For the past couple years, things on the real estate front have been somewhat muted in the “Bird Streets” neighborhood, which has long been the most coveted (and most expensive) section of the Hollywood Hills. We’ve seen only a couple sales in the $20+ million range recently, while other wealthy areas (Trousdale Estates, Bel Air, Holmby Hills) remain quite hot.
Perhaps that sluggishness is due to a lack of inventory, or perhaps folks are realizing those other areas (generally) provide more bang for one’s big bucks. Most of the time. But not always!
Whatever the case, huge sales in the Birds have not stopped happening altogether. Witness these two side by side homes, which are situated on a tiny cul-de-sac near the tippy-top of the neighborhood.
Both homes were sold on the exact same day last year by two different sellers (neither of whom is famous in any way). Neither home was ever listed on the open market, and both properties were sold to the same mysterious entity called “9016 Hopen LLC” that leads down a dead-end road, to a law office in Westwood. It does not appear that the buyer took a mortgage on either property, and the pair went for a combined total of $24,650,000. Spending almost $25 million cash is a big deal — ain’t it?
Naturally, Yolanda was curious about the identity of the mega-rich buyer, particularly because this is a celebrity-intensive area. For starters: of the five homes on the cul-de-sac where the compound is situated, 2 of the other 3 properties are owned by famous folks. Directly next door is a fancy-ass house owned by sitcom royalty-rich actor Matthew Perry, who recently attempted to sell it (without success) with a $13.5 million pricetag. And also next door (on the other side) is a mid-century house that is owned by The Biggest Loser star/trainer Bob Harper.
Anyway, Yolanda happens to know that a lady named Sandra Barros recently moved into the $25 million, two-house spread. This puzzled Yolanda. We believe that our Ms. Barros is the CEO of JSC Concrete Construction, a contractor based in Washington DC.
What on earth would this lady from Washington D.C. suddenly want with a $25 million compound in LA’s Bird Streets? Yolanda was bamboozled. That is, we were until we found out that Ms. Barros is the lady-friend of a man named Peter Lowy. Our Mr. Lowy happens to be part of a very wealthy family — he is the middle child of Frank Lowy, a multi-billionaire who was at one time ranked as Australia’s richest man.
Frank Lowy founded Westfield Corporation, a global shopping center empire that has approximately $30 billion in assets under management. And his son Peter currently serves as the conglomerate’s co-CEO, which means that the younger Mr. Lowy is obviously enormously rich, just like his papa. Sometimes that wealth has attracted unwanted scrutiny — apparently Mr. Lowy (and his father and brothers) were once investigated for allegedly hiding money — a lot of money — in offshore tax havens. Oh dear.
Mr. Peter Lowy has long resided in LA, and thus Yolanda was already well aware of who he is and knew he had the financial wherewithal to afford a $25 million compound. But we did not know he had a girlfriend — in fact, we had no idea he had split with his longtime wife Janine, to whom he was married for many years and with whom he has four children. And in fact, Mr. and Mrs. Lowy hosted a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton at their home not too long ago, back in summer 2015.
But the clocks keep turning and love keeps drifting, and a bit of research reveals that Mrs. Lowy quietly filed a dissolution of marriage (aka: divorce) against Mr. Lowy back in early 2016.
Oh my, the drama! But we digress. Mr. Lowy and Ms. Barros have been photographed together recently, so we would guess that things are still going strong for the loved-up pair.
Anyway, the real estate. The two houses are not architecturally similar at all. One is an oddball Spanish-style concoction that was built in 1978 and has 2,990-square-feet of living space, plus an outdoor pool/spa combo. The other is a renovated mid-century modern with 3,081-square-feet of living space. Below are a few photos of the mid-century house, which had been available for lease back in 2016.
The blocky updated pad has garage space for two luxury vehicles, a gated courtyard entry, a somewhat dated-lookin’ kitchen with stainless appliances, and a sweet master suite with floor-to-ceiling windows and a built-in soaking tub. The most impressive feature, however, is that jetliner view of the city basin and downtown LA.
Yolanda believes that Mr. Lowy is living up here in the Bird Streets with Ms. Barros. We don’t have any direct confirmation of that as of yet — we only know for a fact that Ms. Barros is living there — but that is what we suspect.
For those curious, the new compound spans half-acre of land in the Bird Streets (.55-acre, to be exact). What exactly Mr. Lowy is planning to do with the two separate houses remains to be seen, but neither is particularly architecturally significant and therefore Yolanda would imagine they could both be torn down or significantly remodeled at some future time.
Despite their split, Peter and Janine Lowy still own their longtime residence in one of the best parts of Beverly Hills. Records show that Mr. & Mrs. Lowy bought the 1.21-acre property together (in happier marital times) way back in August 2000 for $6,600,000. They quickly tore down whatever structure existed then and spent several years building a 13,666-square-foot Traditional-ish mansion. The house is not currently on the market, but Yolanda can tell y’all it was completed in 2004 and has 7 beds and 9 baths. There appears to be an underground garage, a pool, a sports court, and a small guest house plus some sort of vegetable garden on the mini-estate’s lush grounds.
Yolanda would make an educated guess that it is the soon-to-be-ex-Mrs. Lowy who is currently living in the above Beverly Hills house. But again, that’s just our silly guess.
And in other Lowy family real estate-related news, Peter Lowy has an older brother named David. And lil’ Davey made all the headlines when he recently paid a fat $36,600,000 at a foreclosure auction for a full-floor apartment near the top of NYC’s highly hyped One57 building.
A $36 million apartment may seem like a ridiculous extravagance to all but the obscenely wealthy, but Mr. Lowy actually got himself that place at a steal (depending on how one looks at is). Just two years ago, the very same apartment sold for more than $50 million to Kola Aluko, a shady Nigerian businessman that Yolanda has written about several times in the past.