Bill Gross plunks down $35 million to buy his neighbors’ houses

These transactions we are about to discuss all occurred about two years ago. But as far as Yolanda knows, nobody else on the interwebs has discussed them yet. These deals were kept hush-hush. And judging by the spike in “hits” our blog receives whenever we write about bonafide real estate ballers, Yolanda knew she just couldn’t pass up writing about this.

William H. “Bill” Gross, for those who don’t know, is a very famous American financier who co-founded asset management giant PIMCO way back in 1971. For decades, he very successfully led and grew the company as Chief Investment Officer. He’s known as the “Bond King” in American finance and the Old Grey Lady herself even referred to him as “the nation’s most prominent bond investor“. Blah blah blah. In short, he’s a very big deal. No pun intended.

However, Mr. Gross no longer works with PIMCO. He left in a blaze of glory, publicity, and schadenfreude back in 2014 and is currently suing the company he co-founded for wrongful termination (PIMCO says he left voluntarily, though Gross says otherwise). Gross is now with a much-smaller firm: Janus Capital.

Mr. Gross — who has been married to his second wife, Sue Frank, for over 30 years and has three grown children, FYI — is also a major philanthropist and one of the world’s top stamp collectors. He’s also, duh, a major lover of luxury real estate. But you knew that already, right? We wouldn’t be featuring him if he had a Warren Buffett-style real estate situation.

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While Mr. Gross owns a heavy handful of ludicrously-expensive residences all over the place, his  main residence for decades has been in Laguna Beach, behind the Orange Curtain. Specifically, he resides in “Irvine Cove,” perhaps Orange County’s most exclusive and expensive guard-gated community.

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As far as we can tell, Mr. Gross purchased his Irvine Cove property way, way back in March 1988. Not for lack of trying, but we were unable to locate a purchase price. Yolanda is also not sure if there was a house on the lot when he acquired it or if it was just vacant land. But if there was a house there, it was demolished faster than y’all can snap your fingers twice. Records show Mr. Gross’s new mansion — which appears to be contemporary in style — was completed sometime in 1989. As best as we can tell by aerial images, the house underwent a renovation a few years ago.

Mr. Gross’s blufftop house is one of the largest mansions in the pricey community, weighing in at a decidedly-portly 13,819 square feet with 6 bedrooms and 8 bathrooms. But apparently that’s not space for this certified Real Estate Baller.

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On June 3, 2014, the large, multi-winged house directly across the street from Mr. Gross’s house unexpectedly sold for a very serious $19,800,000. The house was never on the market, so there aren’t any listing photos or many facts/figures publicly available, but according to tax records the current, rather ho-hum structure was built in 1969 and spans 5,437 square feet with 4 bedrooms and 6 baths. The lot is a large (for the area) .53-acre of land.

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Then, exactly one week later — on June 10th — a two=story mock-med house next door to Mr. Gross’s place sold for $16,000,000. Again, the home was never on the market and there are no pics, but property records indicate it was built in 1979 and has 4 beds and 4.5 baths in 4,561 square feet of living space on a .27-acre lot.

Now get this, kiddies. Both houses were acquired by the very same buyer — a mysterious entity calling itself the “White Tiger Trust”. That’s $35,800,000 that this mysterious trust threw down in the span of a week — all cash.

Yolanda, of course, opened her own “investigation” and it only took a couple minutes of research before we discovered (and as you probably already guessed) that this “White Tiger Trust” is very easily connected to the man himself — William H. Gross, aka Bill Gross.

Unfortunately, we don’t know Mr. Gross or any of his family members so we can’t shed even a flicker of light on what his plans may be for his three-house compound, which spans a total of 1.24 acres and has nearly 24,000 square feet of interior space between the three structures. But we took a look at recent (2016) aerial imagery and it does not appear that Mr. Gross has done much with the large spread across the street in the past two years. However, the two-story structure next door appears to be under construction/renovation. Maybe he’s converting it into a guest/staff residence.

 

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One of Mr. Gross’s closest neighbors in Laguna Beach is Oculus VR founder Brendan Iribe, who paid more than $30,000,000 for an Irvine Cove residence that’s literally a stone’s throw away from Mr. Gross’s compound.

As we mentioned earlier, Mr. Gross is well-known for his very, very healthy appetite for luxury real estate. In addition to his $40+ million compound in Laguna Beach, he also owns another super-luxe modern compound in the Palm Desert resort town of Indian Wells, CA — it’s pretty much the Beverly Hills of Riverside County.

