Yolanda can’t apologize effusively enough for being so AWOL these past few weeks. What can we say? We’re a busy beotch. But we’re back now and ready to catch up on the million+ stories we missed out on over the past month or so. Let’s kick things off with a quick tale about a relatively low-profile but unfathomably rich heir to a candy fortune who recently threw down the big bucks on a highly-private and sublimely-located compound that straddles the border between Beverly Hills and the Hollywood Hills.
The property in question was for sale for a very long time — at least a year or so. Yolanda seems to recall it was once priced at more than $20 million, but don’t quote us on that because we’re not totally certain the booze hasn’t addled what little brains we have remaining. Capiche?
Anyway, the “property” is actually two separate (but adjacent) parcels with two different addresses and two separate homes.
The sellers of both parcels, property records reveal, were a couple named John & Lacey Williams. Our Mrs. Williams, y’all may be interested to know, happens to be a daughter of the late Eileen Ford, the formidable “grande dame of the modeling world” who with her husband Jerry founded the elite Ford Models agency in New York City.
In 1996, the Williamses purchased a home on the edge of Beverly Hills, right next door to the super-hot Trousdale Estates ‘hood. The structure is Mediterranean-style and clocks in at 4,592-square-feet with just 2 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, according to property records.
Sometime around late 2015, Yolanda thinks, Mr. and Mrs. Williams decided to sell their house, which is located in a tiny gated community that encompasses just one street: historic La Collina Drive.
Now this may seem strange to us mere financial mortals, but upon deciding to sell, Mr. & Mrs. Williams immediately plunked down $7,250,000 to buy their next door neighbor’s house. As for why they would do such a bizarre thing, their neighbor’s property is situated directly behind their own home — meaning that any potential development of their lot by prospective buyers would be restricted by the neighbor’s driveway access and such. Mr. and Mrs. Williams, it seems, realized that the two homes were worth more to potential buyers as one large compound than as two separate residences.
But we digress. Both homes appear to have their own pools and separate guest cottages. And though the current structures appear to be in decent condition, the property was marketed as a teardown — an “amazing opportunity to build an over 30,000 sq. ft. home on a rare 2.68 acre lot”. This month (April 2017) a big-bucks buyer finally bit the bullet, paying $14,980,000 for the entire kit and caboodle.
Though the new owner’s identity is (of course!) shielded behind the usual corporate veil, Yolanda happens to know it is a fellow named Stephen Badger. Our Mr. Badger is a 48-year-old guy with money. Serious money. Our Mr. Badger, you see, happens to be a great-grandson of Frank C. Mars, who founded the candy company Mars, Incorporated way back in 1911. More than a century later, the massive conglomerate ($33 billion in sales reported in 2015) remains entirely owned by the Mars family. Thus, y’all can see how Mr. Badger is very, very rich. His mother Jacqueline Mars is currently ranked as the world’s 26th richest person (and third-richest woman) and makes do with a net worth of $27 billion, according to Forbes.
Despite their vast wealth, the Mars clan remains deliberately low-profile. By all accounts, Mr. Badger has — until recently — led a relatively unassuming and quiet life in his current digs over in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is also a part-time documentary/film producer.
Yolanda is — naturally — not privy to Mr. Badger’s plans for the estate, but based on his real estate history we’re gonna toss out an educated guess that says he’ll raze the whole big beotch and construct something idiosyncratic and hideously costly. You see, this is not the first multi-million dollar property in LA owned by Mr. Badger. Back in June 2014, he plunked down $4,675,000 to purchase a very unique house at the tippy-top of a very steep and notoriously celebrified street that’s located in the Hollywood Hills and directly behind the legendary Chateau Marmont.
This house, y’all may be interested to know, was custom-built in 2009 to the specifications of another obscenely-rich heir: Johnson & Johnson scion John Lansing Johnson-Teal, son of major real estate baller Libet Johnson. The 3,000-square-foot abode was designed by LA-based architecture firm Space International and includes lots of wood and glass and cool features like a koi pond and an outdoor shower.
Some of the celebrity homeowners on the same street include Jimmy Kimmel, Sandra Bullock, and the Pepsi-swiggin’ socialite Kendall Jenner. But even they weren’t enough to keep Mr. Badger around. In August 2016, barely two years after acquiring it, Mr. Badger dumped the oddball property for $5,150,000 to young-ish music executive Aaron Bay Schuck.
Back to his new property. We don’t know if Mr. Badger is interested in this — he has the money to build just about anything he wants, after all — but as part of the nearly $15 million purchase price, his new compound came with renderings and plans for a big glassy modern palace.
There’s something undeniably cool and quintessentially LA about living in a enormous glass house overlooking the twinkling skyline of the city below, although Yolanda can’t help feeling that this sort of design is all a bit cliché and humdrum at this point. But who are we to judge? And regardless, Yolanda has a feeling that Mr. Badger will put some sort of eccentric — and sweet, get it? — spin on whatever he ultimately builds way up here.
Let’s wait and see.
Listing agents: Joyce Rey, Coldwell Banker; Arlene Rutenberg
Mr. Badger’s agent: H. Blair Chang, The Agency