Although L.A.’s high-end real estate market has recently been faltering, cash-flush tech entrepreneurs have kept it on life support with their headline-grabbing purchases. Uber’s Garrett Camp famously dropped $72.5 million in Beverly Hills, WeWork’s Michael Gross bought a $28 million Brentwood estate, and former Facebook COO Owen Van Natta nabbed a $10 million Santa Monica beach shack.
And more continue to follow their lead. Last month, a brand-new Bel Air mansion sold for $15.3 million in what may have been an all-cash deal. The buyer is Peter Szulczewski, a newly-anointed tech billionaire who is co-founder and CEO of Wish, one of San Francisco’s hottest startups.
Spec-built by a local developer and completed earlier this year, the ultra-contemporary manse sits on a half-acre lot atop a steep ridge, looming directly above Rupert Murdoch’s $30 million vineyard estate. Included in the nearly 12,000 square feet of house is an attached “auto gallery” with space for five luxury vehicles. Though there isn’t much of a front yard, the walled, gated and camera-watched estate additionally features a wee motorcourt for off-street parking.
Guests to the residence will be awed by the all-glass entryway flanked on each side by monolithic slabs of gray stone that soar from the ground to above the home’s roofline. An almost comically massive front door pivots open to a double-height foyer replete with pale brown hardwood flooring, and the adjoining central great room opens to various other spaces — an eat-in kitchen with thickly-veined marble countertops, a formal dining area, and cushy movie theater. Naturally, the ultra-contemporary abode is outfitted with trendy Fleetwood glass sliders, effectively blurring the line between indoors and out in that quintessentially Southern California manner.
Five of the home’s seven bedrooms are located upstairs, with the later two presumably for live-in staff and/or errant houseguests. The master suite has a private sitting room and outdoor terrace lounge, along with the expected boutique-worthy closet and sunny bathroom. Other luxe property amenities include a gym, two wet bars, a 430-bottle wine closet, Control4 home automation, plus an indoor spa and steam room.
Sprawling patios provide numerous options for lounging, sunbathing, al fresco dining or event hosting. There’s also a perfectly rectangular patch of grass anchored by a waterfall feature. And, of course, there’s the fan-shaped infinity pool, with its inset spa, Baja shelf and swim-up bar — perfect for those who enjoy tipsy backstroking — and its jetliner views that extend to the Pacific Ocean and Catalina island on the horizon.
It’s worth noting that although the property is technically located in Bel Air, this is nowhere near the ultra-plum “lower Bel Air” neighborhood — home to Jay-Z and Beyonce, among numerous other billionaires — but rather in a far-flung western corner that’s geographically much closer to Brentwood.
Born and bred in Warsaw, Poland, Szulczewski immigrated to the U.S. by way of Canada. The former Google engineer co-founded Wish — which recently attracted $500 million in investment capital — in 2010 and remains the cut-price e-commerce platform’s largest shareholder, having reportedly turned down acquisition overtures from both Amazon and Alibaba.
Szulczewski compares Wish’s success to Trump’s presidential campaign, saying the firm became the world’s most downloaded e-commerce app by relying heavily on bargain-hunting users from Middle America, folks who constitute the majority of his customer base and are unable to afford the comparatively premium prices of competitors like Amazon Prime.