Public court documents related to the ongoing Woodbridge bankruptcy proceedings make for some fascinating late-night reading, at least if you’re a property nerd like Yolanda. We glanced at the clock and realized we just burned three hours poring over thousands of pages of legal filings. Does that make us a weirdo? No, don’t say it — we already know the answer.
We’ve already blabbed about the sale of the famous (or infamous, if you prefer) 1 Electra Court estate to German billionaire Frank Binder, but it turns out there are two other eight-figure pricetag Woodbridge properties in escrow and awaiting final court sign-off. One is a 1.19-acre vacant lot in prime lower Bel Air (listed at $32 million) and the other a ridgeline house in the high-priced Bird Streets area of the Hollywood Hills (listed at $15.5 million).
As it turns out, both properties are being sold to the same buyer. He’s a fella named Jaime Gilinski.
Born to a Jewish family in Colombia, Mr. Gilinski grew up wealthy (though not a billionaire), earned a Harvard MBA, and eventually amassed a world-class fortune through mergers and acquisitions. He and his father Isaac Gilinski now control one of Latin America’s largest banking empires.
Aside from the banking, the Gilinski family has also made their mark on the international real estate sector. Down in Panama City, he is masterminding the $10 billion Panama Pacifico business/residential redevelopment. The construction site spans 4,450 acres of land, leading Forbes to label it “the most audacious real estate project in the world.”
Interestingly, Mr. Gilinski’s partner in the Panama City development is British billionaire Ian Livingstone, a guy known to maintain a substantial LA real estate portfolio — including a mansion on the very same Bel Air street as the lot Mr. Gilinski is buying. But we digress.
Our Mr. Gilinski has long-standing business ties to billionaire George Soros. And due to Mr. Soros’s longtime political lightning rod status, Mr. Gilinski has likewise become a target of right-wing politicos. Said folks have flooded the Internet with accusations detailing Mr. Gilinski’s (alleged) ties to the Colombian mafia and drug trade. Sour grapes? You decide.
Anyway, Forbes says Mr. Gilinski is worth $3.5 billion, while the Bloomberg Billionaires Index pegs his wealth at an even higher $4.23 billion. Either way, he’s the second-richest human in his native country.
About the LA purchases — we gather from court records that both properties are contingent on the sale of the other, meaning that if Mr. Gilinski doesn’t get one, the whole deal is off. Presumably that is why Woodbridge agreed to a substantial price discount on both lots — Mr. Gilinski is paying “only” $25,100,000 for the Bel Air land and $11,000,000 for the Birds nest, or $36,100,000 for the whole shebang.
Mr. Gilinski’s total outlay is woefully less than what Woodbridge paid to acquire these properties — records indicate they originally coughed up a total of $48.2 million ($35,000,000 + $13,200,000). Pity for the bankruptcy creditors, but the huge loss shouldn’t come as any surprise. In their heyday, Woodbridge was notorious for overpaying like crazy on everything. In Yolanda’s endlessly humble opinion, $36.1 million is a very fair amount for both for both lots.
The hilltop Bel Air estate site is currently vacant, but the listing includes renderings (above) for a shopping mall-sized compound designed by BULLI Architects. The proposed contemporary compound is “fully approved” — per the listing — and includes an absolutely absurd 41,000-square-feet of living space (seriously, who needs that much house?) and a negative-edge swimming pool overlooking the LA basin.
Of note about these renderings is that the mansion looks like it’s sitting in a tropical jungle rather than arid ol’ LA. There are hanging gardens, fruit trees, and lots of fresh veggies up in there. Yum.
We profess ignorance as to whether Mr. Gilinski will build the thing you see above or whether he favors a different design. We also don’t know whether he’s buying these properties for himself/family or whether he plans to enter the increasingly crowded LA spec-mega-mansion game.
As for the other property Mr. Gilinski is buying, it’s a 0.52-acre mini-estate in the Birds Streets with panoramic views stretching to the Pacific Ocean (on a clear day, natch).
The listing here also includes plans for a sleek, chic sprawler. Drawn up by the venerated Paul McClean — LA’s go-to contemporary mega-mansion architect — the house will span approximately 15,000-square-feet of open-concept living space. Again, whether Mr. Gilinski will opt to implement these plans or conjure up a confection of his own creation is unknown to Yolanda.
We like the gym with water views and the upper-floor swimming pool. (In case anyone was curious).
Though the Hollywood Hills lot currently includes a spacious Mediterranean-esque structure with an infinity-edge swimming pool, it’s an absolute certainty that a big-time developer like Mr. Gilinski will soon put the ol’ gurl down. RIP.
Outside of his ambitious real estate and banking projects, Mr. Gilinski leads a quiet, low-profile life with his family — he and his longtime wife Raquel have four adult children, three sons and one daughter. These days Mr. Gilinski claims London as his main city of residence, but he’s also got expensive homes in New York City, Panama, and Colombia.
And over in Florida, Mr. Gilinski resides on star-studded Indian Creek Island, oft-considered the most desirable residential community in Miami and colloquially known as the city’s “Billionaires’ Bunker“.
Mr. Gilinski’s compound is arguably the most impressive on the entire guard-gated island — he’s got a multi-acre estate sprawled across four contiguous waterfront lots, one of which includes a 20,000+ square foot main house. Some of his nearest neighbors include supermodel Adriana Lima, hedge fund billionaire Edward Lampert, and Latin singer Julio Iglesias (he recently hung an unprecedented $150 million pricetag on a vacant four-parcel lot he owns there).