Way back in early 2013, when the real estate market was still in recovery mode from our most recent economic recession, Mexican investor Mauricio Oberfeld coughed up $6,250,000 for a classic mid-century modern residence in Beverly Hills.
Unfortunately for the ol’ gurl, she happened to be situated on one of the best lots in the city: a .66-acre flat promontory north of Sunset Boulevard with unobstructed views of downtown Beverly Hills, downtown LA, the Century City skyscrapers, and (on a clear day) the Pacific Ocean. So her fate was effectively sealed the moment Mr. Oberfeld received the deed. Although he allowed the house to sit vacant for well over a year, the structure was eventually and inevitably bulldozed to make way for an ultra-contemporary compound.
According to a recent listing, Mr. Oberfeld commissioned Bowery Group, a prominent local architecture firm, to design a snazzy (and glassy) 11,000-square-foot mansion for the vacant property. Permits were pulled and approved, and Mr. Oberfeld flipped the lot back onto the market in 2017 with a $15 million asking price. Included in that hefty figure, of course, were the Bowery Group plans and permits.
Although the price was eventually cut to $13.5 million, the land did not sell and was yanked off the market in fall 2017. But lo! Records now show that the property finally transferred this October (2018) for exactly $14 million in an off-market deal. And yes, kiddies, that price is $500,000 more than last year’s ask.
Clearly someone wanted this lot — and wanted it badly.
So who is the new owner? Technically the deed now belongs to a blind trust, though the buyers are very obviously a couple named Gary & Nadine Barber.
Our Mr. Barber, now in his early 60s, was born and raised in South Africa. An accountant by trade, he moved to LA in the 1980s, where he would eventually become a naturalized US citizen.
By the late 1990s, Mr. Barber had co-founded the successful film production company Spyglass Entertainment and was already a prominent figure in Hollywood. In late 2010, his career reached its zenith with his appointment as CEO of Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer, one of the world’s biggest and most successful film studios. By most accounts, Mr. Barber’s MGM tenure was a financial successful for the studio. In case y’all are wondering, he is the guy responsible for mega-hits like the Hobbit movies, the billion-dollar James Bond flick Skyfall, and the RoboCop remake.
However, all good things must end. In March 2018, just five months after renewing his contract for another five years, Mr. Barber was unceremoniously fired from his CEO role. Though he has refused to comment specifically on the issue(s) that led to his release, reports say that Mr. Barber repeatedly clashed with chairman Kevin Ulrich over the studio’s direction. Still, our boy was reportedly blindsided by his dismissal.
Well, that sucks. Still, the $260 million settlement he received probably helped. But we digress.
We really don’t know whether Mr. Barber intends to carry through with the Bowery Group design plans for his new residence, or whether he will construct an entirely different dream home of his own design. With $260 million in the bank, we imagine he can build any house imaginable. But let’s have a look-see at the sort of place he could immediately construct right this instant (should he feel so inclined).
The boxy two-story contemporary features not one but two massive negative-edge swimming pools. And there’s also other water features — reflecting pools, 20-foot waterfalls, various fountains. Mr. Barber’s monthly water bill alone would probably bankrupt us and/or drive us to an early grave.
Included in the structure itself are 6 beds and 11 baths, a media room, gym, wine room, elevator, and all the other luxury goodies y’all would expect in a brand-new Beverly Hills mansion.
As for Mr. and Mrs. Barber’s current residence, it’s actually not a house at all — rather, it’s a penthouse in the Remington condo building in LA’s high-priced Wilshire Corridor. Records show that Mr. Barber bought his unit a full fifteen years ago — back in 2003 — for $3,500,000. There are 4 beds and 5 baths in a comfy (but not massive) 4,270-square-feet of living space.
Like many Hollywood power players, Mr. Barber’s also got a pricey oceanfront vacation home. Unlike most of his peers, however, Mr. Barber’s house isn’t in the typical haunts of Malibu or Hawaii. His pad is down in the obscenely pricey (and amazingly gorgeous) La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, a couple hours (by vehicle) south of LA. According to records and previous reports, the Barbers purchased their Spanish-influenced getaway pad in 2009 for just over $16.1 million.
As it turns out, Mr. and Mrs. Barber have (unsuccessfully) attempted to part with their La Jolla paradise in the past. Beginning in late 2014, they had the property on the market for about six months with a $26,950,000 request price. The sprawling compound — it’s got nearly 10,000-square-feet of living space — did not sell and was eventually delisted.