Bird Street Week: James Wan sells to Steve & Debi Wisch for $13 million

We know we’re a bit late to the party on this one, but we’ve still got a bit of fresh tea to spill nonetheless.

Astute nosey Neds may recall that it was the Wall Street Journal lady who first hissed that blockbuster film director James Wan (Saw, Insidious, Furious 7) recently and quietly sold his recently-acquired house on a very prime Bird Streets street in an off-market deal. Records reveal that escrow closed for $13,125,000 — substantially more than the $9,726,500 Mr. Wan paid for the unchanged place only two years before. Good on you, Mr. Wan.

The remodeled 1960s house itself is a rather confusing medley of Mediterranean-meets-Traditional-meets-Contemporary. And although the .63-acre lot is almost completely flat — a rarity in this steeply-sloped neighborhood — the structure itself is angled strangely on the lot, where a wing on the house blocks most of the westward views from the kidney-shaped pool.

But the property does have lots of luxury amenities to distract from the oddball architecture and decor. These include: a guest house, a gym, a wine cellar, a screening room, an upgraded kitchen with top-fleet appliances, and a massive outdoor entertaining area complete with a bar, grill, fireplace and pizza oven.

The total living space square footage (guest house included) comes to a hefty 7,500 with 6 bedrooms and 6.5 baths. And unlike must other buyers on this plummy particular Bird Street (Ted Waitt, Ashley Tabor) we have heard the buyers do not plan to tear the ol’ beotch down, at least not right away.

According to just about everyone, Mr. Wan never actually spent a night in this house. Instead, the investment property was put up for sale in early 2015 but was eventually leased to European tech entrepreneur Alfred Vericel and his wife.

Mr. Wan has long resided in a much-more-modest house in the same Doheny Estates area of the Birds. It’s basically just around the corner from the house he just sold to a couple of good Wisches.

Mr. Wan’s house, Doheny Estates

This July, as noted by our friends at the LA Times, Mr. Wan paid $18,500,000 for a gorgeous Bel Air estate once owned by formerly-popular actress Meg Ryan. We have no intel on whether Mr. Wan plans to relocate to Bel Air or if this is another investment.

Mr. Wan’s $18.5 million Bel Air estate

Anyway, records reveal the buyer of Mr. Wan’s just-sold Bird Streets abode is carefully cloaked behind something called “Nightingale View Partners LLC”. Well, Yolanda did a little poking around and a little asking around and eventually we confirmed that the buyers are a New York City-based couple named Steve & Debi Wisch — he a Goldman Sachs alum and she a jewelry designer.

At this point y’all might be thinking “Cool. But why should we care about these folks?” Well, hold yer horses. Yolanda has discovered that Mr. & Mrs. Wisch have quite the intriguing real estate history.

Way back in 2002, the couple shoveled out $10,000,000 to buy their current main residence, a full-floor spread at 1125 Fifth Avenue on the Upper East Side. For what it’s worth, this is the same building in which songstress Bette Midler owns the full-floor penthouse with its forest-like rooftop garden.

1125 Fifth Avenue, where Mr. & Mrs. Wisch bought from Generosa Ammon

Here’s the interesting part. The 10th-floor residence was sold to the Wisches by Generosa Ammon, the widow of hotshot financier Ted Ammon. The late Mr. Ammon made tabloids worldwide in 2001 when he was brutally bludgeoned to death in the couple’s Hamptons mansion. And murder, especially a particularly brutal murder, is a very rare thing in the Hamptons.

Several sordid details emerged in the months following his death: the Ammons were in the midst of a messy divorce, Mrs. Ammon had an electrician boyfriend named Daniel Pelosi with a rap sheet as long as Rachel Dolezal’s weave, Mr. Ammon may have secretly been soliciting gay sex romps. Perhaps most shocking of all, Mrs. Ammon set NYC society jaws agape when she wed her electrician boytoy less than three months after Mr. Ammon’s untimely passing.

But it wasn’t until three years later that police finally arrested Mr. Pelosi for the murder.

Was Mrs. Ammon complicit in the act, as many folks speculate? We will never know for certain. You see, Mrs. Ammon died of cancer just two years after Mr. Ammon’s death, just two years after getting all that cash (Mr. Ammon was worth some $100 million).

Sometimes God has a dark sense of humor, huh?

Oh dear, we majorly digress. But speaking of the Hamptons! Like all good upper-crust NYers, Mr. & Mrs. Wisch own a swanky vacation home there. Their property is located in hoity-toity East Hampton. Property records show the Wisches plunked down $8,850,000 for the house in March of 2005. One of their nearest neighbors is the man himself — Steven Spielberg.

The Wisch estate on Georgica Pond, East Hampton

Supremely sited on the shore of stupidly scenic Georgica Pond, the 1980s contemporary was originally built for the late B.H. Friedman, a real estate businessman who gave up his career and became an influential writer and art critic. In 2006, the Wisches engaged high-priced designer Lee Mindel to renovate the entire estate.

The Wisches briefly had the property up for sale earlier this year (2016) with an ask of $17,980,000. The house has since been taken off the market, though a change in ownership does not appear to have taken place.

Yolanda certainly understands why folks may not like the look this place. Most ’80s moderns are difficult to love. The somewhat Lego-like exterior certainly isn’t pretty. But maybe is just drunk on that mid-morning sherry, because we feel like we could get down with this beotch. Don’t judge.

Though the Wisches are born-and-bred New Yorkers, their acquisition of an expensive West Coast outpost is really no big surprise. You see, the couple have three teenage children and we have been told that all three plan to attend college in California. In fact, Yolanda has been told that their oldest child just finished his freshman year at a Southern California university — the very same university that happens to be Yolanda’s alma mater. For what it’s worth.

Congrats, young Mr. Wisch! Now study hard and maybe one day you can make your parents’ wisches come true just like Yolanda did for Mr. & Mrs. Yakketyyak. You know, you can blog about other folks’ houses all day. Tee-hee! We joke.


  1. WeHO Gay boi says:

    A little disappointed by this Bird’s week….

    I know there is A LOT more going on than this….

    Sad, I thought it might be a good week at the Little Black Book….

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