Yolanda would like to apologize for being AWOL for the past couple days. No, we weren’t held hostage at gunpoint or trapped in a never-ending Liza Minnelli / Larry King interview video loop. We were just busy with some boring personal issues! Got it?
Now, as we’ve told you before, Malibu is far more than just another pretty face. She’s not just about her beach, her surf, her sunkissed shores, and the bleached blondes and the over-tanned tragedies who populate the sands. The majority of Malibu is actually rolling hills, craggy cliffs, verdant canyons.
Naturally, the beach town’s oceanfront property gets the most press and commands the highest prices. But that’s not to say that those other, less-celebrated parts of the city can’t get the fat checks, too.
A massive chunk of remote, essentially undeveloped hillside Malibu land sold last month for somewhere between $14 and $15 million, among the biggest sales in the scenic community this year. Although we didn’t have any advance intel about who the buyer was, Yolanda was naturally curious.
Well, kids, we can’t lie. We were downright shocked — nay, flabbergasted — when we took a wee gander at property records and realized that the mysterious “Omni Assets” entity that purchased the property is the exact same one which only two years ago paid a ridiculous $74,000,000 (in cash) for the long-ago-demolished former “Disney estate” in Holmby Hills.
And as Yolanda first (publicly) revealed — and as most everyone now knows — Omni Assets is a front for Chinese heiress Zhang Jiale and her family.
For those who may be unaware, Miss Zhang is one of four outrageously spoiled children of billionaire Mainland China insurance tycoon Zhang Jun. Her (in)famously flashy lifestyle has been frequently plastered all over social media, blogs, and the press. She’s often seen receiving Aston Martins as birthday gifts, cavorting with her many gal-pals on superyachts, and popping bottles all over the globe.
The thing that rather surprised us about this purchase is that Mr. Zhang’s primary source of income — his enormous “Sino Life” firm that is one of China’s largest life insurance policy holders — is currently under investigation by the Chinese government. This follows Mr. Zhang’s recent detention by government authorities “to assist with a bribery probe related to a government official”. Hmm.
Forbes estimated Mr. Zhang has a net worth of $1.1 billion, but given that he and his close associated own more than 90% of the Sino Life company — with assets in excess of $60 billion USD — and has other business ventures in China, including real estate and electronics manufacturing, we wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if that net worth estimation is actually quite conservative.
We have absolutely no idea why Miss Zhang — who is known as “King” by those close to her — and/or her family would want a whopping 312 (or so) acres of remote Malibu land. But as of this July, that’s what she’s got.
The property is actually three giant contiguous parcels tucked way up in the northwestern corner of Malibu. And when we say remote, Yolanda means remote. This is about as off-the-grid as Malibu comes, beotches. It’s even more out-of-the way than the rustic ranch Daryl Hannah recently sold to her boytoy Neil Young. More remote than Caitlyn Jenner’s paid, too.
Two of the three parcels were acquired together from the same sellers — a doctor and his wife — for a total of $14,000,000. This property, which totals 234 acres, has just two structures on the land: one 3-bedroom ranch-style house and a 3-bed guest house. There’s a walled and gated dirt driveway off a canyon road.
Much of the land is rolling hills and steep ravines, but there appear to be multiple (relatively) flat promontaries on the land, each of which could potentially accommodate at least one sizable mansion.
Anyway, at first we thought Miss Zhang (and/or her family) owned just those two pieces of land. 234 acres is plenty, right?
But no. While browsing through the neighboring properties, Yolanda discovered that back in May (2016) the Zhang family quietly acquired a nearly-80-acre undeveloped tract of land immediately adjacent to the other two parcels they just purchased. According to our math whiz nephew’s tabulations, the Zhangs now hold title to 312 acres of unspoiled hills, some of it with gorgeous views of the famously picturesque California coastline.
Yolanda confesses she has absolutely no idea what plans Miss Zhang and her family have for the enormous swath of all-but-vacant property. Maybe it’s just a good place to stash some cash. Maybe they’s develop a new luxury gated community. Or maybe, just maybe, they’ll use the property to construct an enormous, high-style, and totally outrageous mega-compound anchored by a 50,000 square foot main mansion.
As far as we know, the Zhang parents reside primarily in China, while three of their four children (including Miss King Zhang) currently occupy the massive Carolwood estate — more details to follow. The fourth and eldest Zhang child — Annie Zhang — is married and, so we’ve been told, lives in the relatively-unsung northern Orange County community of Yorba Linda, CA.
Records reveal Annie Zhang forked over $4,150,000 for her Yorba Linda house back in June 2014. The transaction was all-cash. Naturally. At the time, it was reported to be the biggest sale in Yorba Linda — and in all of north Orange County — in four years.
Miss Zhang’s primary residence is a 35,000-square-foot mega-mansion in the Holmby Hills area of Los Angeles, originally the site of Walt Disney’s longtime home. That house was demolished in the 1990s by billionaire Gabriel Brener. It was Mr. Brener who sold the house to the Zhang family for the $74,000,000 in cash.