It’s no secret that the once-gritty but now mostly-gentrified (yet still bohemian!) seaside community of Venice (CA) is exceptionally expensive. Leading the unstoppable price surge has been the rise of Silicon Beach and the hundreds tech companies that have infiltrated the area. Google, YouTube, Buzzfeed, Facebook — all have offices in the area. And then, of course, there’s Snapchat. The bizarrely-popular messaging app started in Pacific Palisades — at the home of Evan Spiegel‘s wealthy father — before soon moving to a wee beach bungalow in Venice, where it’s been annoying the pitchfork-wielding neighbors since 2013. From there, the app has grown exponentially and gobbled up tons of real estate.
Our Mr. Spiegel is unquestionably the Snapchat superstar, the somwhat-douchey face to the business. The Ferrari-driving jetsetter will soon be married to supermodel Miranda Kerr and together they live in a huge Brentwood mansion that once belonged to Harrison Ford.
His co-founder Bobby Murphy, however, — despite having similar wealth and power — is a “virtually unknown entity” outside of the company. In contrast to his high-profile business partner/former college buddy, the 28-year-old billionaire lives quietly in Venice with his long-time lady love, wife Kelsey Bateman. The pair met as undergrad students at Stanford and have been together ever since. (Random side note: one of Yolanda’s best friends also happens to be good friends with Ms. Bateman. Real small world! But we digress.)
Despite his low-key nature, you may recall that Snapchat recently went public and made both Mr. Spiegel and Mr. Murphy multi-billionaires. So it’s only natural that Mr. Murphy — now one of the richest men in Los Angeles — might want to invest some of that cash into a (relatively) safe haven like real estate. And so he has — quietly, of course.
Back in June 2016, powerhouse film director Louis Leterrier sold his microscopic (784-square-foot) Venice cottage for a throat-constricting $4,950,000 to a mysterious LLC. A few months later (March 2017) another cottage in a less sexy area of Venice sold for $2,265,000 to a different LLC. Both corporate entities, y’all may be interested to know, link back to the very same LA law firm.
Much to Yolanda’s surprise, a little investigation reveals that both corporate entities are controlled by a guy named Robert Cornelius Murphy — better known as our boy Mr. Bobby Murphy, of course. We were surprised, kiddies, because we imagined a big billionaire like Mr. Murphy would be ready for a huge fancy new mansion somewhere and not two tiny (albeit obscenely expensive) Venice shacks.
Seems his loyalty to the neighborhood runs deep. Kinda admirable in a way, no?
Mr. Murphy’s largest purchase to date (that Yolanda knows of) is above. Yeah, we know she’s not much to look at, but this thing really did sell for $5 million. No lie!
For those of you wondering what would possess Mr. Murphy to pay more than $6,000 per square foot for this cottage, keep in mind that it is located in one the of Venice’s loveliest areas — and on a privately-situated double lot that fronts a little-used pathway. The .16-acre property may seem meager to most folks but it’s actually quite large for this tightly-packed neighborhood.
Anyway, the current 1922 structure includes just two bedrooms and one measly bathroom. There’s also a medieval dining room table — if it can be called that — a dated (but cheerful!) kitchen with sea-blue tile, and a wooden deck overlooking the immense (for Venice) backyard.
At 1,611-square-feet, Mr. Murphy’s other new Venice house is much larger than the first structure, but it’s still microscopic by billionaire standards.
Located east of Lincoln Boulevard, the 1952 residence has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, plus a two-car garage. There’s nice hardwood floors, a kitchen with newer appliances and a center island, and plenty of outdoor space. The .18-acre property sports lush tropical landscaping.
Yolanda confesses we are uncertain about what Mr. Murphy’s intentions are for these properties, but as far as we know both structures remain standing. And somehow Yolanda kinda doubts he’ll destroy them to put up some tacky monstrosity. We don’t think he’s really that type of guy. We could be wrong.
Mr. Murphy and Ms. Bateman’s current main residence (above) is a boxy 2,250-square-foot house located just a block or so from the Venice beach (and walking distance to Snapchat headquarters!). The 2-bed/2.5-bath contemporary was completed in 2013 and purchased that same year by Mr. Murphy for $2,100,000.
Altogether, Yolanda’s maths show that Mr. Murphy has spent $9,315,000 on his three Venice homes. That’s a ton of money to almost every other 28-year-old guy, but certainly not one who happens to be worth $4.5 billion (per Forbes).
Yolanda may be far too old to understand the Snapchat phenomenon, but apparently there are 150 million young’uns out there who do enjoy it. And they have made our Mr. Murphy, in case we didn’t already mention it, an unusually rich young man. And his real estate story is just now beginning!
Listing agent (first property): Kerry Ann Sullivan, Halton Pardee and Partners
Listing agent (second property): Todd Stein, Campbell Wellman Properties
Mr. Murphy’s agent: Todd Stein, Campbell Wellman Properties