Yolanda does not discuss the gorgeous communities of Hancock Park and Windsor Square nearly as often as we should. Oh dear. Attempts will be made to rectify that in the weeks ahead — but for today, we have have selected a lavish old Roaring Twenties mansion to feature up in here.
Built in 1923 (to be precise), the Italian Renaissance Revival-style structure was — per the listing — once owned by Frank Sennes, a Las Vegas businessman who purchased Hollywood’s Earl Carroll Theater and transformed it into the Moulin Rouge nightclub. During its heyday in the mid-1950s, the Moulin Rouge attracted some serious star wattage in the form of performances from Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Daniels, Dean Martin, Dennis Day, the Mills Brothers, Anna Marie Alberghitti, Frankie Laine, Johnny Ray, and even Liberace. Another Moulin Rouge regular was Frank Sinatra, who (reportedly) was also a regular party guest at Mr. Sennes’ Hancock Park home.
Anyway, the house eventually came to be owned by a not-famous couple, who held onto the property for decades. Finally, after about five years on and off the market at ever-declining asking prices, those folks finally unloaded it last December (2017). for $6,075,000 to a blind trust.
Within a couple weeks of closing on the massive property, the mysterious new owner had surrounded the house with an ugly green construction fence. Major work began inside and out. And while it took Yolanda a few months to piece this puzzle together, we eventually discovered the buyer’s identity: prolific horror film producer extraordinaire Jason Blum. (Paranormal Activity, The Purge, Sinister, Insidious).
Kinda interesting, right? But then, as we were preparing to write about this story, Yolanda noticed something odd. In March (2018) — just three months after purchasing the estate — Mr. Blum very quietly sold the whole big shebang in an off-market deal. The sale price was $6,075,000, exactly what he had paid three months prior. The buyer was prolific landscape architect Jay Griffith.
Now, y’all might look at this flip and say that Mr. Blum broke even. And maybe he did. On paper, at least. But as everyone who has ever purchased a house knows, there are tons of additional transaction costs besides just the sale price. Real estate agent commissions, escrow fees, inspections, closing costs, on and on it goes. Just the agent costs on a $6 million house could be $300,000, y’all. So Mr. Blum definitely lost a substantial amount of money here.
Why Mr. Blum would spend more than $6 million to purchase a huge property and begin major construction, only to sell the place three months later at a loss of several hundred thousand smackers is a locked-up mystery for which we do not hold the key. Mr. Blum has not yet returned any of Yolanda’s multiple phone calls and text messages. Come on, baby. Tick tock. For now, we have to assume that something made Mr. Blum suddenly change his mind.
What was it? A old woman’s silhouette in one of the attic windows? A sickening moan from behind the basement door? Did Brenda from Scary Movie waltz into this place and start announcing spoilers to Mr. Blum’s films?
Or maybe we are looking at this all wrong. Our Mr. Blum is today’s biggest horror film producer, after all. Maybe Mr. Blum did not find any ghosts or ghouls. Could the sinister spirits he was hoping to encounter have eluded him here? Perhaps he opened up the walls to his new home and found — nothing!
The ornate 7,118-square-foot mansion sits on Rossmore Avenue, aka the freeway of Hancock Park. Yolanda hates this street, y’all (but we love the houses). Thousands of cars cruise by Mr. Blum’s former pad every day. Just backing outta your damn driveway can be a challenge. At least the double-lot is definitely estate-sized — nearly one flat acre — and backs up to the greens of the exclusive Wilshire Country Club.
A browse through the listing photos from the time of Mr. Blum’s purchase reveals that while the property has been reasonably maintained over the past 95 years, it is definitely in need of some updates and upgrades. The front driveway is cracked, the landscaping is scruffy, and the interiors look a bit stuffy.
A formal entryway leads to a grand chandelier and a regal staircase. Most of the public rooms have lustrous hardwood floors, and many old-school architectural details appear to be intact. A massive stainless fridge hilariously contrasts with the kitchen’s other dated appliances.
There are 5 beds and 7 baths on the property. An upstairs master suite features a couple of strangely placed gilded columns, a fireplace, sitting area, and a bathroom with a built-in soaking tub. Also upstairs is a narrow staircase leading to a large attic area. The listing notes this room could be used as a home office, studio, or for storage.
The pool house/cabana, with its living room and full web bar, looks in need of a full restoration.
The backyard features a heated swimming pool, a hot tub, a sports court, and “endless golf course views”. Yolanda personally thinks the whole space would look much better if that pool house/cabana thing were demolished (or at least majorly reconfigured) but that is just us.
For loads more photos and a 3D tour of the property, go here.
Our Mr. Blum has been married to his wife Lauren Schuker since 2012. The couple have a young daughter, Roxy. The family currently resides in Downtown LA — specifically in the ritzy Ritz Carlton condo residences at LA Live. Records show they coughed up a fat $6,700,000 for their high-floor pad back in 2016.
Records show that the Hart-Sugarmans made a killing on the unit when they sold it to the Blum family — they had owned the condo for less than three years and bought it for just $3,500,000. That’s a $3.2 million profit before ancillary costs!
Anyway, just because Mr. Blum changed his mind about living in today’s house does not mean that he has also changed his mind about living in Hancock Park. Yolanda hears through the real estate gossip grapevine that our boy has been shopping for another spooky mansion in the area. And, in fact, whispers say he may or may not be quietly in escrow on something in the neighborhood.