The mid-city L.A. neighborhood of Hancock Park is known for its painstakingly preserved historic homes, large lots and graceful architecture, but one of the area’s most infamous properties was — for at least two years — a crater-looking vacant lot on a particularly prestigious street.
Graffiti-covered and long neglected, the stalled project was the handiwork of Robert Quigg, an erstwhile developer who fled the country with his mistress in late 2016, leaving behind a long trail of large debts, nearly a half-dozen unfinished home projects in the Hancock Park area, and big-money buyers upset at the quality of his workmanship.
The property sat abandoned until early 2018, when it was resold in bankruptcy proceedings to Onward Capital LLC, a real estate development entity managed by Michael Shlomof of the Shlomof clan, a wealthy Beverly Hills-based family. Shlomof subsequently developed a three-story showstopper of a spec mansion with more than 14,000 square feet of glitzy living space, every room brimming with exceptional levels of luxury.
Listed in July, the house sold in just three months for $13.75 million, an amount that ranks it the second-biggest transaction on record in Hancock Park — behind only the $16 million that Netflix bigshot Ted Sarandos and his Beverly Hills-bred wife Nicole Avant paid for the so-called Isidor Eisner estate, sold by now-divorced actors Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas back in 2015.
And the nearly $14 million buyer — who appears to have paid cash — is local L.A. based businessman Matthew Katz, the founder and CEO of Verifi, a payment protection and management firm that was acquired by Visa for an undisclosed sum earlier this year.
Katz’s new Italian villa-style sprawler looms imposingly over the streetfront, set high behind decorative fences and rigorously symmetrical lawns and hedges. A wooden front door leads into a glamorous foyer overlooked by a balcony and skylight. White oak hardwood flooring and milky white walls imbue the place with a casual yet decidedly chic vibe, emphasized by the addition of gold-tinged accessories and marble accents.
To the left of the foyer is a dining room with paneled walls; to the right is a living room with fireplace. Both rooms feature two sets of glassy French doors overlooking the front gardens. Just beyond the living room is a moody study with walls painted a glossy near-black, beyond that a sunny music room/conservatory with walls of glass overlooking the backyard. Connected to the dining room is a butler’s pantry that leads to an enormous gourmet kitchen featuring marble backsplashes and countertops, a breakfast nook and top-of-the-line appliances from Wolf and SubZero. The kitchen conveniently opens to a massive family room with marble-encrusted fireplace and foldaway glass doors spilling out to the gardens.
Upstairs, the house-sized, 2,000 sq. ft. master suite comprises its own private wing and sports an interesting parquet wood flooring treatment, a sitting area with brick fireplace, and his/hers marble baths and boutique-style dressing rooms. Also upstairs are three more family bedrooms, each with their own ensuite bath, walk-in closets and private balconies.
The home’s semi-subterranean lower level is every bit as luxurious as the upper floors. There’s a second living room that gazes — via walls of glass — into an outdoor greenhouse-style garden. Other amenities include plenty of storage space, a stunning marble-topped wet bar, glassy walk-in wine closet, an 18-seat soundproof movie theater, a mirror-walled gym, massage room, a “wellness center” with indoor pool, steam shower and sauna, and two more guest bedroom suites — one currently outfitted as a lounge/games room with pool table.
The .46-acre property’s resort-style backyard was inspired by outsized extravagance of St. Tropez, per the listing, and includes a negative-edge pool/spa combo, an outdoor kitchen/BBQ area, cabana with outdoor fireplace, and a two-car garage showcase — plus plenty of patio space for al fresco dining, of course.
Katz, 39, currently resides in the mountains above Beverly Hills, in an area of Los Angeles city known as Beverly Hills Post Office. His 90210 digs, acquired back in 2013 for about $3.8 million, span nearly 6,000 square feet in a vaguely Mediterranean-style mansion, set on a one-third acre hillside lot.
Some of Katz’s nearest new Hancock Park neighbors include Nate Berkus, Shonda Rhimes, Brian Robbins, and Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne.