Palmer & Alison West splash out $15 million in Malibu

We got a couple rather rude emails last night criticizing Yolanda for being a Debbie Downer about the current state of the real estate market. So we wanted to set the record straight. Yolanda is not Debbie. For one thing, Yolanda’s got a donk that puta could only dream of. For another, we firmly believe there’s plenty of life left in the market. Although the uppermost echelons are currently experiencing a (temporary?) slowdown, significant activity still exists in the more rational low-8-figure pricetag arena. Happy now?

Witness this glammy oceanfront flip near the uppermost reaches of Malibu. The investment property was acquired by Chris Cortazzo in 2012 for $5,795,000. Mr. Cortazzo, in case you didn’t know, has long been the Malibu real estate agent. He sells assloads of hugely expensive homes all over the city, and he’s widely considered one of the country’s most successful realtors. Anyways, after a mild refresh, the snazzy shack just sold for a screeching $15,000,000.

The Harry Gesner-designed residence – he also designed the Getty Museum and lots of electrifying and outrageous swoopy houses in Malibu – is located on a particularly dazzling stretch of sand. It’s clearly not the Caribbean but it’s about the best Malibu’s got to offer. We can attest to that. Yes, it’s rather a long jaunt if you’re commuting from LA but the semi-remote location does mean it’s also blessedly far away from most of the hordes of tourists that bombard Malibu during summer.

So who are the bullish buyers who purchased the property through a mysterious LLC? Former movie producer and clothing company founder Palmer West and his wife Alison. D’oh.

Mr. West – no relation to Kanye, hopefully – produced several Hollywood films in the early-to-mid-aughts. Perhaps the best-known of his endeavors is Requiem for a Dream, which earned sublime actress Ellen Burstyn an Oscar nomination. Nowadays, Mr. West co-owns and operates a boutique line of “adventure based lifestyle clothing” (AKA, this shit costs a lot of money). Aether Apparel, as it’s christened, is a small but growing chain. They now have locations in San Francisco, New York, Aspen, and their flagship store here on Melrose. The LA Times did a spotlight feature on them a couple months ago, so you know they’re definitely legit and shit.

But we digress. We initially feared the Wests might tear this place down and build a hulking beachside mansion. After all, they are relatively young (mid-30s) and have a couple small kids (neither of which is directionally named). At their age, they might not know or care who Mr. Gesner is. This house contains just 2,450 square feet of living space with 3 bedrooms and 3.25 baths. And to be honest, while we think it’s still stunning, this house isn’t one of Mr. Gesner’s most visually dramatic masterpieces.

However, it seems our initial fears were misplaced. The Wests, Yolanda happens to know, have already moved into their new digs and seem to be enjoying it just fine. Plus, they also have a proven taste for historic/significant architecture (more on that a little later).


Though the house has a PCH address, it’s completely invisible from the highway at the bottom of a steep and winding gated driveway shared with a handful of other properties. After disembarking from your vehicle in the motor court (we don’t believe the house has a garage, but we could be wrong), you pass through a gate which unconventionally accesses a front courtyard area equipped with pleasingly private lounge seating. The front of the house sports floor-to-ceiling glass – a theme that continues through most of the house – and we think the peek-a-boo ocean view it provides is feng shui approved.

Dump those barstools; keep the dining table. And Lawd have mercy, we nearly thought that was Kendall Jenner in that pic on the left for a moment. Let’s vow to have some respect for the property and keep this house a Kardashian-free zone. Whaddya say, Wests?

The living room may not have any of the hip features of today like disappearing glass doors or a wet bar, but who needs that gizmo crap when you’ve got a view like that?

The master suite is sweet with a deck, indoor sitting alcove overlooking the water, and honey-hued wood flooring. The bathtub that’s practically on top of the bed invites sexy time. On the far side of the room, there’s also a glass-walled shower and a small closet housing a private crapper (not pictured).

There’s really no yard on this place. You’ve basically just got the motor court, small courtyard, rear deck, and sand. So there’s no pool and really no place to put one. But Mr. Cortazzo did add a fun hot tub. Those are always great places to let your hooha hang out and maybe even get a wee bit trashy.

That’s a spectacular view. Malibu certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of Moon Juice, but even we can’t say anything snarky about that beauty. Come on now.

