What exactly is up with Los Angeles’s richest people? While many of us mere financial mortals moo and moan about China’s super-scary property bubble, the uber-elite are spending like, well, there’s no tomorrow. Don’t believe Yolanda? Take a look at three of SoCal’s wealthiest billionaires and their recent real estate acquisitions. Even for guys of their voracious real estate appetites, 2016 has been a banner year.
There’s Tom Gores, who’s been much in the news lately for his shocking $100 million acquisition of an impossibly lavish hospital complex-looking 30,000-square-foot mega-mansion in the tony Holmby Hills neighborhood. Not only is that — by far — his biggest splurge ever (and this is a guy who owns so many estates that he’s probably forgotten about most of them) but it brings his total real estate portfolio to a value of more than $250 million. Even for a billionaire, that’s a mind-altering amount of cash in property. (For anyone who’s not named Larry Ellison, that is.)
Then we have tech-mogul-celebrity Elon Musk, LA’s second-richest man. Just a few weeks ago, he plunked down $24,250,000 — also his biggest splurge ever — to buy his fifth Bel Air house. He’s now got more than $70 million in real estate in his little neighborhood pocket.
Finally, there’s Patrick Soon-Shiong, our perennially-richest dude (and part-owner of the Lakers). He’s every bit as big a real estate baller as the other two fellas, though he tends to keep his dealings a bit lower-profile. Nonetheless, Yolanda was able to compile a complete (or nearly-complete) dossier on his holdings for y’all. Just this year, Mr. Soon-Shiong has dumped more than $75 million on three luxury oceanfront properties, all of them located (somewhat unexpectedly) behind the Orange Curtain, in that quaint-yet-also-ballerific coastal town of Laguna Beach. So what are these guys all smokin’? (And where can Yolanda cop some?)
And do these billionaires know something we don’t?
You decide. But for now, let us feast on the entrails of their decimated real estate competition.
A quick recap. In February 2016, Mr. Soon-Shiong and his wife Michele Chan blew the proverbial guillotine doors off the neighbors’ Lambos when they shelled out a staggering — and record-breaking — $45,000,000 for an undeniably spectacular, one-of-a-kind estate known locally as Twin Points.
The house on the property is barely noteworthy — some sort of Balinese confection of just 2,308 square feet — but the land is crazy amazing with two flat “hands” of rocky shoreline jutting several hundred feet out into the Pacific Ocean, with a private cove tucked in between.
And yes, the $45 million sale price is the biggest residential sale ever recorded in Orange County. But depending on how you want to look at it, the doctor may have done got himself a deal. (The never-before-sold spread — owned by the same family for, like, 350 years or so — was originally listed at an outrageous $75,000,000).
Almost before we’d had time to digest the big news, Dr. Soon-Shiong went out and did it again, albeit on a much smaller and more conventional mini-estate a few miles to the south located on another (much less significant) peninsula known as Cactus Point (or Arch Point, depending on who you’re talking to). The rich Doc paid $14,250,000 for the mansion up on the tip this June.
Well, he’s done it yet again. In late August (2016) a 4-bed, 4.5-bath oceanfront house right next door to Dr. Soon-Shiong’s Cactus-y crib sold for $16,000,000 to a mysterious LLC. But Yolanda just happen to know that yes, the doctor is in the house and doubling down (tripling down) out there in Laguna.
While Dr. Soon-Shiong’s first Cactus Point house was a rather tedious, dated mock-Med sort of thing, the place next door has a remarkably different, far more contemporary look. Records show the seller of this house was a guy named Ernest Garcia, who acquired the property as a brand-new spec house for $13,500,000 back in 2009, at the height of the last economic recession. Mr. Garcia is the owner of Phoenix, AZ-based DriveTime, which is one of the largest used car dealer and finance networks in the nation.
The house — which weighs in at a generous 5,650 square feet — presents rather unassumingly from the street. All you see is a three-car garage and a low, flat-roofed profile. Inside, however, a sophisticated spiral staircase and a lovely skydome make it clear that some very richie-rich folks live here. Recessed florescent lighting set off the art-filled walls. The house’s glass front door is — rather unconventionally — located on the side of the house and through a locked gate.
Limestone floors cover many of the interior spaces, including the open-concept living room. A fireplace will warm Dr. Soon-Shiong’s mittens on a chilly beach night. Walls of glass overlook deep blue sea.
The media room goes beige and sports mismatched furniture. But wait… is that booze?!
Yes! It is! The wet bar is a curved situation with four comfy-looking chairs. Perfect if you’re like Yolanda and enjoy imbibing a dirty gin martini every, oh, 10 minutes or so. Shhh.
An “exotic wood” wine cabinet is a decadent touch, for sure. The kitchen is professional-grade with all high-end appliances (including a supersized range). An intricate tile backsplash gives a waterfall-like effect.
The master suite comes equipped with steel-grey carpeting in the bathroom and a skylit bathroom with single sit-down vanity station and soaking tub. But who’d want to sit in a tub indoors when you can soak up the sun in style via the master suite balcony, right?
See that beige house up to the left, partially hidden by hedges? That’s one of the Doc’s other Laguna Beach homes. But the star of the show is undoubtedly the wide, sandy beach and the gorgeous views over “Wood’s Cove“.
Other luxe features of the sumptuous property — per the listing — include electronic shades, a Creston system, and “controlled entry”, whatever that means.
Only time will tell if three is the charm for the richie-rich Doc in the OC. Or does he plan to acquire more land in the high-priced neighborhood? Well, we don’t know. He isn’t returning our phone calls, that little poopy. But if Yolanda were a bettin’ gal, we’d place all our chips on the “Absolutely yes, no question about it” slot or market or whatever. The Doc has too much money and a too-insatiable appetite to slow down now. Yolanda approves. You don’t only live twice. We only get one round, one shot!
Well, unless you’re Cher.
In addition to his $75 million worth of Laguna Beach real estate, the Doctor also owns three oeanfront properties in Malibu — one on Broad Beach and two in the Encinal Bluffs neighborhood — that cost him a total of $44,750,000. His main residence, however, is a 5+ acre compound in a not-particularly-glamorous area of Brentwood. The massive complex is comprised of at least six structures and anchored by a 20,000+ square foot main residence. The 13+ parcel spread has cost Dr. Soon-Shiong more than $50 million — so far. For more on that insanity, toot your booty on over to Yolanda’s previous recap.
Listing agent: John Stanaland, HOM Sotheby’s International Realty
Mr. Soon-Shiong’s agent: Sandra Miller, Engel & Völkers Santa Monica