SELLER: Russ Weiner
LOCATION: Sunset Plaza Drive, Los Angeles, CA
SIZE: 9,800 square feet (approx.), 7 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: …A poured in place megalith built buy award winning architect David Lawrence Grey, with no expense spared or budget. Walls and floors of glass capture the best city to ocean views. The entry with soaring ceilings and loaded with natural light doubles as a gallery for art and sculpture. 5 bedroom suites in the main house and 2 bedroom suites in the detached guest house. A state of the art screening room with projector have just been installed. The grassy yard with koi pond soften the sleek exterior…
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: All you people who obsess over Los Angeles real estate like Your Mama does better hold on to your britches and grab yer smelling salts because according to one of our better connected sources one of Los Angeles’ most famous real estate white elephants has been sold. According to an in-the-know ladee we’ll call Mrs. Pink, The Fortress–a much discussed and often maligned glass and concrete behemoth located on curvy, swervy and dangerous to drive Sunset Plaza Drive–has fi-nah-lee been sold after nearly two years on the market and several heavy duty price chops.
Property records show the seller is Rockstar Energy Drink founder Russ Weiner who purchased the property in March of 2004 for an undisclosed price, but which we’re told by Mrs. Pink was “right around six million.” In January of 2007, young, rich and entrepreneurial Mister Weiner listed the property at the rather, uhm, optimistic price of $14,995,000. Over time, the price plummeted to a still high but much less shocking $8,900,000. After multiple offers and much wrangling, we’re told by Mrs. Pink that the buyer forked over $8,000,000 for the approximately 9,800 square foot edifice. According to Mrs. Pink, that figure–while far, far, FAAAAR less than Mister Weiner originally wanted–still represents the highest amount ever paid for a house on Sunset Plaza, so bully to the folks who managed to put that big deal together in a quickly sinking real estate economy.
We know the children are busting at the seams wanting to know who would cough up the big bucks for such an architectural lightening rod. According to our very reliable Mrs. Pink the buyer is a 29 year old entrepreneur named Val Kolton who made his mountain of money designing, manufacturing and selling fancy portable headphones and wireless microphone devices.
The Fortress, as the house is widely and sometimes derisively called, occupies a narrow promontory formed by a hair raising hairpin turn on glitzy Sunset Plaza Drive and was designed in 1994 (and built in 1996) by noted Los Angeles architect David Lawrence Grey for a German biznessman named Peter Schindler who, according to the architect’s website, desired both a private place of repose and an entertainment venue which could handle large catered parties. Whether the children like the notion of an industrial palette of glass, steel and concrete applied to residential architecture or not, Mister Grey’s eponymous firm is widely known (and lauded) for designing and building these types of structures including (but not limited to) private residences in Beverly Hills, Pacific Palisades and several along the ocean in Malee-boo.
Both the main and guest houses are constructed of poured in place concrete and due to the location, geologic complexity of the site and the high cost of concrete–which is, believe it or not, kind of expensive–some say the original construction costs soared to upwards of $30,000,000. We sorta doubt that figure, but then again, what does Your Mama know about anything?
Listing information reveals main house, built in what Your Mama would call High Industrial Cathedral Sheek, includes 5 bedroom suites which means everyone gets their own private pooper. The detached and raised guest house, located across the motor court at the north end of the property, forms a sort of porte cochere entrance and contains another two guest suites perfect for housing staff, naughty teenage children or guests you don’t trust in your house after dark lest they rummage through yer private things. Don’t think people go through your things when you’re not looking? Just try getting one of them nanny-cams pushed up a teddy bear’s butt and see what you see.
Anyhoo, after a long walk down a wide and shaded walkway one enters the main house through a double-height impress the guests gallery that stretches an indoor roller skater’s dream of 60 feet and features an intricately articulated sky-lit ceiling and a glass staircase leading to–ladees in dresses beware–a glass bridge on the second floor. Several cushioned seating nooks along one side of the entrance gallery and a state of the art sound and lighting system give the room an undeniable night club vibe which is probably great for having 100 of your closest friends over for cocktails and crudité, but Your Mama imagines it could be a little lonely feeling when home alone on a windy night, you know what we’re saying?
The stone floored and double height living room isn’t exactly what Your Mama would call a cozy room, but it takes full and impressive advantage of the site which on a clear day provides explosive views from downtown Los Angeles all the way to Catalina Island. The concrete walled dining room has dark wood floors installed on the diagonal, one of the home’s three fireplaces for fireside dining and easy access to a Porsche designed all stainless steel kitchen that we are certain would send Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter’s despotic housegurl Svetlana into a nuclear sized hissy fit.
Listing information indicates a state-of-the-art screening room with projector was recently installed and outfitted with blood red carpeting, beige velvet sofas and a fully stocked bar for getting slowly and comfortably drunk while viewing genre appropriate films like Bladerunner and The Terminator.
The grounds include off street parking for up to seven cars and a quiet courtyard located between the main house and motor court where koi swim contentedly in a small pond. The rear yard, which faces the really big views, includes several stone terraces, a barbecue area and a long narrow lap pool with a raised spa at the far end which appears to hover over the glittering lights of the city. Whether one likes (or appreciates) the architectural chutzpah of this house or not, it goes without question that getting a scantily clad date into that spa pretty much guarantees yer gonna get lucky, which isn’t such a bad thing, right?
Some of the children will recall that Mister Weiner has been trying to unload pricey properties all over Los Angeles the last couple of years. Currently on the market with an asking price of $2,500,000 (price chopped all the way down from $3,995,000) is a peach colored four story number on Franklin Avenue which has been on the market since Your Mama was cutting our damn baby teeth. Also on the market is that architectural abortion on Sierra Alta Way that the Little Purple One (Prince) once leased and which carries an improbable asking price of $17,900,000 (reduced from a shockingly high asking price of $22,000,000). As far as we know, Mister Weiner owns and occupies one of the more modest estates up in the guard gated super-mansion enclave of Beverly Park.
It appears that young Mister Kolton has also listed what property records show to be his current crib which also happens to have a Sunset Plaza Drive addy. Records show Mister Kolton picked up the 4 bedroom and 5 bathroom residence in April of 2007 for $4,625,000 and current listing information shows the property is listed at $4,200,000.
Did the children hear Your Mama gasp? That’s right puppies, a few flicks of the well worn beads of Your Mama’s abacus reveals that not only can young Mister Kolton afford to spend eight million clams on a new house–which we hear through the gossip grapevine he’s planning on spending another million or so renovating–but he can also afford to lose a teeth chattering $425,000 selling his current residence. And that, children, is if he’s lucky enough to sell the place at full asking price, a proposition that is certainly possible but somewhat doubtful in this crippled economic climate.