The ongoing pandemic may have thrown a mansion-sized wrench into the U.S. real estate market, but summer’s here and there are still billionaires with ample cash reserves for a lavish vacation home. Bronfman family scion and liquor heiress Ellen Bronfman Hauptman is one of those; she and her husband, former Chicago Fire soccer club owner Andrew Hauptman, recently paid $21.5 million for a sprawling estate in prime Malibu.
Built in 2001, the Tuscan-style villa spans about 6,600 square feet of living space on a 1.2-acre blufftop lot that’s notably long and narrow. In the mid-aughts, the house was acquired by Jeff Lubell and Kym Gold, the then-married owners of True Religion jeans. After the couple split, Gold sold the house in 2015 for $18.5 million to Grant and Patty Sims, a philanthropic couple from Houston who made their fortune in the oil and gas sector, and purchased the property as a vacation home.
From the highway out front, a camera-monitored gate allows access to a long, downward sloping driveway that dead-ends at the U-shaped mansion. Though the house appears rather squat from the outside, the interiors boast high ceilings and a properly airy beach vibe, with big windows and foldaway glass doors drinking in the A+ views.
The public rooms perform their best imitation of an Italian country estate, with a mix of stone and hardwood floors, plus a cook’s kitchen with a rustic wooden island and what appears to be a La Cornue range. From the kitchen, dual barn doors slide open to a family room, and there are also fireplace-equipped living and dining rooms.
All five of the home’s bedrooms have ensuite baths, and the master is additionally upgraded with a fireplace, a walk-in closet with its own crystal chandelier, and a bathroom that wouldn’t look out of place in a five-star resort. The bedroom opens to a covered lanai, equipped with its own fireplace, that overlooks the backyard swimming pool and the ocean beyond.
Outdoor amenities are plentiful and include a full-size sports court, grassy lawns, a putting green, mature olive and magnolia trees, formal gardens, and a stone fountain built into the courtyard entrance. In the backyard, a grassy lawn offers an in-ground trampoline, and below that a wooden staircase leads down the bluff to one of the best surf spots in all of Malibu.
As the only daughter of Canadian multibillionaire Charles Bronfman, longtime L.A. resident Bronfman Hauptman was born into a family that has been called the “perhaps the single largest force in the Jewish charitable world,” though they are probably still best-known for their ownership of Seagram, the now-defunct liquor giant that was the world’s top producer of alcoholic beverages in the 1990s. With her husband, Bronfman Hauptman founded Andell Holdings, a private family office that has diversified holdings, including ownership stakes in apartment complexes and media companies.
In 2007, Andrew Hauptman — through Andell — paid $35 million for the Chicago Fire professional soccer club, which he subsequently built into a $400 million franchise. Last year, he sold a majority interest in the club to billionaire Joe Mansueto, in a deal valued at $204 million.
And back in 2017, the Bronfman-Hauptman family downsized their L.A. living circumstances, in a manner of speaking, by purchasing a $16 million Brentwood Park estate that remains their main residence. They subsequently sold their impressive Bel Air compound, which consisted of a main house designed by minimalist architect John Pawson and guesthouse designed by Paul R. Williams, in an $85 million deal to Japanese tycoon Hideki Tomita.