Thanks to a reader tip, we have learned that a very expensive real estate transaction went down last month (August 2018) in the city of Beverly Hills. Quietly, of course. The buyer is Australian billionaire James Packer and the compound was long owned by Hollywood actors Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman, though they sold off the property in 2015 and it has since undergone a substantial renovation.
You’ll have to forgive an old bat like Yolanda but we’re having a real devil of a time pinning down the exact sale price here. We’ve looked everywhere but still cannot find the amount. But based on the transfer taxes Mr. Packer paid, we are estimating that the deal was done for around $60-65 million. But please don’t quote that like it’s gospel. If anyone cares to share the precise figure, please do let us know. We’d be ever so grateful.
(We also found evidence that the sale price might be just $42,250,000, but that seems entirely too low.)
Anyway, if the $60-65 million price point is true, Mr. Packer got a nice little discount. Though the house was never publicly listed for sale, it was shopped around off-market at $85 million. But don’t fret, this is still one of the three biggest sales ever recorded in Beverly Hills. For reference, the current record-holder is that $70 million Minecraft house.
The 51-year-old Mr. Packer is an Australia-based hotel and casino tycoon with a net worth of $3.9 billion (per Forbes) though most of us ignorant Americans only know him as the ex-fiancee of crooner Mariah Carey.
We Yanks love drama – hey, who doesn’t – and Mr. Packer and Ms. Carey certainly kept the tabloids and their readers happy throughout the course of their doomed relationship. At one point, Mr. Packer reportedly instructed staff at the Crown Perth — his posh seaside hotel — to play nothing but Mariah songs on a loop. Understandably, guests and employees alike were driven all batty, the poor dears. Some still have nightmares about those high notes to this day. Just kidding (we hope). And no offense to Ms. Carey, of course.
Upon their breakup, Ms. Carey kept the $10 million engagement ring and then proceeded to demand $50 million from Mr. Packer. She also recently released a breakup anthem called “GTFO” – gee, wonder what that stands for — about him. Classy!
Although his relationship with Ms. Carey has flown away like a bird, it’s not particularly surprising that Mr. Packer would still be in the market for a large Beverly Hills estate. His ex-wife Erica Packer and their three children have primarily resided in LA for the last few years.
But we digress.
Originally built in a French Country architectural style by celebrated architect Wallace Neff, the DeVito/Perlman couple owned the place for decades before unloading it in 2015 for somewhere around $28 million. The buyers of the four-parcel property were a married couple named Stuart Liner and Stephanie Hershey Liner. Our Mr. Liner is an attorney by day — and his wife an interior designer — but they moonlight as high-end property developers/flippers. Together they have bought, rehabbed, and sold dozens of LA homes over the past years.
Upon acquiring the estate in 2015, the Liners proceeded to divide the property into two sections. On the larger 1.29 acre portion (the one Mr. Packer just bought) they completely overhauled every inch of the lot, transforming the main house into a contemporary Georgian-style behemoth that is unrecognizable from the former Neff creation. On the smaller .48-acre section, they are building a spec-mansion to sell off at a later date.
Since this house was never officially on the market, details are slim. But we do know that the new compound has multiple structures that total a beastly 29,000-square-feet of living space. There is an 8-car garage, a massive motorcourt, and an all-marble kitchen that can easily accommodate the largest events. Check out those two elephantine islands and that La Cornue range — it’s one of the biggest Yolanda has ever laid eyes upon and probably costs more than a new E-Class Mercedes.
Elsewhere there are hardwood and marble floors, an enormous great room, and a mirror-walled dining room. Disappearing walls of glass bring the outdoors in and vice versa.
As you’d expect given the price, the compound is equipped with every conceivable luxury feature known to mankind. There is a massive screening room, a wine cellar, a lounge, a beauty salon, and a cigar room. Don’t forget the two guest houses. “A person who buys this house is likely to have a lot of staff,” Mr. Liner says. Indeed.
Tucked into the northwest corner of Beverly Hills – the property straddles the border of B.H. and the even more posh Holmby Hills neighborhood – the house lies a couple blocks above Sunset at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac. Some of Mr. Packer’s new neighbors include hedge funder Jon Brooks, Indonesian businessman-turned-politician Aburizal Bakrie, and Symantec CEO Greg Clark who is attempting to sell his own mansion for $16.9 million. No luck as of yet. Also nearby is the main residence of embattled media exec Les Moonves and his wife Julie Chen Moonves.
On the Holmby Hills side, some of Mr. Packer’s nearest new neighbors on North Carolwood Drive include billionaires like Bruce Karsh, Tom Gores, Zhang Jun, Yuri Milner, and Peter Morton. Just down the road is another mega-mansion built by Mr. and Mrs. Liner. Completed in 2014, that place was sold for about $30 million to now-deceased Saudi billionaire Walid Juffali.
Listing agent: Drew Fenton, Hilton & Hyland