Some of Mr. & Mrs. West’s nearest famous neighbors in Malibu include Michael Eisner and Ellen Pompeo. A little farther down the highway are some massive $50 million+ estates owned by uber-rich folks like Jim Jannard, Marcy Carsey, and Cindy Crawford & Rande Gerber.

Given how low-key and clean-lined their weekend “beach shack” is, you’d think Mr. & Mrs. West’s main residence in LA might be something groovy and simple, like a fab mid-century modern in Trousdale Estates. But no. Mr. & Mrs. West’s architectural taste in the city apparently runs much grander than that. Way back in 2009, they spilled out a staggering $10,000,000 (through another mysterious LLC) for a rather legendary property in the heart of Hancock Park.

The Ahmanson Estate, as it is known, is one of the largest (if not the largest) estates in Hancock Park. Measuring more than 14,000 old-school square feet of living space, the monstrous 1929 Tudor sits on 1.5 acres and contains 35 rooms, including 8 bedrooms and12 bathrooms and probably enough ghosts to fill each one of them and then a whole long waiting list after that.

The house has also become rather famous in the neighborhood (and outside it) for its extravagant Christmas light displays. Here’s how the Wests had it done up in 2013. We love these lights. Makes us happy we don’t have to pay the Wests’ electricity bills. Yowza!

Incidentally, Mr. and Mrs. West’s nearest neighbors in Hancock Park happen to be wackadoodle Tinseltown stalwarts Ozzy & Sharon Osbourne, who just last year coughed up $11,850,000 for a much smaller property next door they reportedly plan to renovate.

You might wonder how a former producer and his wife, neither of whom are yet 40, could possibly afford $25 million in luxury LA real estate. Yes, we wondered about that too. It confounded Yolanda to the point that we spent many sleepless nights pondering the conundrum. We joke. We’re not that crazy. Tee-hee.

But seriously, how do they do it? We finally called up our gurl Hannah who lives in Hancock Park and knows everyone’s bizness out there. “Plz, hunny,” Hannah squealed. “Don’tcha know his daddy is a billionaire?!”

Well, trusty ol’ Google reveals Hannah was not fibbing. Mr. West’s father, Alfred P. West Jr., at one point had a net worth of $1.1 billion, according to Forbes. We’re not sure how rich he is today – Forbes seems to have demoted him from the billionaires list – but we’d guess he’s still got plenty of dough, just based on his son’s spending habits. He continues to be President & CEO of SEI Investments, a position he has held since founding the Pennsylvania-based financial services firm nearly 50 years ago.

But we digress. The Wests also used to own a rather charming cottage up in Beverly Hills Post Office. They sold the property in 2010, a few months after upsizing to their massive estate in Hancock Park. The buyer of their BHPO cottage? Actress Amy Adams, who continues to own and reside in the property.

Now, before we go off on some hot and sexy (not) errand, let’s backtrack just a tad. What do you think Mr. Cortazzo did with his $15 million, hmmm? Go out and buy a new fleet of Range Rovers? A down payment on a new jet? No way. Mr. Cortazzo bought a new house. Actually, it’s more like an old house. An old house that’s almost certainly a teardown.

Want to know how much Mr. Cortazzo spent on this teardown shack, which was never on the market? Pop a Prozac, because property records reveal he paid $17,100,000. Whaaaaat? Yes. More than 17 million for that dump. Mr. Cortazzo is clearly a very rich man. Incidentally, the 1.27 acre bluff-top Point Dume property is located right across the street from the three-parcel compound that Mr. Cortazzo and his parents have long owned and occupied.


We like the message Mr. Cortazzo is giving us with this acquisition. What message, you ask? Wait, you though Mr. Cortazzo was just buying a house? Haha! Bitch, please. He’s really saying through this purchase that he’s confident Malibu property values are gonna go way, way up soon. Because as far as we know, this teardown is Malibu’s biggest sale of 2016 (so far). That’s a good sermon Mr. Cortazzo is preachin’. Keep that confidence coming. You put your money where your mouth is and we’re liking it. Do you, boy.

See how it works? Buy low and sell high, then buy higher and sell even higher than that. And on it goes. Until the sky falls in, of course. It’s a cycle! A circle. A ring. Oh, you like it? It’s from Tiffany’s. $100k. Yeah. Money. Ain’t it grand?

CategoriesPower Players

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