SELLERS: Shelly Hwang and Young Lee LOCATION: Malibu, CA PRICE: $3,495,000 SIZE: 4,799 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms,
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: In the mid-Naughts Korean American entrepreneur Shelly Hwang and her boyfriend/architect Young Lee set out to open a tiny tea parlor in a centrally located residential section of West Hollywood, CA. Alas, the city put the ix-nay on the tea parlor after neighbors rejected their attempt to secure a booze license. Probably they were devastated at the rejection of their hooch-selling application but the repudiation became the catalyst for their bazillion dollar Plan B: a colorful, new-fangled sort of frozen yogurt shop called Pinkberry that offered a limited number of (mostly tart) flavors and a limited number of (mostly fruit and cereal) toppings at premium prices.
Almost overnight the small store became a huge hit amongst all the scores and scads of Angelenos who didn’t even know they ached so intensely for a lip-pursingly tart frozen treat. Much to the chagrin of the store’s residential neighbors, chattering crowds over-whelmed the narrow street where cold snack-seeking hordes double- and triple-parked their cars and waited in line for 20, 30 and sometimes 40 minutes for taste of the somewhat icy and decidedly sour substance. The instant frenzy brought extra police to manage the swarms and meter maids to ticket the illegally-parked vehicles. Within a few short years–and the help of a near $25,000,000-plus investment by Starbucks founder Howard Schultz’s venture capital fund–perky Pinkberry stores filled with glossy white tables and multi-colored Philippe Starck-designed Ghost chairs began to pop up all over southern California and New York. Natch, Pinkberry being a phenomena that started in southern California, dressed down stars of all stripes soon began to appear in all the celebrity rags, tabs, blogs and gossip glossies spooning Pinkberry into their manicured mouths.
A 2007 report in Fortune magazine revealed that the first Pinkberry store turned a profit after just four months and that with an average purchase price of $5.50 a typical store doing 1,500 servings a day could easily bring in a quarter million dollars or more in revenue per month. The near instant and continued success of Pinkberry has allowed Miz Hwang and Mister Lee to adopt and maintain a swanky lifestyle that encompasses fancy cars and a very contemporary multi-million dollar residence in Malibu, CA they recently heaved on to the market with an asking price of $3,495,000.
Property records show the Pinkberry pashas only acquired the boxy and glassy residence situated high on a steep hillside above Surfrider beach in August 2008. The house was designed and built by minimal-minded Santa Monica-based architect Steve Kent who originally planned to live in the cliff-cleaving crib with his family. However, as was reported in a 2009 article in the Wall Street Journal, the newly-minted Pinkberry moguls finagled a tour of the then-not-quite-completed house and instantly made a substantial offer that would have been foolish for the architect to refuse. Records show Miz Hwang and Mister Lee coughed up $3,525,000 for crisp and clean-lined dwelling that according to current listing information, “includes membership to the new private, gated section of Rambla Pacifica,” whatever that means.
Your Mama gave the well-worn beads of our long-suffering abacus a few flicks and clicks we quickly calculated the $3,525,000 purchase price converts to approximately 1,007,143 medium-sized original flavor Pinkberry servings (without topping) at $3.50 per serving. At it’s current listing price of $3,495,000, Miz Hwang and Mister Lee stand to lose $30,000 on the sale of their Malibu residence not counting carrying costs, improvement, and real estate fees. That’s about 12,000 small-sized original flavor Pinkberry servings (sans topping) at $2.50 apiece.
Listing information shows the sleek house measures 4,799 square feet over three floors with a total of 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. The main floor of the house lays out in one open sweep of airy space with chocolate brown-stained hardwood floors, luminous white walls, and a long row of floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors that open to a long, cantilevered balcony with knee-buckling views and up and down the coast. A free-standing double-sided fireplace separates the living room from the dining room that itself blends seamlessly into the sybaritic (and hideously expensive) Boffi-brand kitchen complete with dual Sub-Zero frefrigerator/freezers, separate wine fridge, and an integrated Miele-brand coffee maker.
A lower level media room, where Mister Lee reportedly plays a lot of video games on a 65-inch Bang & Olufsen flat-screen tee-vee our internetresearch reveals costs around $35,000. No puppies, that’s not a mis-print that’s $35,000 just for the damn television set. We calculate that Mister and Missus Pinkberry had to sell about 5,385 large-sized pomegranate flavor Pinkberries (without topping) at $6.50 a pop to pay for the boob-toob.
Other high-tech convenience, amenities and luxuries include Toto-brand bidet toilets, an integrated FiOS system, central vacuum, and indoor and outdoor areas wired for sound. Although the house is perched and a rather precipitous slope the architect and engineers managed to squeeze out a fairly good-sized and pancake flat back/side yard shielded from the street by mature shade trees and divided in to a generous grass patch and a wide, ocean-view deck dotted with multi-colored and very modern outdoor furniture pieces.
Apropos of nothing related to the real estate, listing photographs show a pair of late-model, his-and-her Rolls Royce’s parked in the driveway in front of the frosted glass garage doors deeply set into a chunky mass sheathed in extra-wide-plank, horizontally installed wood paneling. One, a gigantic 4-door Phantom sedan, has a mind-numbing base price of about $380,000–about 84,000 medium-sized green tea flavor Pinkberry servings (without topping) at $4.50 per serving–and the other, a 2-door Phantom Coupé, carries base price of $408,000, about 82,000 medium-sized original flavor Pinkberry servings (with topping) at $4.95 per serving.