It’s a painfully hot day in SoCal, but Yolanda’s got the perfect tonic to keep ya iced down. We’re heading out to Malibu for a quick stroll along the beach.
Probably the most common question we’ve received since we started this hot mess of a blog is why we only concentrate on Los Angeles-area properties. Well frankly, my dears, we don’t give a damn. Just kidding. The reason is because we live in LA, we’ve always lived in LA, we probably always will live in LA. And most of our family, friends, and acquaintances are here, too.
We would love to write about NYC, London, or San Francisco real estate the same way, but we just don’t know how much info we can provide up and beyond what’s already out there. Yolanda is not some omnipotent goddess who can crack into every trust and LLC in existence or knows who is going to list what and when. Sometimes we need some assistance from a few friendly tattletales.
That’s not to say we’re not going to spread our wings. Next week is going to be mostly devoted to Orange County stories. After that, we’re going to hone in on New York a wee bit. Just for a fun diversion. But LA will always be this blog’s main focus. We don’t mean to sound uncultured, that’s just what it is. (But please, if you’re got any out-of-state tips, be a dear and send them our way. We love it.)
Take this oceanfront Malibu mansion. If we didn’t have the hookups around town, we probably would have no clue who owns it. Records show the house last sold for a hefty $17,000,000 in February 2013 to a mysterious bank trust. Yolanda finds no evidence of a mortgage on the property — we strongly suspect the anonymous buyer(s) paid all cash.
Well, kids, Yolanda just happens to know who owns this property. Their names are Michael V. Lewis and Lizanne Falsetto.
Never heard of them? Neither had Yolanda. But it turns out that Mr. Lewis & Ms. Falsetto are (unsurprisingly, since they have a $17 million house) very, very rich.
Mr. Lewis is the co-founder of RealD, a Beverly Hills-based firm that single-handedly developed the RealD 3D technology for movie theaters. Ever gone to see a film in 3D at the movies? Mr. Lewis’s pocketbook would like to thank you. Chances are good that your theater utilized his company’s 3D technology.
In November 2015, Mr. Lewis (and his business partner Joshua Greer) sold RealD to a private equity company for a whopping $551 million in an all-cash transaction.
And this sale happened nearly three years after Mr. Lewis acquired his $17 million Malibu beach house, so clearly this guy is loaded. However, his lady Lizanne Falsetto is no slouch in the money department, either.
(Frankly, kids, Yolanda is not certain whether Mr. Lewis and Ms. Falsetto are married or if they are simply in a long-term relationship. And really, such things seem to matter very little nowadays, right? Except when it comes to pre-nups and all that. All we know is they have lived together for quite a few years now.)
Ms. Falsetto, a former model who never attended college, is the founder of a company called ThinkThin, a Ventura-based maker of health-conscious protein/snack bars. If you wanna know what the bars look and/or taste like, just walk into your neighborhood Whole Foods or Pavilions or whatever. They’ve got a whole shelf section to themselves. Ms. Falsetto grew the business from scratch, so kudos to her.
In November 2015, Ms. Falsetto sold her company for $217 million. In cash.
We’re not certain if Mr. Lewis and Ms. Falsetto sold their respective companies in the very same month on purpose, or if it just sorta happened like that. But either way, that’s a whopper-level-worthy intake of cash all at once, ain’t it? Mr. Lewis and Ms. Falsetto are so cash-rich, y’all, Yolanda suspects they could make a serious offer on David Geffen’s nearby Carbon Beach compound, if they so desired. It currently holds a fat off-market $100 million pricetag.
But anyway, for the time being, the newly-retired pair still resides in their “humble” oceanfront shack in the guard-gated and star-studded “Malibu Colony” community. The house, according to the listing, has a very generous 5,919 square feet of living space with 5 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms, making it one of the larger residences in the tightly-packed neighborhood.
Guess who the architect was, kids? Mega-mansion denizen Richard Landry. And you know what? Although Yolanda generally makes fun of and rolls her eyes at any of Landry’s projects for being generally terrible, this one really isn’t so bad. We’d even go so far as to say it’s kinda nice, actually. It’s definitely restrained, which we have never experienced with a Landry. Was he smokin’ some good stuff when he did this one?
Despite having a paltry .24-acre parcel with which to work, Landry did an admirable job of shoehorning the large house onto the lot yet still affording it some all-important privacy. Thick and sky-high hedges and what (rather surprisingly) appear to be eucalyptus trees shield out the neighbors.
The front facade has red brick and a two car garage. Directly above the garage is the detached guest house/staff quarters.
Through a white-washed wooden gate is a charmingly-landscaped pathway to the glassy front door.
The suburban mansion-sized kitchen has a massive center island and every top-end appliance you’d expect in a $17 million house. The compact dining room still seats six comfortably. Disappearing walls of glass maximize the undeniably gorgeous vistas.
Of course an ol’ lush like Yolanda enjoys the full bar, though we could live without the flat-screen TV. But ugh, those black leather chairs are just too awful.
Spacious living and family rooms are thankfully left stylistically simple — no distracting from the views.
The master bedroom (right) has an entire wall of glass. A secondary bedroom has no ocean view, but the garden sights aren’t really so bad.
Speaking of the garden, this house has an unexpectedly large one around between the garage/guest house (above left) and the main house (above right). Most residences in the Colony are packed so damn close together that you can’t walk outside without trippin’ on your neighbor’s porch. Not this one.
In addition to the two stories of nearly 6,000 square feet of living space and their views, this house takes it a big step farther with a party-sized 1,200 square foot rooftop deck. There’s a spa for sexy time, couches, chairs for tanning, and even an outdoor kitchen/bbq with a dining table.
The listing points out the fact that “the home is not only one of the largest in the Colony, but it’s located on one of the best sections of sand with one of [the] widest beach frontages.” There you have it.
Records show the property was acquired in 2008 for $12,450,000 by a high-end house flipper/restaurant owner named Gary Finefrock. We’re not sure what the house looked like back then, but It was Mr. Finefrock who engaged the services of Mr. Landry to construct the current abode, which was originally listed, as we recall, for somewhere in excess of $25 million. So either Mr. Lewis and Ms. Falsetto got the mansion at a great deal or the property was wildly overpriced to start, right?
Other residents of the Colony include billionaire Sheldon Adelson (who owns not one, not two but five properties in the gated community), billionaire Jerry Perenchio (who owns five or six himself), Taylor Thomson, Bruce Makowsky & Kathy Van Zeeland, Roma Downey, Pamela Anderson, Peter Asher, Wallis Annenberg, Michael LaFetra, Lee Phillip Bell, Paul Reiser, John McEnroe, and 20-something-year-old Alexander Hughes, the only heir to the massive Herbalife fortune.
Time will tell if their newly-mega-massive pocketbooks cause Mr. Lewis & Ms. Falsetto to upgrade their LA residential real estate circumstances in the near future. While we wait, behave yourself, stay cool, and if you can — make it rain for Yolanda. We’re gettin’ heatstroke over here.