An eye-catching mansion within the inordinately wealthy Riviera enclave of Pacific Palisades recently sold for $21 million, an amount that ranks as the priciest Palisades home sale of 2019 so far. Built by Westside real estate developer Mark Matkins of Gunderson Matkins in collaboration with O+L Building Projects, the equestrian-friendly property was years in the making and initially hit the open market in summer 2018, when the nearly 14,000 sq. ft. spec-built mansion was saddled with a $26.75 million asking price, according to Mansion Global.
The lucky new owner is low-profile — but clearly exceedingly wealthy — local entrepreneur Kirk Fernandez. While far from a household name, Fernandez is Chairman and CEO of Fernandez Holdings, which has amassed a business and property empire worth nearly $1 billion, all without the benefit of outside investors, according to his website. The Wyoming native founded Solutionz Conferencing, a L.A.-based conferencing firm that has grown to become a market leader, and he also holds substantial ownership stakes in a variety of other manufacturing, distribution and real estate investment firms.
Sited on a narrow dead-end street, the nearly one-acre flat lot provides ocean and canyon views from nearly every window in the sprawling mansion. Constructed in a style described as “California contemporary mixed with a midcentury vibe,” per Matkins, the structure is hewn from a blend of concrete, wood and glass.
A gated walkway leads past an enormous water feature to the all-glass entryway. The mesmerizing interiors include soaring ceilings, lustrous walnut floors and luxury home staging by Meredith Baer, L.A.’s go-to decorator for clients looking to visually spruce up a listing with the perfect furnishings.
Some of the home’s almost countless amenities include a sculptural floating staircase, an enviable library with walls of glass and towering bookshelves that definitely require a stepladder, an airport hanger-sized family room with more disappearing walls of glass, staff quarters, four guest bedroom suites and a massive master suite with a whopping 1,750 square feet of living space, dual bathrooms, dual closets, and a private elevator that transports the homeowners to their “seasonal wardrobe” deep underground.
The property also includes a guesthouse with an additional two bedrooms, a seven-car garage, a “wellness center” with massage room and sauna/spa facilities, a 1,000-bottle wine cellar, two kitchens — one for the chef, the other for the butler — and a gargantuan home theater with space for a bonafide gathering.
Outdoors, the property sports a sizable backyard with drought-resistant olive and eucalyptus trees, a 50-foot swimming pool, lush native plantings and a bocce ball court. Perhaps best of all — especially for equestrians — the property has space for stables and is directly accessible from the famed Will Rogers State Park, which sports a lovely polo field. And although the property is but a convenient quick skip to bustling Sunset Boulevard, it remains desirably quiet and private.
Gunderson Matkins, though fairly new on the L.A. development scene, are not new to the Palisades Riviera. Last year, they sold a slightly smaller but similarly-styled Riviera house for nearly $13.5 million to Ashley Lebowitz, a stepdaughter of hyper-rich Kohl’s department store heir Allen Kohl. (Incidentally, that house is already back on the market with a nearly $14 million ask.)
Before moving to his new Palisades manor, Fernandez shacked up in a luxury high-rise condominium along the pricey Wilshire Corridor. His unit in the coveted Californian building, which he bought way back in 2006 for $3.3 million, was briefly available on the open market this summer with a $4.7 million pricetag. The property has since been delisted, although it does not appear to have transferred.