Can you tell that Yolanda is way, way behind? It’s just now, nearly a month late, that we’re getting around to cataloging the biggest LA County residential sales of 2016. So let’s get right through this and we can move on to more delightful 2017 things.
First, a wee bit of analytics: the average sale price of our top 20 sales in ’16 was a blistering $42,614,900. That’s way up from ’15’s average of $36,900,300. The major drivers of that increase, of course, were three enormous transactions — all of which took place in the tiny but ultra-prime Holmby Hills area of Los Angeles.
Another thing Yolanda noticed this year was the comparative lack of international buyers versus recent years past. Sixteen of these twenty parcels were bought by either born-and-bred US of A residents or by folks who have primarily resided here for a very, very long time. Other than that, there were just two houses bought by Britons, one house bought by a Frenchman, and one vacant lot bought by a anonymous person of unknown origin.
There are several possibilities as to why this could be happening. The strength of the dollar is certainly a factor. Foreign governments are cracking down on illicit millions leaving their counties. And then there’s the real estate prices over here, which continue to skyrocket with no end in sight. Maybe foreigners don’t think LA land is such a great deal anymore? Anyone care to enlighten Yolanda?
Although most buyers on this list hail from America, their backgrounds are fairly diverse. Yolanda counts seven homes bought by folks from the financial services arena, six purchased by professional real estate investors, two snapped up by people from the fashion/luxury goods industry. There’s one person from the tech world and at least two buyers whose wealth seems to primarily derive from a family inheritance. Oh, and there’s the incomparable singer/dancer/actress/entertainer/big booty queen Jennifer Lopez, who put all other celebrities to shame with her Bel Air acquisition.
More observations: thirteen of these sales took place outside the MLS. At least eight of the properties were never listed on the open market at all. And the fondness that the ultra-wealthy have shown for LLCs in past years has certainly not abated.
Let’s dig in, shall we?
1) $100,000,000 — 10236 Charing Cross Road, Los Angeles (Holmby Hills)
Seller: Playboy Enterprises via Mansion Holdings LLC
Buyer: Daren Metropoulos via Mapleton Manor LLC
In what was perhaps the most widely-publicized residential real estate transaction of 2016 (and for good reason!) 32-year-old billionaire heir Daren Metropoulos paid a record-shattering $100,000,000 for the Playboy Mansion. Mr. Metropoulos already owns the house next door and plans to combine that property with this property for a billionaire-style mega-compound. Yolanda sincerely hopes he’s got another few million bucks saved up for the truckload of bleach and disinfectant that the 5+ acres of STD-infested grounds will require.
2) $100,000,000 — 301 N. Carolwood Drive, Los Angeles (Holmby Hills)
Seller: Gala Asher & Ed Berman via Carolwood Drive Properties LLC
Buyer: Tom Gores via Lorac Holdings LLC
Lightning apparently strikes twice: just two months after the Playboy Mansion transferred, multi-billionaire Tom Gores forked out another $100 million for a brand-new mega-mansion on the other side of Sunset Boulevard. The house has three pools, 30,000-square-feet of living space, and enough florescent (LED?) lighting to power half the Vegas strip.
Keep in mind that this was not a standard sale. It did not involve $100 million in cash — rather, Mr. Gores paid $30 million in cash and traded in two of his other luxury properties for this house. We’ll get to those two properties in just a minute.
3) $90,000,000 — 141 South Carolwood Drive, Los Angeles (Holmby Hills)
Seller: Dawn Arnall via Davis Carolwood Holdings LLC
Buyer: Woodbridge Luxury Homes via Sturmer Pippin Investments LLC
Bob Shapiro’s Woodbridge, a luxury real estate investment consortium that pools investors’ money for the purpose of acquiring LA properties, made their biggest splash with the $90 million acquisition of the legendary “Owlwood” estate in Holmby Hills. The seller was a low-profile Aspen-based widow named Dawn Arnall.
