Take a look at this house. Ain’t it gorgeous? Isn’t she lovely?
Designed by Vantage Design Group, it’s got some of the most spectacular waterworks we’ve ever seen. There’s an outdoor movie theater, awe-inspiring walls of glass, huge motorcourt and an underground garage. Baller views! Panty-dropping firepits! The perfect house in a fantastic location. For $32 million, It almost seems like a bargain, no?
We joke, of course. You can’t get all this for the low, low price of $32,500,000. That house you see above only exists on digital renderings. What you get for $32.5 million is this:
Don’t like it? Too bad. Shut up. It’s better than that hot, sticky, STD-infested mess over on Charing Cross Road! Shoot. Now that’s a $100 million junk heap if we ever saw one. But as always, we digress.
The Trousdale Estates house — an obvious teardown — sold for $32,500,000 in the last days of September (2016) to an anonymous corporate entity (BH Propco LLC). In its current form, the property includes an un-pedigreed and rather run-down-looking 1965 mid-century modern structure with 5,265-square-feet of living space. The two parcels that make up the property span “nearly two acres” according to listing information, but Yolanda suspects that less than one acre of that is actually usable land.
So who’s the billionaire buyer? Yolanda heard from a wee little birdy that the new owner might be Bernard Arnault, but as of now we are unable to personally confirm or deny this. But we’re working on it, so don’t despair. And stay tuned.
Anyway, Mr. Arnault — if indeed he is the buyer — is currently the world’s 14th richest person (as per Forbes) so he can certainly afford a $32.5 million teardown. Probably several $32.5 million teardowns, actually. As the Chairman of LVMH, which controls Louis Vuitton, Dom Perignon, Bulgari, Louis Vuitton, Sephora and Tag Heuer, Mr. Arnault presides over the world’s largest luxury brands empire.
Even though he has never previously owned a house here, Mr. Arnault is certainly no stranger to Beverly Hills. Earlier this year he paid $122 million (in cash) for the iconic yellow House of Bijan store on Rodeo Drive. A few years before that, he paid $85 million (also in cash) for another Rodeo Drive storefront. Arnault and/or LVMH are believed to already have five properties — or maybe even more, Yolanda doesn’t know — along that one highly-coveted street.
For even the “ordinary” millionaires among us, it may seem absolutely insane to pay $32.5 million for a crappy old house on less than two acres (a significant portion of which is unusable hillside land). And it kinda is. But in Trousdale Estates, it’s perfectly within the norm.
Take a look at the house next door. In April 2010 (during the height of the economic recession), Oakley sunglasses billionaire Jim Jannard paid $19,900,000 for the sprawling 1960s abode there. He promptly razed the thing and spent several years replacing it with a scary-looking fortress.
In June 2013, the house on the other side of the Jannard bunker — owned for many years by entertainment staples Burt Sugarman and Mary Hart — sold for $27,000,000 in an off-market deal to Saudi Sheikh Mohammed bin Salem Al-Marri. In a rarely-seen preservationist-worthy move, the Sheikh apparently decided not to knock the house down. It’s still standing and our boy is using it as his residence whenever he’s in LA.
Before buying this fusty traditional house, incidentally, the Bugatti-driving Sheikh Al-Marri leased a big modern pad up in the Bird Streets. It was here, tragically, where his family was robbed at gunpoint and a unknown amount of money and valuables were abducted in the heist. It’s not known by Yolanda if the thieves were ever caught.
But we digress.
Just around the corner, at the end of a wee cul-de-sac called Alexis Place are two adjacent teardowns that recently sold for a total of $27,000,000 to the same buyer, a mysterious off-shore corporation with clear links to a Austrian fellow named Thomas Graf, the eldest son of gambling billionaire Johann Graf.
Other parts of Trousdale are just as pricey. Certain folks seem to have cut all tethers to the rational world. They’ve just severed them all and floated up to the loony bin in the sky with the way they’ve sunk ludicrous amounts of money into their personal compounds.
Take hedge fund honcho David Kabiller, who has spent more than $50 million on two adjacent teardowns.
And then there’s DreamWorks bazillionaire Jeffrey Katzenberg, who in 2011 forked over $35,000,000 for a teardown that he long ago razed to construct a new mansion. Yolanda heard through the grapevine that the interiors of the new house alone cost Mr. Katzenberg another $20 million. We wish we were joking, but we pinky-swear it’s the honest truth.
And finally, let’s not forget our friend Markus Persson, whose $70,000,000 cash splurge currently holds the record for biggest sale in Beverly Hills. Ever.
So you see now, dontcha? A $32.5 million teardown in Trousdale Estates is no big brassy breadsticks. It’s like a crocodile playing an organ in the middle of a blizzard. A bit unexpected, perhaps a bit awkward the first few times it happens. But after that, once it becomes a regular thing, it’s really nothing to squawk about. (We’re only squawking now because Yolanda’s a real estate yenta and yentas squawk about everything.)
Heck, if you look at it from certain angles, Mr. Arnault (or whoever) kinda almost maybe sort of got a good deal on the place. Not really, of course, but you could at least make the case for it.