After a lengthy spell spent as a renter in Beverly Hills’ fashionable Trousdale Estates enclave, controversial Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick has decided to grow some permanent real estate roots in Los Angeles. According to the Wall Street Journal, he’s plunked down $43.3 million for a huge home near the mouth of the East Gate Bel Air neighborhood. (Though the property was technically acquired by an LLC, a careful examination of property records reveals plenty of evidence that Kalanick was indeed the buyer.)
The seller was Arizona-based real estate tycoon Chris Cole, who picked up the estate in 2014 for $38 million in cash, yet reportedly never moved into the house. Instead, Cole first attempted to flip the property at a multimillion-dollar loss before removing it from the market and subjecting it to a multi-year renovation. Upon completion of construction, the property was put up for sale with an optimistic $75 million pricetag, later reduced to $68 million.
Despite the heavily discounted $43.3 million sale price, this is still 2020’s fourth-biggest L.A. home sale thus far, behind only Jeff Bezos’ record-breaking $165 million splurge in Beverly Hills, Foxconn heir Jeffrey Gou’s $75 million compound purchase in the Bird Streets, and Honey founder George Ruan’s $60 million acquisition of a snazzy estate elsewhere in Bel Air.
Originally built in the early 1930s, Kalanick’s modern Spanish Colonial manse spans about 20,000 square feet of living space across multiple wings. From the 1970s until 2005, the house was owned by the late Georgia Frontiere, the high-profile businesswoman and longtime owner of the Los Angeles Rams football team.
The property has two separate entrances, both gated and camera-secured for privacy. The main drive leads to a stone motorcourt with plenty of guest parking and to the estate’s front door. Inside, the massive home sports a cohesive decor theme of opulent minimalism, with muted neutral colors accented by pops of gold, and plenty of light from numerous steel windows.
There are formal dining and living rooms, both with exceptionally high ceilings, and a skylit kitchen that still manages to appear homey, despite its impressive scale. Other spaces include a library, a private office with sensational floor-to-ceiling windows, a clubby lounge room with a wet bar and fireplace, and a wine cellar with room for thousands of bottles.
Upstairs, the baronial master bedroom has a sitting area, dual spa-style baths and dual showroom closets that puts some Rodeo Drive boutiques to shame. Altogether, the master retreat encompasses some 2,500 square feet of lavish living space, substantially larger than the average American home.
Though the 1.7-acre lot is shaped somewhat oddly — from certain angles it resembles a leaping shark, of all things — there are numerous outdoor entertaining spaces and amenities. Chief among these is a large courtyard with an outdoor fireplace, fountains and an alfresco dining area. There’s also a classically rectangular swimming pool with inset spa and Baja shelf for sunbathing, plus a full-size tennis court. A poolside cabana has another wet bar, plus plenty of space for shady respite. The Mediterranean-esque grounds are landscaped with beautiful olive trees, hearty grasses and towering hedges for privacy.
Before moving to Bel Air, Kalanick bunked up in Beverly Hills, in a very private estate owned by financier Mitch Julis. That house was last offered for lease at a breathtaking rate of $100,000/month.
And like many of his profligate billionaire peers, the billionaire tech tycoon also owns other luxury homes. In fall 2018, he paid about $36.4 million for in a glam New York City penthouse, and he continues to own a luxury property in San Francisco, not far from Uber’s Market Street headquarters.
But Kalanick, now in his mid-40s, is now all but a memory at Uber. After resigning as CEO in 2017, the L.A. native recently departed the company’s board of directors. And he’s since sold off more than 90% of his stock, reaping him a $2.5 billion cash windfall but leaving him with only a tiny piece of ownership in the tech juggernaut he co-founded.