Put on y’all’s thinking caps and you might recall a massive (and massively minimalist) compound in Bel Air that was featured on a blog some time ago. Yolanda blabbed all about this place last September (2017), right when it had first been pocket-listed with a scary $125 million pricetag.
Though the property never officially hit the open market, records show it transferred in early March (2018), albeit for a lower $85,000,000 final sale price. However, that still makes it one of the top 10 biggest residential sales in Southern California history. The Wall Street Journal was the first to report the sale.
Naturally, Yolanda was desperate to know who the billionaire buyer was, and so we quickly started slappin’ anyone and everyone to get an answer. Lo and behold, records show the property was acquired by a mysteriously-named corporation that is easily linked to a very wealthy (but very low-profile) CEO. His name is Hideki Tomita, and he hails from Tokyo, Japan.
While Mr. Tomita may not sport a household name, his Dip Corporation — an online employment agency, we gather — has for several years been ranked as one of the fastest-growing companies in all of Japan. Founded by Mr. Tomita back in 1997, the publicly-traded firm has over 1,000 employees and a current market capitalization of $1.2 billion. And according to Yolanda’s research, Mr. Tomita — through shares vested in himself individually and in companies he controls — still owns nearly 50% of the company, which would make his net worth at least $500 million. On paper, that is.
Yolanda has already written extensively about the Bel Air property, but suffice to say that the land was acquired was back in 2002 for $20,750,000 by beer heiress Ellen Bronfman and her hubby Andrew Hauptman from media mogul Kevin Wendle. The Bronfman-Hauptmans then spent several years (and no doubt many millions of dollars) to construct a John Pawson-designed minimalist mega-mansion with approximately 19,000-square-feet of living space on a portion of the 4-acre compound. The abode was featured in the September 2011 issue of Architectural Digest.
The flat-roofed architectural extravaganza was completed in 2009, and the residence appears smaller than its mega-mansion-sized 20,000-square-feet — or at least it does to Yolanda in photos. The structure consists of two slender boxes — one cantilevered over the other — plus a subterranean level that features a screening room, staff quarters, a children’s playroom, and storage space. The home’s exterior is clad in stucco accented by red cedar trim.
The master bath is a built-in soaking tub with Dornbracht fittings looking out into a courtyard featuring with an outdoor shower, a hot tub, and firepit.
It may look basic, but the appliances in this kitchen are probably worth more than 99% of folks earn in an entire year. That’s a super-expensive La Cornue range, the sink is Caesarstone, and the fittings are by Dornbracht. The dining room has crystal-clear views of the Los Angeles basin (on a clear day, natch). And there’s a outdoor dining room, too. The negative-edge swimming pool has city lights views.
Acres of oak flooring fill the home. The monolithic double-height dining room is completely featureless, save for a fireplace.
This compound additionally features a 6,341-square-foot Traditional-style mansion built in 1941 and designed by venerable American architect Paul Williams. There are 5 beds and 5 baths (including maid’s quarters), a master suite with a sitting room and fireplace, and a privately-situated pool.
Yolanda has no inside intel about why Mr. Tomita suddenly decided he needs an $85 million Bel Air compound — or what he plans to do with the property, for that matter — but we imagine that the complex could be easily subdivided into two smaller estates, either of which could potentially be sold off for tens of millions or used as an income-generating cash cow.
In any case, an $85 million Bel Air purchase seems like an unusually large acquisition for a guy who is clearly fabulously wealthy but has never before appeared on an international wealth ranking and has no known business interests here in LA, right? So Yolanda imagines we will be hearing more about this sale and the reasons why in the coming months. For now, however, we shall have to use our imagination to guess what inspired Mr. Tomita to make such a big splash into our market.
As for Mr. Hauptman and Ms. Bronfman, they have already “downsized” to a $16 million mansion in Brentwood Park, one of the priciest neighborhoods in all of LA. Their new spec-mansion is comparatively puny with approximately 12,000-square-feet of living space, but it is fully loaded with luxury features such as oak floors, a temperature-controlled wine cellar, a gym, and a basement movie theater.
Listing agent: Kurt Rappaport, Westside Estate Agency