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Mr. Gross acquired the golf-green-fronting lot — located within the guard-gated Vintage Club neighborhood — in 1995 for $2,500,000 and tax records show the current, contemporary mansion was completed in 2002 and has 11,316 square feet with 4 bedrooms and 6.5 baths. There’s an infinity pool and direct golf-green-fronting views.

Other nearby Indian Wells neighbors include a multitude of billionaires: world’s richest man Bill Gates, industrialist Charles Koch, Montana’s richest man Dennis Washington, Texas ranch/oil heiress Anne Windfohr Marion, and Mercedes-Benz heiress Ingrid Flick.

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As everyone and their auntie’s therapist knows — and as was first revealed by the incomparable Your Mama over at Variety — Mr. Gross currently owns Ohana, the large and luxe spread he bought from Jennifer Aniston in 2011 for an unprecedented $35,000,000. That transaction made all the real estate headlines and disclocated jaws from Los Feliz to Malibu. Nobody thought Ms. Aniston would ever get anywhere near $30 million for that house. Then Mr. Gross came and shut the haters down. Must be nice to have that kind of spending power, huh?

Privately and ideally sited in the lower area of Beverly Hills’ Trousdale Estates neighborhood, Ohana sits on a gated flag lot of nearly an acre. The Balinese-inspired property was photographed for Architectural Digest in 2010 under Ms. Aniston’s ownership. The house has 10,000 square feet of interior space with 5 bedrooms, 7.5 bathrooms, a gym, two kitchens, and an infinity pool with baller-style views out to the Pacific.

Most unusually, the property shares its driveway with another house. Have you ever heard of a $35 million house that has to share its driveway (and gate) with the next door neighbors? Well, now you have.

Mr. Gross’s nearest neighbors in Beverly Hills include nutritional supplement heir Ryan Drexler, Ringo Starr, Roger Birnbaum (he paid $20,000,000 for Ellen DeGeneres’s house), and Riza Aziz, the severely-legally-embattled stepson of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

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Back in 2002, Mr. & Mrs. Gross paid an even-steven $20,000,000 for a spectacular mansion on famed 17 Mile Drive in Pebble Beach (CA). The house is in perhaps the poshest part of the entire road and backs up to, as per our Mama, the best fairway on what is perhaps one of the world’s most famous golf courses.

The Grosses spent years attempting to unload their place at a variety of asking prices before it finally sold in May 2014 for “just” $16,500,000 to venture capitalist Hank Plain and his wife Lisa. That’s a $3.5 million loss for Mr. Gross, not counting taxes, carrying costs, real estate fees, etc.

Also on 17 Mile Drive and just a few doors away is a house that was sold for a county-record-smashing $31,250,000 in late 2014 to Arkansas-based billionaire Warren Stephens and his wife Harriet. Then there’s Apple CFO Luca Maestri who paid $9,000,000 for his forest-like 17 Mile Drive property, and Palos Verdes-based philanthropists Richard & Melanie Lundquist, who just this April (2016) slammed down $28,000,000 for a major 17 Mile Drive estate — and they already own a smaller home on the very same road!

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Back to Orange County. In July 2009, near the height of the recession, Mr. & Mrs. Gross somewhat unexpectedly slammed down $23,000,000 for a double-lot mansion on Harbor Island in Newport Beach (CA). Much to the shock, awe, and/or delight of onlookers, they immediately razed the existing structure and were all prepared to construct a new OC home base. But, as is common with really rich folks, the Grosses had a change of heart and instead flipped the vacant lot on the market with a ballsy asking price of $26,900,000 in 2011.

Unfortunately for the Grosses’ pocketbooks, the vacant land did not sell until April 2014, when Blake Quinn paid $20,800,000 — through an LLC — for the prime parcel. Who is Blake Quinn? A little web research reveals he is CEO of the Quinn Group, a massive Fresno, CA-based lessor of Caterpillar tractors and related equipment. Yes, kiddies, a tractor landlord can afford a $20 million vacant lot in one of the OC’s most exclusive enclaves. No kidding.

Anyway, Mr. & Mrs. Gross took a $2.2 million loss on this one, not counting demolition fees and all those other costs involved with buying and selling a property of this magnitude.

Some of the other richie-rich residents on ultra-exclusive (and gated) Harbor Island include billionaire Donald Bren and billionaire George Argyros. And then there’s furniture & real estate power couple Alan & Twila True, who in 2010 paid $27,000,000 through their “Telluride Trust” for the massive mansion at the end of the island. The previous owner of that house, sadly enough, hanged herself inside the massive mansion only a year before the sale.

On a brighter note, Yolanda is on her way to Death Valley for the weekend to escape LA’s heat. How about y’all?

 

 

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