Update (5/6/2017): House photos removed at the Merrills’ request.
Yolanda is certainly not a gamer — we leave that sinful silliness to you young’uns — but even an ignorant ol’ coot like us knows that LA-based Riot Games represents no passing fad. Since 2006, when it was founded by two USC kids (Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill) the company has grown to employ more than 1,000 people and rakes in over $1.6 billion in annual revenue. And ever since 2011, when Chinese media conglomerate Tencent forked out approximately $231 million for a majority interest in Riot, Mr. Beck and Mr. Merrill have been exceptionally wealthy.
The most amazing part about all this, at least to Yolanda, is not the incredible growth or net worth of the company. It’s the fact that much of this success seems to have been built on the (figurative) back of a rather bizarre multi-player game called League of Legends. Y’all can keep your corny ass games to yourself, we’re here to talk about the real estate. Just know that if we ever caught our non-existent man playing that mess, we’d slap him so hard that we guarantee he wouldn’t even feel it.
Anyway, back to Brandon “Ryze” Beck and Marc “Tryndamere” Merrill, the dudes who unleashed this terror on God’s green earth. Although we’d spied on some of their prior real estate moves, it was early 2015 when the pair made their first really big splash on Yolanda’s high-end real estate radar. Y’all may or may not recall that it was Mr. Brandon Beck, after all, who (in January 2015) forked out a stunning $21,500,000 for the humongous 15,600-square-foot Brentwood mansion of NFL star turned media mogul Michael Strahan. Not bad for a 32-year-old fella. But we digress!
Mr. Beck’s crib is pretty sweet and all, but it’s our Mr. Merrill who we shall discuss today. His real estate moves are somewhat quieter but certainly no less spendy and impressive than those of his co-founder.
To start things off, let’s rewind back to 2011. That year, Mr. Merrill plunked down $4,445,000 for a large (6,522-square-foot, 6-bed, 7-bath) Mediterranean-style house in a nice, leafy part of Santa Monica. The property sports a small guesthouse but unfortunately does not offer a pool or spa.
As far as Yolanda knows, this house continues to serve as the main residence of Mr. Merrill, his wife Ashley Merrill, and his young family.
However, this is not the only Santa Monica property owned by the Merrills. In March 2014, they threw down an even-steven $8,000,000 (through something called Ashmere Property LLC) for a large but somewhat strange-looking house on a prime and private 3.26-acre lot at the end of a cul-de-sac in the hippy-dippy and lefty-liberal Rustic Canyon neighborhood on the border of Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades. Whew!
The 10,000+ square foot single-story structure has (or had, actually) 10 bedrooms and 8 bathrooms. And for the life of us, Yolanda can’t tell y’all what the proper architectural vernacular is for this thing. Is it Japanese-influenced? A woodsy midcentury modern? A unique take on a ranch-style traditional? Whatever the case, it don’t matter much anymore.
What did Mr. Merrill do with this 1969 oddball? Well, give him a giant foam finger and call him Miley ’cause he broke out the damn wrecking ball. Within a few months the whole house was gone. Destroyed to make way for Mr. Merrill’s grand plans!
Now, you might think that a vacant 3.26-acre lot would be enough space for Mr. and Mrs. Merrill to build their dream compound. But nope. Apparently not! Much to Yolanda’s surprise, the couple threw down another $9,300,000 just last month for the 1.91-acre property immediately next door.
What’s odd about this is that this particular house sold only last September (2016) for just $6,500,000 to music industry mogul Cameron Strang. All Mr. Strang had to do was hold the property for six months and — voila! — he made himself a fat ass $2.7 million profit. How y’all like them apples — what’s that old saying about the rich gettin’ richer and all that?
Unlike the weirdo house next door, this 1956 structure actually has a real fancy pedigree. The post-and-beam was constructed by vaunted architecture firm Buff, Straub & Hensmen and is located on a bucolic Pacific Palisades lane. Though the home borders busy-busy Sunset Boulevard, y’all would never know it. Many mature oaks and sycamores dot the premises.
It would seem that Mr. and Mrs. Merrill wanted this property very, very badly. And who could blame them? With this acquisition, their future compound now has access from both Rustic Canyon and Sunset Boulevard. Convenient and totally baller-style. Yolanda does approve!
Except we don’t approve of demolishing this beauty, as we suspect the Merrills will want to do. This place is beautiful and would function as a perfect guest house! We’ll even move in just to prove that point, Mr. & Mrs. Merrill.
But we digress yet again. According to our calculations, Mr. & Mrs. Merrill have spent $17,300,000 for their 5.17-acre compound. And while that may seem like a crazy amount of money to toss away on a teardown — and it is — rest assured that Mr. and Mrs. Merrill still have lots more cash to spend on real estate, as they aptly demonstrated back in June 2016.
Back in June, y’all see, Mr. & Mrs. Merrill ponied up a very A-list $13,085,000 for a rather gorgeous oceanfront house on Malibu’s coveted Malibu Road. The 4-bedroom, 4-bath property was designed by prolific Malibu developer Scott Gillen of UNVARNISHED and features exposed beam 12’+ ceilings, hand scraped oak floors, Fleetwood sliding glass doors, and a custom gourmet kitchen with European Caesarstone counters and high-end Wolf appliances, all per the listing.
By Yolanda’s tabulations, Mr. Merrill now owns approximately $35 million in luxury Los Angeles real estate. And that’s not counting, of course, the many millions he will spend to construct a big-ass compound on his prime, 5+ acre lot in the Santa Monica/Pacific Palisades wilderness. And he will spend those millions and millions more, trust. We’d bet all our jewels on that.
See? Yolanda is a bit of a gamer herself, after all.