British investor Howard Shore dumps $39 million on a Bel Air “contemporary masterpiece”

It was well over two years ago that this Bel Air mansion at 864 Stradella Road first popped up for sale, stars in its eyes and the (LA) world at its feet. The asking price then was a rather ludicrous $55,000,000. Yes, really. $55 million for a 14,000-square-foot house on a .82-acre lot. “Outrageous!!” as the inimitable Judge Judy would say.

After a couple real estate agent changes, the ask eventually slipped $48 million. Lo and behold, the property finally transferred last week for a much-reduced but still impressive $39,000,000. Frankly, that figure is at least $10 million more than what Yolanda expected this place to fetch. We just couldn’t fathom anyone slamming down more than $30 mill for this place. But it sure did happen.

Naturally, Yolanda was more than a wee bit curious about who the new owner was. Turns out, as our friends at The Real Deal first confirmed, the buyer is not Beyonce & Jay-Z or some tech gazillionaire but rather a guy the ignorant Yolanda ain’t never heard of before: UK-based entrepreneur Howard Shore.

Howard Shore, proud new Bel Air homeowner

Our Mr. Shore appears to be relatively low-profile — at least for a gent who can afford $39 million houses — and we don’t know his approximate net worth. But we do know that he founded his investment business Shore Capital in his mid-20s. Now in his mid-50s, Mr. Shore is a vocal supporter of the UK’s Conservative Party and with his wife Andree sponsored shindigs in support of David Cameron, the now ex-Prime Minister of Britain. He’s also frequently a guest speaker at his friend Mike Milken’s annual Global Conference.

The seller of this property, y’all might be interested to know, was an emergency doctor turned real estate developer named Joseph Englanoff. Our Mr. Englanoff happens to be the very same guy who — a few years back — bought and tore down Lisa Marie Presley’s Hidden Hills ranch house. He then proceeded to erect a massive mega-spec-mansion that he sold to Kim Kardashian and Kanye West for $19,750,000, an amount widely believed to be the most ever paid for a house in the San Fernando Valley. But we digress.

Our architect here, as astute folks may have already guessed, was the one and only Paul McClean. The Irish-born Mr. McClean has fast become the most prominent architect in the Los Angeles spec-mega-mansion game. The numbers don’t lie, y’all. No fewer than five different McClean-built homes have sold for more than 20 million bucks this year alone.

And it was Mr. McClean’s designs, after all, that back in 2012 arguably kick-started the whole Platinum Triangle spec-mansion frenzy that continues today.

The house clocks in at a serious 14,230-square-feet of living space. The .82-acre property isn’t particularly large for this area of town, and the steeply sloped lot forced the structure itself to sit rather hard up on the street. There’s really no front yard to speak of, apart from a rather inelegantly small motorcourt.

That being said, the house lies privately behind imposing gates and towering hedges. Lucky guests will be impressed by the catwalk-over-mini-moat and the disappearing walls of glass that provide a truly gobsmackingly stupendous view of the City of Angels, particularly at night.

Out back, accessed by the disappearing walls of glass that frame almost every room, there’s also a 90-foot infinity-edged pool. More on that in a moment.

Inside, the plethora of luxury features would make Marie Antoinette bust out bawlin’. For starters, there’s the wild living room with its view, full bar, and one of the longest fireplaces we can recall seeing in recent memory. Too bad the ceiling has got the damn chicken pox, eh?

An Italian kitchen has a vaulted (glass?) ceiling and two islands. Elsewhere, there’s a sleek wine cellar with tasting table and “thumbprint security access”. We can’t have those filthy guests sucking down our winter stash of Two Buck Chuck. Naturally.

The de rigueur gym and billiards room look about how you’d expect. But our favorite area of the house might just be the home theater, which is done up like the sexiest mancave we’ve ever laid eyes upon.

The master suite occupies its own wing of the structure and packs in an office, another full bar (you’ve gotta be a big drinker to truly appreciate this house), dual walk-in closets and dual bathrooms. An indoor/outdoor terrace offers views of the backyard below and the city skyline.

Each of the two master bathrooms have steam rooms and in at least one there’s a disco-themed lighting system and a walk-in shower with rainfall showerhead and a TV. We don’t usually fancy watching our favorite telenovela while we’re scrubbing down our kibbles ‘n bits, but that’s just Yolanda.

Above are two of the other guest suites. The house has a total of 7 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms.

Somewhere there’s an office with Listone Giordano hardwood floors. The house also sports a catering kitchen (in addition to the main kitchen) and a floating staircase.

In addition to the view, the backyard sports a large grassy pad and an outdoor fireplace.

But although the property might look pretty, there’s a good chance our Mr. Shore will not (initially) be popular with his Bel Air neighbors. That’s because the house has become — per the New York Times — infamous in the neighborhood as a water waster due to at least one major sprung leak.

Mr. Englanoff and/or his LLC have also been sued over the property at least once. At some point during construction, part of the hillside below the house collapsed. This created an avalanche of “water, soil, and muddy debris” that rained down like righteous hellfire on the all the poors below, per a lawsuit filed by an impacted neighbor — one Mr. Kola Aluko. (Interestingly, Mr. Aluko’s spec-mansion just below this house was also built by Paul McClean. It has since been sold at a major loss.)

So Mr. Shore might need to be prepared for a little ingrained neighborhood bias/resentment against him, through no fault of his own. But assuming he cares about such things, perhaps he will attempt to shore up favor by plugging those pesky leaks.

Get it? Get it?!

Listing agents: Jade Mills, Coldwell Banker; Mauricio Umansky, The Agency; Ben Bacal, Rodeo Realty; Branden & Rayni Williams, Hilton & Hyland
Mr. Shore’s agent: Fred Bernstein, Westside Estate Agency

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