Although it’s been whispered about since late last year, two separate sources say that a widely rumored and record-breaking Hollywood Hills real estate transaction will officially close today. Two side-by-side, shockingly expensive new homes on Robin Drive in the Bird Streets neighborhood — one of them last listed at $52 million, the other at $42.5 million — are being sold together, in a single eye-popping deal, to the same billionaire buyer.
Since the grant deeds have not yet recorded, the purchaser’s identity and how much he or she is paying remains an official mystery; unofficially, however, both sources confirm the crazy rich buyer is foreign and hails from Asia. And one source swears said foreign new owner in question is billionaire Taiwanese electronics tycoon Terry Gou, or someone in his immediate family, and that the Gous are getting a big discount on both properties — to the tune of spending “only” a total in the $70-75 million range.
Gou, Taiwan’s richest man and a high-profile international businessman, remains founder and chairman of Foxconn, one of the world’s largest employers with a workforce now numbering more than 800,000. Foxconn is primarily engaged in the manufacture of consumer electronics, notably the iPhone and iPad, of which they are the world’s largest producers. Gou’s status and wealth — he’s worth $7.6 billion, per Forbes — prompted his recent Trump-esque campaign for the Taiwan presidency.
Should Gou indeed be the new Bird Streets property whale, it’s worth noting that his family is not new to Los Angeles. In fact, his eldest son — 44-year-old film producer Jeffrey Gou — is based in L.A. and has long owned a condo not terribly far from where his Cherry Sky Films production company offices are located. And Gou’s niece — the also L.A.-based Kindred Spirit film production company founder Anita Gou — recently purchased a luxury residence in Santa Monica.
Even at a majorly discounted $70 million, the two-mansion deal would utterly obliterate the previous record transaction in the Hollywood Hills: a high-water mark notched way back in late 2012, when Malaysian fugitive Jho Low paid a shocking $39 million for a renovated home elsewhere in the Bird Streets.
Both Robin Drive mansions were recently built on speculation by two different developers, and designed by two different architecture firms. The pricier estate — the one last listed at $52 million — was commissioned by Canadian businessman Francesco Aquilini, owner of the Vancouver Canucks professional hockey team, and completed in 2018.
Spanning 16,000 square feet with 6 beds and 10 baths, the T-shaped contemporary structure is situated at the very end of a cul-de-sac, behind gates and palm trees, and is visually separated from the street out front by a towering basalt rotunda. There are bespoke amenities everywhere, including Bardiglio marble inside and out, a two-story “water wall” by the home’s front door, and a titanic living room completely encased in glass that blurs the line between indoor and outdoor living.
The upstairs master suite is visually suspended over a tropical-influenced rooftop garden and deck, and the subterranean lower level boasts a host of recreational features: a cigar room, a full wet bar, golf simulator, home theater and an auto gallery. Naturally, there are also staff quarters, a second kitchen and a full wellness center.
But the estate’s most impressive feature is its boomerang-shaped infinity pool, daringly cantilevered over the nearly sheer hillside below. The enormous and obviously high-maintenance watery achievement boasts a sunken island seating area — a circular conversation pit, if you will.
The Ferrari-driving Aquilini has been living in this house for the past months, though he’ll obviously need to locate new residential circumstances shortly.
As for the house next door, it was built on speculation by Iranian-born tech executive/real estate investor Farzin Aghaipour and designed by internationally acclaimed XTEN Architecture. Completed in 2019, the boxy contemporary has 17,000 square feet of living space with 6 beds and 8 baths and was built on “no budget,” per the listing.
A peek at the home’s nearly countless bespoke amenities appears to confirm the limitless budget boast. There are designer-done kitchens, marble-slathered bathrooms done up by Boffi, and wet bars and wine cellars by Armani/Casa. Marble floors flow throughout the giant home, as do “stones that were curated around the globe,” also per the listing. And there are walls of glasses everywhere, providing magnificent head-on views of the Downtown L.A. skyline — what all Hollywood real estate dreams are made of, of course.
It remains to be seen if this record-breaking transaction is indicative of a shift in the Hollywood Hills market, or if it’s just one entertaining anomaly. Bird Streets home sales have been in the doldrums for the past few years, and this shocker could well be the jolt of energy the neighborhood needs. But if nothing else, it’s yet another example of the ever-widening financial chasm between the merely well-to-do and the otherworldly rich.
Branden and Rayni Williams of Hilton & Hyland held the listing on Aquilini’s house and also jointly held the listing on Aghaipour’s house with Kurt Rappaport of Westside Estate Agency. Kurt Rappaport represented the buyer of both properties.