High-end real estate everywhere in LA is hotter than ever, but real estate in the once-gritty-but-now-gentrified-and-blazingly-expensive seaside community of Venice (CA) is particularly so. Yolanda has written about the area more than once — including our discussion of actress Emilia Clarke’s stunning new spread — but admittedly we don’t give the neighborhood as much attention as it deserves.
So instead of discussing yet another honkin’ mansion in the Platinum Triangle, let’s rectify all that. Off to the beach we go.
Venice has long been known for its large artistic community and boho-chic residents. Recently, however, the advent of Silicon Beach has caused many wealthy young tech yuppies to move in. Supposedly they crave the offbeat lifestyle and value the architecture of the many contemporary residences. There’s also plenty of trendy hotspots in the area, although we’re much too old to know anything about that. In any case, they’ve driven prices exceedingly high.
Take this 4,930-square-foot non-oceanfront blocky contemporary by noted architect Frederick Fisher. Placed on the market with a gutsy asking price of $5,775,000 last June (2016), the house sold in just six weeks for $5,675,000 to a mysterious LLC. The new owners then proceeded to spend another fat wad of cash redoing the home’s interiors.
Although Yolanda naturally assumed the buyer was a young tech whippersnapper, we’ve learned that is not the case. Rather, the wealthy new owners are a couple in their 60s named Jim & Sujo Offield. Our Mr. Offield, bless his heart, happens to be a great-grandson of William Wrigley, Junior. In 1891, Mr. Wrigley founded what has become a $4.4 billion chewing gum empire. The Wrigley family — including the great-grandchildren and beyond — remains exuberantly wealthy, as they reportedly still owned a significant number of the company’s shares around the time the company was sold to Mars in 2008 for $23 billion.
Anyway, here’s the house.
Located on a wide street that’s an easy walk to both trendy Abbott Kinney and the beach, the house is partially shielded from view by come tall trees and dense foliage. It’s also got a rather forbidding facade, with a courtyard gate blocking the entrance and minimal windows. Though it’s got nearly 5,000-square-feet of living space — bigger than many mini-mansions — it surprisingly packs in just 2 bedrooms and 2.75 bathrooms.
Once inside the front door, things turn yellow — very yellow. Still, it’s spacious, there’s plenty of natural light, and the floors are white oak. The combination living/dining room was completely redone by the Offields, Yolanda understands.
There’s also a private library with bookshelves and a bountiful selection of books. Out back is a bamboo coutyard with a reflecting pool (?). Nice place to sit and contemplate or host a few friends.
The kitchen may look dated, but it’s full of all the highest of high end appliances: SubZero, Wolf, Miele.
Upstairs there’s a whole semitrailer-sized load of books. Seriously. Property records show the sellers of the house were two non-celebrity gentlemen, and we must applaud them on their book collecting skills. Even Yolanda cannot compete. We also like that convenient wooden ladder, as it reminds us of one of our favorite movie scenes.
The house was built back in 2003, although (just between y’all and Yolanda) it rather looks as though it was constructed sometime in the 1980s. That’s not necessarily a bad thing — although many might argue otherwise — but like we said, Mr. & Mrs. Offield have already completed a thorough renovation of the interiors.
Our gum-rich Mr. Offield resides primarily in Fort Lauderdale (Florida) and property records show he has owned and sold multiple properties in that town, occasionally taking financial losses on them.
In June 2012, Mr. Offield paid $4,690,000 for a nearly 8,000-square-foot waterfront Mediterranean McMansion. Although the house had lots of snazzy features — an outdoor BBQ area, massage room, salon, workout area, wine storage, and a bizarre blue great room with a neon sign saying “Passions” — the house was resold in November 2015 for just $3,725,000. That means poor Mr. Offield took a million-dollar gut punch on the property, not counting maintenance and tax expenses.
Don’t cry for the Offields, though. They can afford it.
You seem, the richie-rich couple were not selling because they were downsizing in Fort Lauderdale. Oh no. Instead, Mr. & Mrs. Offield moved to a brand-new 7,707-square-foot contemporary waterfront crib that they custom-built and completed in early 2016. The property includes an infinity pool w/ attached spa, a “designer chefs kitchen” with walk-in cooler and Sub-Zero/Wolf appliances with wine storage, five party-ready “VIP suites”, each with their own wet bar (!!), and an elevator.
As fickle rich people often do, however, Mr. & Mrs. Offield changed their minds about their chosen place of residence. They all up and decided to move to the West Coast! Thus, their new-fangled Florida crib was put up for sale with an asking price of $9,000,000 in August (2016). With no takers, the asking price then dropped precipitously to $7,750,000 last December, where it remains. Given that the couple paid $4,670,000 for the land and then spent a considerable amount of money to construct this property, we doubt that they will be able to gain any significant return on their investment.
Que sera and all that.
P.S. Lest you think that this is the only interesting architectural residence owned by a Wrigley heir in California, let Yolanda assure you this is absolutely not the case. The family has a real penchant for idiosyncratic homes. Down in high-priced Laguna Beach (CA), a 1919 Arts & Crafts spread belonging to Mr. Offield’s late brother — Paxton “Packy” Offield — was listed for sale shortly after his death with an asking price of $11,900,000.
And then there’s Alison Wrigley Rusack, who in 2005 dropped a baller-style $50 million on the historic Florestal estate in Santa Barbara. According to our Montecito-based informant Barbara Bane, Mrs. Wrigley Rusack has majorly overhauled the entire property, including an expansion of the 1927 Colonial Revival main house from 16,000 sq ft to 23,000 sq ft. There also appears to be a private lake on the grounds, which is pretty cool in of itself.
The Wrigley family, for those young’uns that may not know, were also the folks who developed SoCal’s lovely Catalina Island into a major tourist destination.
Listing agent (Venice): James Bremner, Gibson International
Mr. & Mrs. Offield’s agent (Venice): Aaron Kirman, John Aaroe Group
Mr. & Mrs. Offield’s agent (Fort Lauderdale): Donald Colonello, Douglas Elliman