We know this sounds corny, but the posh Westside neighborhoods of Los Angeles are steamin’ hot right now, and we aren’t just referencing the weather. That real estate market — particularly the market for lavish new mansions built on speculation — is so toasty these days. Developers keep churning out more and more, and yet well-heeled consumers gobble them up so fast that occasionally fierce bidding wars break out. Yes, kids, bidding wars on houses costing upwards of $10 million. And discounts are mostly slim to unheard of. Imagine that!
Take the house of today, all shiny and new. Y’all can practically smell the fresh paint through your computer/iOS screen. Listed for $12,995,000 in March (2018), it sold in just one month for the full asking price. For all you beancounters, that’s nearly $2,000 per square foot — a lot of money, in other words.
The buyer, it seems, is a rather high-profile fella named Thomas “Tom” Barrack.
Now in his early 70s, Mr. Barrack stayed mostly out of general public notice for the first several decades of his career, though he was assuredly well-known in investment circles. Colony Capital (now known as Colony NorthStar), the private equity firm he founded back in 1990, was long considered one of the most successful companies of its kind.
Colony focuses mostly on large-scale real estate investments both here in the USA and abroad, and the myriad projects in which it has invested include properties in Europe and the Middle East and department stores, casinos, and hotels here in America. Speaking of the Middle East, Mr. Barrack has some very close connections to powerful folks in that part of the world — folks including Saudi royalty, U.A.E. government officials, and even the ruling family of Qatar.
Within the last couple years, however, Mr. Barrack has attracted widespread public attention for his close friendship and his reported role as an unofficial advisor to President Donald Trump. A couple months ago, he was apparently interviewed by the Robert Mueller team in regards to the ongoing investigation into possible Russian collusion during the 2016 election. No word on what the outcome of that interview was, however.
Positioned on a ridge directly overlooking rustic Mandeville Canyon, the house features a four-car garage facing the street — the rest of the property is shielded behind walls and thick hedges. Inside, the 7,800-square-foot mansion sports oatmeal-colored hardwood floors throughout and an open floorpan with lots of glass and dozens (hundreds?) of those little round LED ceiling lights. Numerous recreational amenities include a lounge space with a massive projection screen, a pool table, and a party-sized wet bar with bar-style seating.
The property sits on a generously-sized 1.25-acre lot, though the majority of that land is steep hillside and therefore unusable.
Dark wood trim on the walls and such provides added warmth to the somewhat austere color scheme. The “chef’s kitchen” — which has only the highest of high-end appliances, naturally — sits across from a dining area that opens to the backyard via an enormous disappearing wall of glass. While the yard isn’t quite as big as y’all might expect for $13 million — remember, much of the land here is unusable — there is still plenty of recreation space including a large deck a wee patch of lawn for doggies to do their business, and a rectangular infinity pool.
The long and narrow master suite is all about the views — from the bed, it appears as though y’all are airborne and hovering above the canyon. The adjacent bathroom has dual vanities and a unique indoor/outdoor situation. It’s also practically all glass — non-exhibitionists beware.
Elsewhere there are 6 additional beds and 10 more baths, many of them with their own snazzy, glassy vistas.
Speaking of views, the east-and-southward jetliner sightlines provide vistas of some of LA’s most iconic sights: the Century City and Downtown LA skylines, the Getty Center, the San Gabriel Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
Anyway, this is definitely not Mr. Barrack’s first big Westside real estate excursion. Back in 2014, he paid $24,500,000 for a much larger spec-built mega-mansion in Santa Monica (with an indoor basketball court!). At the time of his purchase, the sale price was the most ever paid for a house in that city. (However, it has since been majorly eclipsed).
Mr. Barrack sold his huge Santa Monica abode in early 2017 for somewhere in the $30 million range (records are a bit vague) to South African entrepreneur Kirk Lazarus, who is apparently now engaged in a full-scale remodel of the premises.
Oh, we almost forgot to mention that Mr. Barrack — or his Colony firm, rather — also owns the 3,000-acre Neverland Ranch near Santa Barbara. The supersized estate is most (in)famous, of course, as the former home of Michael Jackson.
Listing and selling agent: Santiago Arana, The Agency