Ever since David Geffen’s major-league Carbon Beach (or Billionaire’s Beach to you plebes) estate sold for a sanity-defying $85 million, rumors have run rampant about who the buyer could be. Yolanda first heard the new owner was a couple from Texas. Then came whispers it was a fellow from South America.
Well, life is funny sometimes. As it turns out, neither half-baked bit of gossip was at all correct. The estate was acquired by a deliberately opaque LLC that leads down a dead-end road (to an address in Miami). But Yolanda and Your Mama just happen to know that the new owners — who have already set up shop — are a Chicago-based couple named Mark & Kimbra Walter.
Y’all may be interested to know that our Mr. Walter just happens to be a multi-billionaire businessman. Born and raised in 1960s Iowa, Mr. Walter eventually migrated over to Chicago, where he graduated from Northwestern University’s school of law and went on to co-found an investment firm called Liberty Hampshire Co. From there, Mr. Walter co-founded what seems to be his career magnum opus, the global financial services juggernaut called Guggenheim Partners. Today Guggenheim has more than $260 billion in assets under management, an utterly staggering amount that Yolanda cannot even fully wrap her peanut-sized brain around.
Guggenheim’s massive success gave Mr. Walter (and his consortium of partners) the ability to purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers for a record-breaking $2.15 billion back in 2012, in case you don’t recall.
But for all his vast wealth and his prominent role as controlling owner of one of the most storied franchises in all of major-league baseball, Mr. Walter continues to maintain a decidedly low profile — stepping out of the shadows only to donate $40 million to Northwestern or to purchase the Los Angeles Sparks and then disappear into the background again.
Anyway, Mr. Walter is married to a lady named Mrs. Walter (Kimbra, as we’ve said) who is an attorney by trade. Together they have a teenage daughter named Samantha. A dash through property records reveals that Mr. Walter appears to maintain a small but impressive stable of luxury residences including a recently-completed 26,000-square-foot mega-mansion in Chicago’s swanky Lincoln Park neighborhood that is built atop what were once seven different parcels of land.
In 2009, the wealthy couple paid $2,400,000 for a surprisingly modest 3,476-square-foot house just outside Aspen, Colorado in a town called Mounte Crested Butte. (Yolanda wonders if Mr. Walter might be fixin’ to upgrade his Aspen residential situation soon — a house that size just ain’t gonna cut it for a guy as rich as he, we think.
Perhaps the most impressive property in Mr. Walter’s portfolio, however, is his “White Oak Plantation” in Florida. The 7,400-acre spread in Yulee is a haven for various species of plant and animal life — some of which are endangered. The Walters — noted conservationists, apparently — paid at least $17 million or so for the privilege of owning and conserving all that land in 2013.
Now, time to discuss Mr. Walter’s latest purchase. The house — which in reality is a compound with at least three different structures — was assembled by David Geffen a very long time ago. What were originally five adjacent parcels of land were acquired by Mr. G in two different transactions (one in the 1970s, one in the 1990s) and combined into one supersized spread. Although the property has several hundred feet of frontage on PCH, about all that’s visible from the highway are nine deceptively modest-looking garage bays (at least four of which are reportedly fakes) and a towering hedge. And though the house was never officially on the open market (so we can’t confirm all details) the estate is believed to include a movie theater, a large pond, an outdoor living room, and an outdoor pool w/ spa.
In summer 2015, Mr. Geffen whisper-listed his mammoth oceanfront complex with a nice round $100 million pricetag. That shocked just about everyone, or at least Yolanda. For the life of us, we couldn’t figure out what would possess anyone to cough up 100 million clams for a house that is jammed in tight between busy-busy Pacific Coast Highway and the pounding California surf, never mind the public access-way that abuts the northern end of the property. But folks were interested. In early 2016, an enigmatic buyer put the place into escrow with an $85 million offer, but for some reason the sale ultimately fell through. (Both Yolanda and Your Mama heard the potential buyer in that case was Texas-based billionaire Michael Dell, but don’t go repeating that like it’s gospel).
Another year passed and then came Mr. Walter with another $85 million offer that really did close. For the record, this is the biggest sale ever in the city, easily blowing away the $74.5 million paid by Jim Jannard back in early 2013. And it’s quite the entrance for Mr. Walter — despite the fact that he purchased the Dodgers a full five years ago, this is his very first house in LA (as far as Yolanda knows).
Some of Mr. Walter’s new big-name neighbors include Larry Ellison (who owns no fewer than thirteen oceanfront homes on Carbon Beach), Simon Nixon, Bill Simmons, Leo DiCaprio, Joel Silver, Eli Broad, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Michael Milken, Gerald Schwartz, Herbert Simon, Francesco Aquilini, Kevin Washington, Geoff Palmer, Haim Saban, Peter Morton, Arnon Milchan, Dr. Dre and Jamie McCourt, who coincidentally owned the Dodgers with her husband Frank before their bitter divorce forced its sell-off to Mr. Walter and Guggenheim.
Listing & Selling agent: Kurt Rappaport, Westside Estate Agency