Full disclosure: this transaction actually closed eons ago (way, way back in February 2017) but we’re only writing about it now because Yolanda had no idea who bought the property until just the other day. And being that this is among the largest — and certainly one of the most expensive — undeveloped estate sites in the Platinum Triangle, it’s still a worthwhile story.
Before we get into the buyer and their intentions for the property, here’s a wee bit of history.
In November 2008, Platinum Equity billionaire (and Detroit Pistons owner) Tom Gores paid $18,000,000 for a mansion in prime lower Bel Air. The following January (2009), as was first reported by the folks at the now-defunct Berg Properties blog, he paid a pompous $38,000,000 to businessman Carl Parmer for the larger manse immediately next door. For all you non-math majors, that’s a $56 million splurge.
And in typical billionaire fashion, Mr. Gores quickly knocked the smaller house down and poured millions into an extensive renovation and expansion of the larger one.
But then Mr. Gores did something curious. In early 2014, midway through the project, he had a change of heart — or whatever — and put the entire (unfinished) spread up for sale with a $50 million pricetag.
The property did not sell. So Mr. Gores began marketing the 3.13-acre site as one of LA’s premiere teardown estate lots. Which it is, of course.
Eventually, in October 2016, the land was sold for exactly $30 million to prominent developers Gala Asher and Ed Berman as part of a complicated asset swap that Yolanda won’t get into here. But anyway, that’s a huge loss for Mr. Gores — just $30 million for a property that he surely dumped well over $60 million into! Ouch. Although a good tax man could probably turn that mega-loss into a boon, right?
Mr. Asher and Mr. Berman held onto the estate for just four months before lucratively flipping it to an entity called “La Croix LLC”. The sale price? $35,450,000. A couple folks asked Yolanda who the buyer was, but we couldn’t figure it out. Eventually we gave up.
Fast forward to a few days ago. One of our cohorts asked whether we knew what was goin’ on with the property, so Yolanda took another peek Lo and behold, records now clearly show that the $35+ million buyers were a young married couple named Brandon Beck and Natasha (nee Fagel) Beck.
Mr. and Mrs. Beck grew up well-off in Beverly Hills — his parents have long owned a mansion in the Flats, hers have a snazzy spread up in Trousdale Estates. Both homes are worth more than $10 million today.
The Becks — now in their mid-30s — both graduated from USC before they were married in a lavish 2009 ceremony at the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel (check out that ice bar. Holy cow!). Nowadays they have at least a couple munchkins of their own, we think.
Anywho, Mr. Beck — known to his fans as Ryze — is co-Chairman of Riot Games, which he co-founded with his USC roommate (and fellow real estate baller) Marc Merrill. Riot is best-known for its wildly popular League of Legends video game franchise.
In 2015, Riot was completely bought out by Chinese conglomerate Tencent. That acquisition has obviously made Mr. Beck and Mr. Merrill — both of whom are still actively involved with Riot — very wealthy men. At least one website says the still-young Mr. Beck sports a net worth of $200 million. Good for him, although Riot’s marriage to Tencent has reportedly not been the happiest of unions.
But we digress. Back to the real estate issue at hand.
While we have no idea what the Becks are planning for their huge swath of Bel Air land, Yolanda guesses they will build some sort of extravagant familial compound to put all but the largest LA mega-mansions to shame. Some of the nearest Bel Air neighbors include Gary Winnick’s $94 million Casa Encantada and the $35 million home of Robert Blumenfield.
The Beck estate site is also but a short walk to the uber-prestigious Bel-Air Country Club, where the initiation fee will run you $150,000 and all members must adhere to a very strict dress code. Gentlemen may not wear shorts — long pants only, y’all — or the country club cops will slap them silly.
While Mr. and Mrs. Beck await their new dream residence, they bunk up in a nearby “crash pad”.
Situated on Brentwood’s premier hillside street, the giant Traditional-style mansion weighs in with 15,600-square-feet of living space. Records show that the Becks paid Michael Strahan a mighty $21,500,000 for the property back in 2015. That was a good deal for Mr. Strahan — he bought the spec-manse for just $16 million and made no major changes during his one year of ownership.
Some of the Becks’ Brentwood neighbors within sugar-borrowing distance include cosmetics queen Jamie Kern Lima, Lakers co-owner Jesse Buss and “King” LeBron James.