Those of you who have been following real estate gossip for at least the last few years (and particularly LA real estate gossip) may recall the epic World War III: Mohamed Hadid vs. All His Neighbors. Oh, the horror! There was much fighting, tears shed, and gnashing of teeth up there in the hills of Bel Air. Y’all can read more about it here and here, if anyone dares.
The saga continues with minor skirmishes but the battle really came to a head in July 2015, when Mr. Hadid’s 89-year-old wheelchair-bound widow of a next door neighbor was interviewed (and photographed) at her home by the Daily Mail. Carole Cramer — that was her name — was clearly in fragile health at the time. But she still made sure to let her interviewer know that Hadid had called her a “bitch” and had (allegedly) stolen a strip of her 2.6-acre property in order to build a retaining wall. According to Mrs. Cramer, Hadid brazenly took the land because she “would die soon” anyway.
Yikes! Yolanda really hopes those allegations were not true. In any case, Mrs. Cramer passed on to the other side less than a year later, in April 2016.
For the last 50+ years of her life, Mrs. Cramer had presided over a sublimely-located 2.6-acre property in the heart of lower Bel Air. The very private land lies on a hilltop at the end of a cul-de-sac. So when the property became available as a probate sale in July 2017 with an asking price of $9,900,000, many investors jumped at the offer. Despite the somewhat bedraggled condition of the historic estate, many folks (including Yolanda) believed the property was underpriced.
Last week (early November 2017), the winning bidder closed the deal for $14,600,000 in cash, a flabbergasting $4.7 million more than the asking price. Clearly, multiple parties wanted this Bel Air acreage quite badly.
The new owner’s identity, of course, is concealed behind an LLC. But Yolanda knows that it is a guy named Bill Laurie and his spectacularly rich wife Nancy Walton Laurie, a multi-billionaire heiress to the fortune of Walmart through her father Bud Walton and uncle Sam Walton, both now deceased. Forbes says she currently makes do with $5.4 billion in the bank.
Mrs. Walton Laurie has long lived next door to Mrs. Cramer’s former property on a multi-acre compound of her own. And yes, she also got involved in World War III as well. In 2015, Mrs. Walton Laurie filed a lawsuit against Mr. Hadid, accusing him of cutting the roots to her “cherished eucalyptus tree”. The lady also wanted Mr. Hadid to pay $90,000 for her tree’s pain and suffering.
Well, hot damn! If Yolanda were a bit more uncouth, we’d say that’s the very definition of “rich people problems”. But we aren’t, so we won’t. Right, Donald?
Anywho. We’ll talk more about her main compound in a moment but first, Yolanda will take you on a quick walk-through of Mrs. Walton Laurie’s new $14.6 million acquisition.
Listing information states that this is a “potential teardown” and “exciting/contractor opportunity”. Marketing materials go on to say that “Per Wikimapia it is the oldest standing structure in Bel Air”, though Yolanda is unable to confirm that assertion. Anyway, records show that the 4,428-square-foot house has 5 bedroom and 5.25 bathrooms.
A long asphalt driveway leads to a broken-down gate that leads to a red-brick motorcourt with space for 8 or more motor vehicles. The house appears to be a mishmash of architectural styles, but the rooms are pleasingly big with marble floors and walls of glass. The real star of the show, however, is the nearly-unobstructed views of downtown Century City and the surrounding hills.
As for Mrs. Walton Laurie, she now owns one of the largest compounds (in terms of acreage) in all of Bel Air. According to Yolanda’s research, she now presides over 9+ prime acres spread across no fewer than 12 separate parcels of land. We also find evidence that the Walmart heiress has spent a breathtaking $57,100,000 to assemble the properties. Her 8,500-square-foot main residence was acquired way back in 2001 for exactly $20 million, and the other parcels appear to have been added on gradually, beginning in 2012. In case you’re wondering, the folks at Reveal calculated that Mrs. Walton Laurie probably uses a gasp-worthy 2.3 million gallons of water per year to keep her Bel Air kingdom looking so lush. And that was before she added on the 2.6 acres she just bought!
Listen, kiddies, no cracks about Yolanda’s photoshop skills. We know those aren’t the exact boundaries of Mrs. Walton Laurie’s property in real life, but we do the best with the limited budget our stingy ex-hubby gives us for spousal support. Oh, and see that yellow circle? That’s Mr. Hadid’s still-illegal and still-unfinished mega-mansion! Maybe Mrs. Walton Laurie will swoop in to buy and demolish the beast?
Some of the biggest neighboring estates are owned by former U.S. Ambassador Robert H. Tuttle, current Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, Salma Hayek, Lance Milken, and Third Point hedge fund honcho Daniel S. Loeb. And just across the street from Mrs. Walton Laurie is the multi-acre spread of the late billionaire Jerry Perenchio, which is currently listed with an unprecedented $350 million ask.
We digress. Mrs. Walton Laurie owns a variety of other homes/structures that include several properties in Columbia, Missouri, where the family has roots. Then she’s got a $17.5 million pad out in Henderson, Nevada. And her daughter Paige Laurie has an $11 million house up in the “Bird Streets” area of the Hollywood Hills that she bought from Tobey Maguire way back in 2007.