4) $40,000,000 — 78 Beverly Park Lane, Los Angeles (Beverly Park)
Seller: Tom Gores via Chatam LLC
Buyer: Gala Asher & Ed Berman via Beverly Park Properties LLC
Here’s the first of two properties Mr. Gores sold to the pair of developers (Gala Asher & Ed Berman) in return for his big new house in Holmby Hills. Apparently a monster mansion in Beverly Park just wasn’t good enough for him anymore. Though the house was never on the market, the recorded $40 million sale price makes this the most expensive Beverly Park house ever sold.
5) $39,000,000 — 864 Stradella Road, Los Angeles (Bel Air)
Seller: Joseph Englanoff via Stradella Casa LP
Buyer: Howard Shore via 864 Stradella LLC
After more than two years sitting on the market — originally with a $55 million asking price — this ultra-modern spec-mansion in perennially high-nosed Bel Air sold to British financier Howard Shore.
6) $38,750,000 — 131 Delfern Drive, Los Angeles (Holmby Hills)
Seller: Estate of Betsy Bloomingdale
Buyer: Tom Ford via The 131 Delfern Trust
This sale gets the award for 2016’s “most chi-chi real estate transaction”. The children of the late fashion icon Betsy Bloomingdale sold her glamorous Holmby Hills estate to high-end fashion tycoon Tom Ford for a pinch under $39 million.
7) $38,270,000 — 640 Williams Lane, Beverly Hills (Trousdale Estates)
Seller: Nile Niami via 640 Williams Lane LLC
Buyer: Brian Sheth via Taruca Holdings LLC
Even Yolanda was a little stunned by this sale. Texas-based hedge funder Brian Sheth plunked down more than $38 million for a house on a half-acre flag lot in Trousdale Estates. There’s no front yard. No back yard, either. But there is a 14,000-square-foot McClean Design mansion with a spinning indoor car turntable. And that view!
8) $38,000,000 — 1111 Calle Vista Drive, Beverly Hills
Seller: Tom Cruise via The Fornow Trust
Buyer: Leon Black via Q&P LLC
After selling his Hollywood Hills compound to Eva Longoria, cray-cray Mr. Cruise proceeded to let multi-billionaire Leon Black have his Beverly Hills manor house for the reasonable price of $38 million.
9) $34,928,000 — 10664 Bellagio Road, Los Angeles (Bel Air)
Seller: Bren Simon via BS LA Holdings III LLC
Buyer: Robert Blumenfield via Masterpiece LLC
One of Yolanda’s favorite subjects to gossip about is Arkansas native Brenda Burns (AKA Bren Simon!). We wrote about her here. And then we wrote about her again when she finally unloaded her Bel Air beast (after six years!) to LA landlord, art collector, and longtime Bel Air resident Robert H. Blumenfield.
10) $33,500,000 — 3620 Sweetwater Mesa Road, Malibu
Seller: U.S. Department of Justice via Sweetwater Malibu LLC
Buyer: Mauricio Oberfeld via 3620 Sweetwater Mesa LLC
What is arguably the best property in all of Malibu — despite not being oceanfront — was seized by the US Department of Justice several years ago. It was Mexico-born investor Mauricio Oberfeld who coughed up the big bucks. (Rumor has it that he’s got some big changes in mind!)
11) $33,000,000 — 1201 Laurel Way, Beverly Hills
Seller: U.S. Department of Justice via Laurel Beverly Holdings LLC
Buyer: Richard Caring via West Coast Management LLC
Lookie here, another house seized by the good ol’ DoJ. This one was already in escrow by the time it was seized, so it escaped the all-too-common fate of an extended period of abandonment and neglect. The new owner is British entrepreneur Richard Caring.
12) $32,500,000 — 1601 Casale Drive, Los Angeles (Pacific Palisades)
Seller: Rex Licklider via Casale Road Development 2 Inc.
