Bestselling horror novelist Dean Koontz and his longtime wife Gerda Ann are in the mood to mix up their Orange County, Calif. real estate portfolio. Just days before they paid $10.5 million for a home in Irvine’s scenic Shady Canyon gated community, the Wall Street Journal reported — and property records confirm — the couple very quietly sold their custom mansion in the uber-affluent Newport Coast neighborhood for exactly $50 million.
Because the house was designed by the Koontzes and never offered on the open market, many of its specifications remain a mystery. But tax documents show the palatial compound was completed in the early 2000s, sits on an unusually spacious 2.5-acre lot in the hills above Newport Beach, and has nearly 30,000 square feet of rambling living space. Aerial imagery additionally reveals the architecturally vague megamansion sports two separate driveways, a massive rooftop parking lot for guests and staff, and what appears to be a partially subterranean garage for a dozen or more automobiles.
Besides the house, which was apparently built on a limitless budget, the entire maze-like property is expensively landscaped with formal gardens, mature trees and sculpted privacy hedges. There are not one but two infinity-edged swimming pools, both of them presumably with gasp-worthy views over the Pacific Ocean and surrounding hills.
The new owner is Glenn Stearns, a Jackson Hole, Wyoming-based businessman who starred in the Discovery Channel reality TV series “Undercover Billionaire.” That show led Forbes, always the fact-checking wet blanket, to later point out that Stearns is not actually a billionaire. (But with an estimated net worth of $500 million and a $50 million Newport mansion, he’s hardly slumming it.)
As noted by the Orange County Register, the $50 million sum represents the most ever paid for a home in Newport Coast. And it’s also, depending on how one looks at it, either the biggest or second-biggest O.C. residential deal ever inked. Back in 2018, Arizona-based billionaire Larry Van Tuyl paid $55 million for a Corona Del Mar compound, but that sale included two technically separate, though adjacent, properties. By contrast, the Koontz-Stearns deal was for a single parcel of land.
And Stearns can bask in knowing his new home is easily the largest estate in Newport Coast’s exclusive Pelican Hill guard-gated community, where some of the other homeowners include financial heavy-hitters like supercar enthusiast Manny Khoshbin, tech multibillionaire Henry Nicholas, video game designer Brian Fargo and Canadian furniture tycoon Bill Comrie.
The Koontzes, meanwhile, have decamped Newport Coast for Shady Canyon, where they own not just the aforementioned $10.5 million mansion but also a second mansion elsewhere in the very same enclave, acquired late last year for $11.6 million.