Tech bazillionaire Jim Payne plunks down $18 million in trendy Trousdale Estates

The best residential section of Beverly Hills — Trousdale Estates — was hotter and trendier than ever in 2016. Just count the three $30 million+ property sales, two of which were sold for land value only. Ain’t it amazing that only 15 or so years ago, the area was still considered rather déclassé by members of LA’s snootier societies?

(Shameless plug: go pick up a copy of author/historian Steven Price‘s amazing read Trousdale Estates: Midcentury to Modern in Beverly Hills, which is currently the #1 bestseller on Amazon among interior design books. It is filled to the brim with history, photos, and legends of yore. And no, Yolanda was not paid or told to say this. Just buy the damn thing.)

Well, as of yet, the rocketing property values show no signs of a slowdown. Take this ground up contemporary remodel and expansion of a 3,364-square-foot 1960s mid-century modern, which isn’t even on one of the best streets in Trousdale. And yet it just sold for $18,000,000.

The property has a wee bit of semi-celebrity history, according to Yolanda’s research. In early 2013, the original 1960-built structure on this lot was acquired for $4,521,500 by Dave Holmes, Coldplay’s band manager. Our British Mr. Holmes flipped the house just one year later for $5,400,000 to British actor Clive Robertson, who is perhaps best known for being a big ol’ hunk on that cheesy ’90s soap opera Sunset Beach.

Anyway, when he’s not workin’ up a sexy sweat on camera, Mr. Robertson dabbles in real estate. He immediately took the house down to the studs and rebuilt and expanded. Current listing information does not call out square footage of the remodeled house — and we weren’t able to locate anything concrete in the permit history — but if we were forced to guess we’d say it’s around 5,000 or so.

So who paid Mr. Robertson $18 million? It was a tech entrepreneur named Jim Payne, who hit the proverbial Silicon Valley jackpot back in 2013 when he sold his startup — the oddly-named MoPub — to Twitter for $350 million. Since then, Mr. Payne has served as an angel investor and a entrepreneur-in-residence, proffering his tech wisdom to other young companies. He’s also found time to become a real estate baller with fiendishly expensive homes on both coasts of the USA. But we’ll get to those in just a hot minute.

Mr. Payne (left)

Before we begin our typical dissection of the home, Yolanda was a bit amused at the florid language used to describe this residence in marketing materials. Real estate agents are legendary for their verbosity, kiddies, but this particular instance we must share with y’all. It’s just too good. Check this excerpt out:

“The developer, master of chic, Clive Robertson, scoured each corner of the globe to source every minutiae: from the Tibetan Leathered Monk Stone to the lavish Antarctic Stingray media room, to the Travertine that adorns the facade, sourced from the Bagni di Tivoli quarry that built the Roman Coliseum. … This home sets a new standard in interior design; truly a masterpiece, a grand symphony of the finest materials.”

Now, kiddies, we don’t mean to be rude or offend anyone here. Maybe we just like flaunting our own ignorance. But what the hell is all that shit supposed to mean? There’s travertine on the facade, a media room and some stone? Humph! Big whoop.

But what do we know about anything? Maybe that description is what lured Mr. Payne into plunking down the big fat bucks? Just kidding! (But not really. Nothing surprises us here in LA.)

We digress. Time for a look at the house.

The house is located on a steep and fairly busy street that folks love to speed down, so it’s definitely a good thing that the property is insulated from all that craziness behind an imposing driveway gate and high wall. That spinning car turntable you see on the driveway is no cheap gimmick, it’s useful — even necessary — for getting your Range Rover Supercharged or Mercedes S-Class outta the driveway in a safe manner. Trust Yolanda, backing out onto Loma Vista Drive ain’t for the faint of heart.

The black garage doors with the stone surround (is that the Withered Monk stone?!) looks pretty damn cool. A column-line entryway leads over a small moat through an all-glass front door that looks right through the residence and out to the city below in a particularly satisfying manner.

Surprisingly, the particularly pungent listing information does not call out what sort of hardwood floors these are, which leads Yolanda to wonder if they might be some sort of non-exotic material like Oregon oak or somethin’. The listing does say that the architect was the LA-based Michael Marquez, so please direct any questions his way.

The floor plan is open — as it should be — and all the features and appliances are top-notch.

At the southern end of the residence, an enormous wall of glass performs a better disappearance act than Harry Houdini and brings the indoors outside (and vice versa) in that oh-so-quintessentially Southern California manner. The bottom right picture shows Yolanda’s favorite part of the residence: a glass walled wine cellar.

The structure boasts a total of five bedrooms and six bathrooms, and the master suite boasts another disappearing wall that overlooks the city view below.

Hmm. We’re not sure if we like the spa being raised like that — kinda disturbs the skyline. But that’s our OCD talking.

As we’ve already mentioned, Mr. Payne is quite the real estate baller. In addition to his $18 million home in Trousdale, he’s got at least two other multi-million dollar residences: one in Scottsdale (AZ) and one in New York City.

In October 2014, Mr. Payne forked out $14,650,000 for the penthouse pad of NY-based billionaire Leonard Stern. Located in NYC’s trendy (and exorbitantly pricey) SoHo neighborhood, the 4,315-square-foot apartment comes with niceties like a zen solarium and double-height great room and even the ultimate Manhattan luxury: a giant rooftop terrace with a private pool. Ka-ching!

For more pictures and the full story on the NYC purchase, go here.

Mr. Payne has long been based out of Arizona, so it’s no surprise he’s got something nice out in Scottsdale, too. In December 2015, he shelled out $3,400,000 for a brand-new modern-mock-med mini-mansion in the exclusive Silverleaf community. The house sits on .68-acre and has 5-beds/6-baths in 5,126-square-feet of living space.

But don’t think Mr. Payne is just a greedy capitalist who sold his company and ran with all the moolah. Instead, he shared the wealth at his MoPub company when it was bought out by Twitter. According to reports, 36 of his 100 employees became millionaires — and 10 of those 36 now have “significant” net worths.

Nice. But Mr. Payne made sure his needs were taken care of, too. Just look at his $36 million+ collection of luxury residential real estate.

Listing agents: Branden & Rayni Williams, Hilton & Hyland
Mr. Payne’s agentMasha Krakovskaya, Keller Williams Beverly Hills


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