Buyer: Richard Hollander
13) $32,500,000 — 420 Trousdale Place, Beverly Hills (Trousdale Estates)
Seller: Joseph Kashani et al.
Buyer: Unknown (but rumored to be Bernard Arnault) via BH Propco LLC
In yet another deal that went down off-market, a mysterious LLC paid $32,500,000 for a teardown mid-century house in the ultra-expensive Trousdale Estates neighborhood. We can’t prove it, kiddies, but Yolanda has heard that the new owner may be French multi-billionaire Bernard Arnault. Yes, the guy who already owns half of Rodeo Drive.
About time he bought a house here!
14) $32,000,000 — 1169 N. Hillcrest Road, Beverly Hills (Trousdale Estates)
Seller: Alex Soltani via Skyview Capital LLC
Buyer: Unknown via Aegis International Management LLC
A second property tied to the 1MDB scandal. After being sold to private equity pasha Alex Soltani for $22,400,000 in October (2016), he somehow managed to flip it just two months later for $32,000,000. That’s a $9.6 million profit, y’all. Bubble?! Nahhh…
15) $30,000,000 — 614 & 616 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills
- Seller: Estate of Jackie Collins
Buyer: Ben Nehmadi
Legendary Tinseltown author/lady-about-town Jackie Collins was another casualty of 2016. RIP. Her daughters sold her custom-built estate (and the guest house next door) to real estate investor Ben Nehmadi in a $30 million deal.
16) $30,000,000 — 671 Siena Way, Los Angeles (Bel Air)
Seller: Tom Gores via Gacac LLC
Buyer: Ed Berman & Gala Asher via Siena Way Properties LLC
To get his $100 million mansion, Tom Gores also gave up his multi-acre vacant Bel Air land for $30,000,000. Thirty million for a patch of dirt may seem like a ludicrous amount of money to spend, but it’s actually less than half of what Yolanda believes he invested into the property.
17) $28,000,000 — 1492 Stone Canyon Road, Los Angeles (Bel Air)
Seller: Sela Ward via The Joseph Abbott Family Trust
Buyer: Jennifer Lopez via The Jim Bridger Trust
The biggest celebrity deal of 2016 went down in May, when spring flowers and April showers led enticed Jennifer Lopez to spend $28 million for actress Sela Ward’s amazeballs 8-acre Arts & Crafts compound.
18) $27,600,000 — 10771 Bellagio Road, Los Angeles (Bel Air)
Seller: Jeffrey Kaplan
Buyer: Todd Lemkin
An unfortunately bastardized Paul Williams was sold by mobile home magnate Jeffrey Kaplan to financier Todd Lemkin of Canyon Capital. Despite the unattractive looks, the house is located right across the street from the hoity-toity Bel Air Country Club and has more than 20,000-square-feet of living space.
19) $27,250,000 — 7061 Birdview Avenue, Malibu
Seller: Nathaniel Redleaf via 7061 Birdview LLC
Buyer: Julia Lebedev via Birdview Property LLC
Russian heiress Julia Lebedev (or Levedeva) paid $27,250,000 for a Mediterranean-style mansion on Malibu’s coveted Point Dume. The seller was young Nathaniel Redleaf, the son of hedge fund tycoon Andy Redleaf.
20) $27,000,000 — 9133 Oriole Way, Los Angeles (Bird Streets)
Seller: Sean Sassounian via Nightingale Capital LLC
Buyer: Lynda Weinman via OK Wave LLC
2016’s biggest Hollywood Hills sale came courtesy of internet entrepreneur Lynda Weinman, who paid $27 million for a pretty baller house on what is probably the best street in the exclusive “Bird Streets”. For what it’s worth, the prickly seller — Sean Sassounian — is suing his former real estate agents over an interview they gave about this house.
There you have it, kiddies. Not that we don’t like dwelling on the past, but let’s get back to current year stuff…