SELLER: Jeanne and Anthony “Tony” Pritzker
LOCATION: Los, Angeles, CA (Bel Air)
SIZE: 12,289 square feet, 10 bedrooms, 11 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Late last year, usually low-profile Hyatt hotel heir Anthony “Tony” Pritzker and his wife Jeanne finally completed construction on a conspicuously colossal mega-mansion commandingly perched on a private promontory high above Los Angeles’ ritzy Bel Air community. (More on that monster manse later.)
No longer in need of their long-time former family home, Mister and Missus Pritzker recently listed their comparatively puny but still downright huge mansion on the market with an asking price of $21,990,000.
Mister Pritzker, now in his early 50s, in case you don’t know and would like to, has a net worth in excess of $2.5 billion, according to the folks at Forbes, and currently toils as a muckety-muck at the Pritzker Group, a private investment firm, according to the company’s website, that represents Pritzker family interests.
The Chicago-based, sick rich and (often eponymously) philanthropic Pritzker family are the benefactors of, among other things, the exceedingly prestigious Pritzker Architeture Prize, awarded each year to a single living architect who exhibits extraordinary and rare talent, innovation and vision. Past winners include Luis Barragán (Mexico), Oscar Neimeyer (Brazil), Tadao Ando (Japan), Zaha Hadid (Iraqi-born, London-based) and Thom Mayne (United States). The 2012 prize went to China’s Hangzhou-based Wang Shu.
Like many sprawling and enormously wealthy families, the almost publicity-eschewing and almost under the radar Pritzker family has a few times, over the years and probably much to their dismay, been a hotly discussed subject in upscale gossip glossies and at high-society gatherings due to their sometimes ugly internal struggle over control and distribution the family’s vast fortune, estimated to be somewhere close to $20 billion.
Your Mama simply hasn’t the time to fill the children in on all the gory details so, if interested, we send y’all to a depressing but juicy 2003 article in Vanity Fair that parses the circumstances surrounding a (now-settled) $6 billion lawsuit brought by Liesel Pritzker, a.ka. former child movie actress (A Little Princess, Air Force One) turned stage player Liesel Matthews. Young Miss Pritzker, then just 20 years old and a student at New York University, scandalously claimed her then septuagenarian new recently deceased father Robert Pritzker and a parade of Pritzker cousins secretly looted the fat-fat-fat trust funds of her and her brother Matthew. The 2005 settlement terms were not disclosed but most online reports state they received $280,000,000 in cash apiece—paid in equal shares by 11 Pritzker heirs and heiresses—plus more control over their individual trusts worth a combined $340,000,000. Miss Pritzker, now in her late 20s and to her credit, is a very young woman of serious and substantial financial means who follows in the family’s philanthropic footsteps and occasionally coughs up the big bucks for various causes such as an organization that promotes microfinance services in Africa.
Anyhoodles poodles, getting back to the real estate matter at hand…
A couple of quick and rudimentary calculations on Your Mama’s bejeweled abacus reveals the Pritzker pad’s current price tag of $21,990,000 is more than twice what Mister and Missus P. paid for the place back in August 2001 when, as per Blockshopper, they shelled out $9,500,000 for the 1.24 acre estate conveniently (if not ideally) located directly across the street from the elite Harvard Westlake School where tuition exceeds $30,000 per year.
Listing information does not specify the size of the Pritzker’s multi-story Mediterranean-style pile but the L.A. Tax Man shows house was originally built in 1938—it was “restored in 2012,” as per listing information—and measures 12,289 square feet. The interior living areas may or may not actually be larger than that.
A gated, cypress-lined drive sweeps around a tennis court with viewing pavilion up to a tree-shaded motor court with front-facing garage capable of holding up to five cars, according to listing information. A long, double flight of stairs that for some reason we can fathom remind Your Mama of Rome’s Spanish Steps even though they don’t really resemble said steps climb to the somewhat humble front door painted the same shade of tur-qwahze as the garage doors.
