Despite COVID-19 woes, the appeal of L.A.’s posh Pacific Palisades neighborhood to the exceptionally well-heeled has not been dimmed. The area saw one of its biggest sales of the year close earlier this month, when a sumptuous estate in the Riviera enclave transferred for nearly $20 million in cash. Property records indicate the buyers are José Feliciano and Kwanza Jones, a billionaire married couple who already own a substantial collection of trophy real estate on L.A.’s Westside.
Built in 1995 and originally styled in an ode to Mediterranean architecture, the two-story house last sold in 2012 for a relatively modest $7.5 million. The buyers, a non-famous local couple, hired Santa Monica-based Robert Leese of Cahill-Leese Architects to substantially remodel and enlarge the existing structure. Leese ultimately added more than 2,000 square feet to the home, which now sports a newly contemporary design, complete with oversized windows and a soothingly neutral color palette.
Set on a sycamore-dotted lane that is frequently considered one of the best streets in the Palisades Riviera, the 8,000 sq. ft. manse lies on a half-acre hillside lot with direct, unobstructed views over the Riviera Country Club — one of the city’s most notoriously exclusive golf clubs, where initiation fees run $250,000 and members reportedly include Mark Wahlberg, Adam Sandler, and Ari Emanuel.
Inside, the home offers casually luxe interiors; there’s a gourmet kitchen with top-of-the-line Wolf and SubZero appliances, including a glass-fronted refrigerator plus a full-size wine refrigerator. The kitchen opens to the cozy family room, where foldaway glass doors spill out onto a grassy terrace. A game room is serviced by a wet bar, while the master suite has a private terrace with bird’s eye golf course views, a sitting area with fireplace, and a deluxe bathroom with a soaking tub and separate vanities.
Out back, a wooden patio surrounds the saltwater swimming pool and a nearby spa. Beyond that, a large patch of lawn travels down to an intimate al fresco dining area; from there, a comically long flight of winding stairs leads down the hill, through the property’s extensive terraced gardens that are more reminiscent of a country estate in Italy than the grounds of a typical L.A. mansion.
Feliciano and Jones, both in their 40s and coupled since college, have been much in the news recently for their philanthropy — they’ve endowed more than $50 million in grants to up-and-coming minority-run investment companies, and last year they gave $20 million to their alma mater Princeton University, the largest gift by Black and Latino donors in the institution’s 274 year history.
L.A. native Jones is an active recording artist and founder of the lifestyle development brand Supercharged by Kwanza Jones. Feliciano, who hails from Puerto Rico, co-founded the private equity juggernaut Clearlake Capital with longtime business partner Behdad Eghbali; Forbes currently pegs Feliciano’s net worth at $2.1 billion.
The couple has been busy on the real estate front, too. Last year, they paid a total of $16 million in separate transactions for two side-by-side teardown houses in Santa Monica — combined, the parcels span more than an acre of prime land. Some of their myriad other real estate holdings include three luxury condos in Marina del Rey, a multimillion-dollar Santa Monica retail building, and a custom-built oceanfront Marina del Rey mansion that’s likely worth more than $10 million.