. Property records show that the Mediterranean-style spread sprawls across three prime lots and weighs in at nearly 15,000-square-feet of living space. It is easily the largest home in the Ritz Cove community.
This ain’t your typical beach shack.
Now let us discuss Villa Firenze‘s $165 million asking price. No doubt, that is a huge number. And while we expect this estate to set a new neighborhood record once it is eventually sold, keep in mind that nothing in Beverly Park has ever transferred for more than $40 million. That is less than one-quarter of what Mr. & Mrs. Udvar-Hazy want, y’all. Talk about an enormous discrepancy.
But speaking of the Udvar-Hazys: they are very, very rich. And somehow we suspect that they are also the type of people who do not discount their shit. If you want this house, y’all will have to meet them near their asking price. Either they get their nine figures or they are not gonna move.
Yolanda has not the faintest idea about who is shopping in the 90210-adjacent area for a $100+ million mega-estate. But whoever they are, they certainly have plenty of choices. In addition to Villa Firenze, there is Petra Ecclestone’s The Manor, which has been sagging on the market for months now with a $200 million pricetag. Then there is that Bel Air spec-build known rather pretentiously as Billionaire, recently reduced to $188 million and still majorly overpriced.
Then there are a whole sea of off-market (but very available) properties: Bel Air’s Chartwell estate, Jeff Greene’s infamous Palazzo di Amore, and Owlwood in Holmby Hills.
What Villa Firenze has that those other estates do not is a gated community and an arguably more prestigious address. After all, Bel Air and Beverly Hills contain a bunch of sub-neighborhoods, some with small and (relatively) affordable homes. But for better or worse, there is only one Beverly Park.
Listing agents: Rick Hilton & Jeff Hyland, Hilton & Hyland