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Billionaire Nicolas Berggruen Pays $22.5 Million for Neighboring Property

seller: Gary Wilson
location: Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, Calif.
price: $22.5 million
size: 2.2 acres of gardens with a guesthouse and poolhouse

Three years after he paid nearly $41 million for the legendary Edie Goetz estate in L.A.’s exclusive Holmby Hills, billionaire investor Nicolas Berggruen has added another trophy feather to his real estate cap by acquiring the 2.2-acre property next door.

As was first reported by The Real Deal, Paris-born Berggruen is reuniting the two separate parcels into one contiguous 4.4-acre compound, the way they were previously, back when the properties were owned by prominent businessman Gary L. Wilson and his former wife Barbera Hale Thornhill, Trump’s nominee for U.S. ambassador to Singapore.

Back in 1990, Wilson — a former Disney CFO and Northwest Airlines board chair — bought the Goetz property for $7.4 million. Soon after, he purchased the estate next door and combined them into one supersized estate with a main house, two guesthouses, a poolhouse, pool, koi pond, and a full-size tennis court.

Wilson and Thornhill divorced in the early 2010s, and the former family compound was eventually listed in 2016 with an original ask of $79 million, though the properties were eventually de-coupled and offered as two separate estates, with two separate pricetags. Four years later, Berggruen has finally purchased the entire spread for a total spend of $63.3 million.

The latest $22.5 million piece of the real estate puzzle contains two structures, a poolhouse and petite guesthouse, plus an enchanted forest confection of gardens, mature trees, cobblestone pathways, gurgling fountains and brilliant blooms — a country-like oasis in the middle of Los Angeles.

Besides his titanic Holmby Hills estate, Berggruen — who has already spent more than $20 million buying up at least seven different condo units within West Hollywood’s iconic Sierra Towers building — also owns a 1920s Spanish Revival-style Hollywood mansion set just above the Sunset Strip. That property operates as the residence for the current president of his Berggruen Institute think tank.

As for Wilson and Thornhill, they’ve both long since downsized from Holmby Hills to separate Bel Air homes — Thornhill to a $9.5 million compound immediately bordering the Bel Air Country Club, Wilson to a $4.8 million gated spread on a quiet hillside cul-de-sac.

Linda May and Drew Fenton of Hilton & Hyland handled the transaction.

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