Though his name may not conjure the instant residential cachet of, say, Richard Neutra or Frank Lloyd Wright, Harold “Hal” Levitt was one of LA’s great mid-century architects. He designed gracious homes for a legion of Hollywood notables (and other not-famous rich people) including Lew Wasserman, Ross Hunter, Quincy Jones, Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, Debbie Reynolds, and Lionel Richie.
Anyway, a Hal Levitt-designed house in prime Beverly Hills sold less than a week ago for an even-steven $20,000,000. Make no mistake, that is a big chunk of change, particularly since the house looks to be in need of a freshening-up and clocks in at “just” 5,614-square-feet of living space. And as the Wall Street Journal first reported, the buyer is a gal named Sue. Not a boy named Sue, mind you, a gal. A very rich gal.
Like Mr. Levitt — may he RIP — Susan “Sue” Gross may not be a household name, but she is a real damn billionaire. Or she very soon will be one, provided her acrimonious (and ongoing) divorce ends as she would like. Forbes says Mrs. Gross’s estranged hubby Bill — founder of bond investment giant PIMCO — is worth $2.5 billion. And the couple have been married for over 30 years!
Yolanda wrote about Mrs. Gross’s marital split more than a year ago and provided an in-depth look at their extensive real estate holdings. Like all good billionaires, the Grosses maintain an electrifying array of fabulous properties. Their crown jewel, if you will, is their three-house compound down in Laguna Beach, behind the guarded gates of Irvine Cove, which is often considered to be the most prestigious gated community in all of Orange County. Yolanda believes their Laguna compound may be worth as much as $70 million.
The Grosses also have a $9 million house in the OC’s Corona Del Mar area, a huge pad out in Indian Wells (CA), and as well as a big house in Beverly Hills for which they paid Jennifer Aniston $35,000,000 back in 2011. Yolanda still recalls the shock and awe that deal sent through the real estate community. Ah, and it feels like it was just yesterday! Time, you are such a cruel and sly fox.
Turns out Mrs. Gross must really love herself a good Hal Levitt, because her $35 million B.H. house was also designed by the same fellow.
Anyway, though none of the properties in the Gross portfolio have come to market since the couple’s 2016 separation, it is all but guaranteed that some (if not all) will soon be sold. The OC Register reveals that Mr. Gross has been living in the Laguna Beach compound while the divorce is pending, while Mrs. Gross has ensconced herself in Corona del Mar and in the big Bev Hills pad.
Court papers also brought to light exactly how mean-spirited the divorce has become: Mrs. Gross allegedly showed up uninvited at the Laguna Beach compound with a bodyguard and stole items from the property. Bill Gross allegedly sent her “threatening” emails and called her “disgusting”. Then Mrs. Gross apparently disconnected all services at the Indian Wells house, causing the swimming pool to turn green with algae. Oh, the horrors!
But we’re here today to talk about Mrs. Gross’s new house, right? The property sits in a section of Beverly Hills that is quite frequently considered to be the best neighborhood pocket in the entire city. It’s on a very quiet dead-end street but just north of Sunset and has easy access to West Hollywood, canyon roads leading to the Valley, and downtown Beverly Hills.
Marketing materials contain no images of the home’s current interior. Y’all should also know that the property was previously in the hands of the same owner for 50+ years, so it’s a good guess than the place is in dire need of a cosmetic overhaul. Still, the grounds look to be in decent shape, and the views are quite impressive, even if the low-slung house itself isn’t exactly stimulating.
It’s not so surprising that Mrs. Gross is apparently planning to spend a good chunk of her time up in Los Angeles. Though he was born and raised in the O.C., Mr. & Mrs. Gross’s only child — their adult son Nick — resides here in LA, in a $9 million contemporary pad above the Sunset Strip, as Yolanda already revealed,
One of Mrs. Gross’s nearest new neighbors in the 90210 is Ellen DeGeneres (their properties actually border one another). Also a resident of the same dead-end street is Amazon gajillionaire Jeff Bezos. And other nearby folks include Casey Wasserman and shopping mall heir Emerson Glazer. Yolanda has also repeatedly heard that Comcast billionaire Brian L. Roberts owns a house on the same road, though we have not yet been able to confirm that.
We hear that Mr. and Mrs. Gross’s $35 million house in Trousdale Estates — the other Hal Levitt property — will soon become available for sale. Yolanda is very interested to see who will buy that place and how much they will spend, particularly since we are of the opinion that the Grosses may have grossly overpaid. But who knows? Not us.
Oh, and speaking of Hal Levitt and Trousdale, Yolanda also hears that Simon Cowell would very much like to unload his never-lived-in Hal Levitt house high up in Trousdale Estates. This despite the fact that the property is in the middle of a comprehensive remodel. To be more specific, we hear whispers that Mr. Cowell would very seriously entertain offers in the $21 million range.
But that’s a story for another day.