In 2004 wealthy Massachusettsians Frank and Jamie McCourt—much of their wealth was derived from well positioned parking lots in Boston—paid a heart pounding $430 million for controlling interest the Los Angeles Dodgers professional baseball franchise. They quickly and giddily carpetbagged their way to Los Angeles where they coughed up Grammy winner Baby Face Edmunds $21.25 million for a circa 1930s mansion on 2.61 gated acres in Holmby Hills. For better and/or worse, the estate sits directly across the street from the Playboy Mansion on Charing Cross Road.*
Court documents from their acrimonious, public and crazy expensive 2011 divorce—their legal bills alone reportedly topped $20 million—reveal the erstwhile couple spent another $14 million on a series of improvements and expansions, including having the kitchen in their Brookline, MA, de-installed, shipped to Los Angeles and, like Humpty Dumpty, put back together again in their new Holmby Hills mansion at a cost of $180,000. They later replaced an outdoor tennis court with a partially subterranean indoor swimming pool and spa complex complete with sauna, steam room, dressing room and massage room. Divorce documents also revealed expenses related to the maintenance of the estate ran up to $202,716 per month including nearly six grand a month in utility bills. Think about that for a minute.
So the reportage goes the divorce decree granted ex-Missus McCourt a settlement of around $130 million and sole ownership of a considerable number of the couple’s many private residences, including the Holmby Hills estate. (They also maintained multi-million dollar homes in Malibu, Massachusetts and Colorado plus property in Mexico and Montana.) In March 2012, so Your Mama heard from Heidi N. Holmbyhills, Miz McCourt quietly floated the pretty darn palatial property as a whisper listing with an optimistically plump $65 million price tag. Almost two years later the property popped up on the open market with a $55,000,000 asking price and just a few days ago the lady property gossip at the L.A. Times announced that Miz McCourt had done sold the pristine property to an unnamed buyer for $45 million.**
The 20,627 square foot Euro-style villa, according to the official listing details and other online resources, has five bedrooms, six bathrooms, a step-down living room, a library/study, billiard room, bar, commercial-grade kitchen, and a home theater. In addition to the main house the gated estate includes a guesthouse, staff apartment, outdoor swimming pool house and pool house as well as the aforementioned indoor swimming pool and spa complex.
Naturally, as soon as we read that Mis McCourt sold the Holmby Hills house Your Mama tapped and typed our fingers to bloody nubbins contacting a few of our better connected contacts. We quickly heard back from Peter Propertyseller and Our Fairy Godmother in Bel Air who both told us they’re quite sure the previously unidentified buyer is low-profile British billionaire Ian Livingstone.
Mister Livingstone, a former optometrist who along with his younger brother earned their first (small) fortune through eyeglass stores, quietly parlayed the small fortune into a multi-tentacled, multibillion dollar real estate investment and development juggernaut that has, according to the fine folk at Forbes, ballooned their combined net worth to $3.7 billion. The brothers have their fingers in real estate pies all around the world (South Africa, Russia, Panama) as well as a bevy of swanky hotels in the U.K., including the stately and elegantly English Cliveden House.
Even though she shed the Holmby Hills house, Miz McCourt still has an impressive property portfolio that includes a John Lautner designed house on Carbon Beach in Malibu that she (and her ex-husband) bought in 2007 for $27.3 from Courtney Cox as well as the shackety-shack next door that she (and her ex-husband) picked up the following year for $19 million. Last fall the single, rich and fancy free Miz McCourt shelled out $11.25 million for a 21-plus acre vineyard estate in Napa, CA, with a two bedroom main house, a separate and architecturally significant two bedroom guest house and what the kids at Curbed called “a show-stopping lap pool.“
*They also bought the spacious but far less grand house next door for $6.5 million that was sold off in August 2011 for $6,525,065.
**As of today property records do not reflect a transfer of ownership and, hence, we can not confirm or deny the actual sale price but we have no reason or insight to dispute the reported $45 million sale price.
aerial photo: Bing