There are no interior pictures available online that we know of…yet, but listing information does indicate the swanky canyon-, city- and ocean-view abode has a 2-story foyer, “elegant” formal living and dining rooms and a “handcrafted” library, whatever that means.
Bedrooms and bathrooms number 10 and 11 respectively, according to current listing information, and include “many” guest and family bedrooms, “multiple staff quarters,” and a “magnificent master suite” that encompasses a sitting room with fireplace, private office, his and her bathrooms and closets, and a sauna.
An expansive subterranean level includes a media room, children’s play room—Mister and Missus Pritzker have half a dozen children to house and entertain—a wine cellar for the oenophiles, a bar for the boozers, staff quarters and, yes butter beans, a gift wrapping room.
The back of the house opens to a deep entertainment loggia with at least five archways that join the shaded space to the sunny terrace that runs along the back of the residence and partially around the swimming pool and spa. At the spa end of the pool there’s a built-in barbecue center/outdoor kitchen with easy access to the kitchen and service areas. The terrace wraps around the end of the pool and stretches towards the rear of the property where there’s a dining/lounging ramada with canyon, city, and ocean views.
During construction of their new residence, a dirt path zig-zagged down the hillside behind the old house and then slowly ascended to the building site of the new mega-mansion, pictured below from a recent mouth-watering and jaw-dropping article in The Wall Street Journal about how a certain ilk of immoderate means still, like their lavish-living, Gilded Age robber baron real estate predecessors, cotton to immodestly-scaled mega-mansions equipped with necessities such as a dozen or more bathrooms, dance studios and yoga rooms, ice cream and beauty parlors, indoor tennis courts and climbing walls, underground tunnels, gift wrapping rooms and intensely fortified panic chambers, art galleries, massage rooms and pedicure stations.
The bulk of the Pritzker’s palace has been reported to measure 49,300 square feet with additional detached structures—one a recreation room and another a guest house—that bring the total to a titanic 53,000 square feet. The boxy and behemoth residence stands two stories on top of two subterranean floors reported to include a game room, bowling alley, bar and media library. The contemporary crib also has, according to online reports, a fitness center with changing rooms, his and her offices, an arts and crafts room for the kiddies and—natch—a hairdressing station because when you’re super rich like the Pritzker’s you don’t mind paying a little extra not to have to sit in an upscale barber shop or hoity-toity hair salon with the merely rich hoi polloi.
The gargantuan but somehow still green-minded mega-mansion is equipped with all sorts of eco-friendly technology that reportedly includes “geothermal cooling, and state-of-the-art energy-efficient lighting and climate control” and, in addition to a massive sky-light, an array of roof-mounted panels that generate a “hefty 72 kilowatts of solar power.”
The house opens inward to a plaza-sized central courtyard and outward to deep, shaded terraces and sunny patios that step down to a wide, tree-dotted lawn that spreads like unnaturally green butter around three sides of the ginormous residence. At the front of the house there are several parking areas and a pair of ramps that descend into the subterranean parking structure. There’s a tennis court area set well below and out of site of the motor court and at the back the green grass gives way to a boomerang-shaped terrace and dark-bottom swimming pool spa.
We’re not sure if they socialize together but Mister and Missus Pritzker’s new mega-mansion is close enough to the west coast pied-a-terre of embattled media tycoon Rupert Murdoch that they can easily send a staff person by car between houses to borrow cups of sugar.
Shortly after Mister Pritzker bought the Bel Air house now for sale, he took in $5,488,054 for a 7,000 square foot oceanfront mansion with 7 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms in Santa Monica (CA) bought in July 1991 for $2,650,000. A cursory spin through property records indicates Mister and Missus Pritzker also maintain a substantial spread with multiple structures on more than 7 mountain top acres in Topanga, CA, above Malibu
listing photos: Jim Miller Residential Realty
aerial photo: Mark Holtzman for The Wall Street Journal