Though it’s but four miles and a 10-minute drive from the showy hubbub of Rodeo Drive up to the guarded gatehouse of North Beverly Park, the much ballyhooed and occasionally maligned development of train-station-sized Neo-Tuscan villas and downright steroidal faux-chateaus is an ultra-private and utterly serene world apart from the hustle, bustle and hoi polloi.
Since its inception in the early 1990s, the sprawling and exactingly manicured community, divided into a north and smaller south section, has attracted a veritable army of high-net-worth individuals with a penchant for palace-proportioned homes. Current owners include a Saudi royal or two, a slew of entertainment industry bigwigs such as Sumner Redstone, Sylvester Stallone, Rod Stewart, Reba McEntire and Denzel Washington, Haim Saban, Ron Tutor and Avi Arad, and billionaire brothers Tom and Alec Gores.
Even still, while prices in some of L.A.’s most prime residential locales, i.e. Holmby Hills and Trousdale Estates, often exceed $3,000 per square foot, according to MLS data, Beverly Park, the north section in particular, remains a billionaire’s bargain, with average sale prices over the past few years that average about $1,650 per square foot. We wondered, with the skyrocketing prices that have mansions and estates in other parts of the city not infrequently trading for upwards of $40 million, why haven’t the prices in Beverly Park North kept pace?
We got on the horn and hollered at a handful of Platinum Triangle real estate movers and shakers who regularly do business in Beverly Park, and though some common objections came up, such as the lack of panty-dropping city lights views from most estates and the less-than-perfect approach to the enclave up much more humble San Ysidro Drive, all agreed that despite any perceived drawbacks, Beverly Park is primed for a significant price surge.
Hilton & Hyland’s Josh Altman, one of the stars of “Million Dollar Listing,” has brokered several big deals in Beverly Park, and he forecasts run-of-the-mill multimillionaires soon being priced out of the development by the bottomless bank accounts of billionaires. He also opined that the current marketplace’s unusually high demand for mega-mansions and the low inventory of super-sized cribs on massive lots in other prime parts of the city will most assuredly and soon drive Beverly Park prices into orbit.
Low-key but high-powered Elliman agents Connie Blankenship and Michelle Oliver, who have done more than 10 lease and purchase deals in Beverly Park North, told us that many of the domain’s homeowners are pouring tens of millions of dollars into extensive updates and upgrades to their existing mansions, which will eventually be reflected in sale prices. Add to that the exceptionally spacious and flat multi-acre lots, a hyper-vigilant 24/7 security detail, easy access to Beverly Hills and Century City, and convenient proximity to Van Nuys airport, which accommodates private jets. “It’s just a matter of time,” they optimistically declared, “until North Beverly Park achieves $2,500-3,000 per square foot.”
Even in L.A.’s currently electrified high-end marketplace, Beverly Park estates change hands infrequently, with only about half a dozen sales in the past three years. There are just two estates, both in the North section, currently listed on the open market: A five-acre-plus compound that belongs to tool-and-die tycoon Eric Smidt arrived in March with Coldwell Banker’s Linda May, carrying a $45 million pricetag. In July, Blankenship and Oliver listed for $25 million an approximately 12,500-square-foot quasi-Italianate villa that handbag designer-turned-real estate mogul Bruce Makowsky bought three years ago for $13.45 million.
Officially listed estates in Beverly Park are, however, just the tip of the real estate iceberg; surreptitiously shopped whisper listings are de riguer. While they were politely mum about the rumors we heard about the Makowsky villa being in escrow in the low $20 millions, Blankenship and Oliver did reveal that they also represent an off-market, 13,000-square-foot mansion formerly owned by “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” cast member Adrienne Maloof, who sold it in fall 2012 for $19.5 million. The new owners, per the agents, have a $35 million asking price on the 8 bedroom and 10 bathroom spread that is also available to let short term at a mind-bending quarter-million dollars per month.
Although he also politely declined to confirm, deny or comment, we heard word from a well-connected tattletale that Altman can show, on the down low, one of the few contemporary mansions in Beverly Park, formerly owned by soft-porn purveyor Norm Zada — and last sold by Altman in late 2010 for $16.5 million — at a price somewhere north of $30 million.
Another plugged-in informant tattled that one of the two vacant lots in Beverly Park is available off-market, and that the owner has turned down offers between $25 million and $29 million, while another agent told us that last year, if you knew who to call, Mark Wahlberg would allow his then-still-under-construction 30,000-ish-square-foot chateau-style manse to be covertly toured with an asking price in the high $60 millions.
The lesson here, if it somehow wasn’t clear, is that every major player in the real estate game we chatted with thinks Beverly Park bargain-shoppers better get on the stick quick, lest they be faced with purchase prices past well past $40 million-$50 million. Don’t laugh. It’s probably gonna happen sooner than anyone thinks.