Robert & Miryam Knutson pay $25 million for a Beverly Park retirement home

A very quiet off-market deal went down a couple weeks ago in Beverly Park, the most expensive and most famous (or infamous, perhaps) guard-gated community in the Los Angeles area. The sale price was exactly $25 million, which is a big deal by any standards. And since Yolanda knows all you crazies love reading about the big B.P., we figured a discussion about the transaction was mandatory.

Since the property was never on the MLS, Yolanda unfortunately has no pics and few details to share with y’all. Records, however, reveal that the 14,061-square-foot beast was built in 1995 by a family member of the legendarily corrupt Suharto, the former president of Indonesia. Although Yolanda cannot prove it, we think the family member in question may have been his son Bambang Trihatmodjo, a longtime fan of Beverly Park.

The Tuscan-style estate sits on a generous 3.63-acre lot and features a gated driveway that leads to the “main” motorcourt. There is also a secondary “service” motorcourt that sits around the north side of the house — this is also where the six-car garage is located. The backyard is clearly resort-influenced with its grassy lawns shaded by multiple mature palm trees, a large swimming pool with not one but two attached spas, and a full-size north/south tennis court. Between the court and pool is a single-story guest/pool house of unknown square footage.

The $25 million Beverly Park mansion

In August 1999, the Beverly Park estate was sold for $12,000,000 to one of the lowest-profile couples in the community: James & Janis Burroughs. We know very little about the Burroughses, except that Mr. Burroughs supposedly comes from old family money. The couple lived quietly in the enclave for nearly two decades, during which time they raised their several children.

In April 2018, the empty nesters sold the high-maintenance spread for the aforementioned $25,000,000. Unexpectedly, the buyers are another very low-profile American couple: Robert (“Bob”) & Miryam Knutson, who hail from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. That is relatively unusual for Beverly Park, where the majority of residents are either famous Hollywood folks or foreign businesspeople.

Miryam & Bob Knutson

Anyway, Mr. & Mrs. Knutson are both former executives at Education Management Corporation (EDMC), a publicly-traded firm with 23,000 employees. EDMC is one of the largest for-profit operators of secondary schools and colleges in the US.

EDMC was founded in 1962, and Mr. Knutson joined the firm in 1969. Mrs. Knutson would follow him in 1984. The couple were soon married, and by 1989 Mr. Knutson had been appointed Chairman and CEO. Mrs. Knutson served as President and COO.

The Knutsons guided EDMC through decades of steady growth, during which the company acquired several art institutes and small secondary college chains. In 1996, the company went public. Then in 2006, the company went private again when it was majority acquired for $3.4 billion by Goldman Sachs, at which point the Knutsons retired from the firm. The couple made at least $132 million by selling EDMC stock. Since then, they have split their time among four major estates across the country: one in Ligonier, Pennsylvania; one in Durango, Colorado; one in Boca Grande, Florida; and one in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

So why would the Knutsons — both of whom are in their 70s — suddenly decide to throw down the big bucks in Beverly Park? A couple weeks ago, Miryam Knutson gave an interview to Bloomberg, where she explained everything. Apparently Mr. Knutson has been ailing, and as such the couple are permanently relocating to LA. Maybe all the best doctors are here?

Anyway, It seems they want to spend the twilight years of their lives in Beverly Park, y’all. As such, they are selling all four of their other high-maintenance estates to “downsize” to the big B.P. Even rich elderly folks have to make concessions.

Let us take a look at the four homes the Knutsons would like to sell, shall we?

The Knutsons’ home in Pennsylvania is a 198-acre mammoth compound situated in the bucolic township of Ligonier, about an hours’ drive southeast of Pittsburgh. According to the listing, the baronial spread features a main stone mansion of unknown square footage, a “guest cottage”, staff housing, storage barns, several fishing ponds, formal gardens and hunting fields set into a sea of rolling hills and forest land.

The Knutsons are asking $7,500,000 for the Pennsylvania compound, which a cavernous library, lavish formal spaces, a kitchen with high-grade appliances and a deadly pot rack, and much more.

Also in the couple’s property portfolio is a 36-acre resort spread in Durango, Colorado, near the New Mexico border. Records indicate they purchased this estate in 2010 for $4,575,000 and photos from the time of their purchase show that the sprawling compound fronts the Animas River and includes a 6,000-square-foot main house, a 1,200-square-foot guest house, a detached 5-car garage, extensive horse pastures, rolling lawns, ponds, and extraordinarily scenic views.

This Durango spread appears to be the only estate in the Knutsons’ portfolio that is not currently available for sale on the open market, though based on Mrs. Knutson’s comments Yolanda assumes a listing will soon be forthcoming.

Meanwhile — down in Boca Grande, Florida, the Knutsons are asking $13,500,000 for their oceanfront mansion on Gasparilla Island. The three-story structure sits on 1.5 acres of tropical landscaping and features 7 beds and 7.5 baths (including not one but two master suites) in 7,500-square-feet of living space. An elevator services all three levels, and the estate additionally includes a heated swimming pool/ spa, outdoor al fresco dining spaces, a private boat dock w/ lift, and an emergency backup generator.

From our examination of property records, it appears to Yolanda that the Knutsons custom-built this compound in 2006. So for any of y’all rich kiddies who want to live in a luxurious mansion on a tropical Florida island near the Gulf of Mexico, here is your chance.

The Knutsons’ estates in Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Florida are all impressive, to be sure. However, it appears that their favorite home is actually their historic Santa Fe, New Mexico compound. According to Mrs. Knutson, the spread was built in 1930 for John Dempsey, a former governor of New Mexico.

Mr. Dempsey eventually sold the Pueblo Revival-style estate to a Weyerhaeuser timber heiress. From there, the estate passed through two more owners and eventually came to be owned by an heiress to the Martini & Rossi Italian beverage fortune. According to Mrs. Knutson, this heiress was lax at maintaining the huge spread and allowed it to fall into dilapidated conditions.

The Knutsons paid said heiress about $3.5 million for the 11.3-acre spread in 2004, then spent four years — and according to them, an eye-popping $18 million — to restore and upgrade every nook and cranny of the massive compound. Per Mrs. Knutson, the house includes 64 different types of windows, each of which had to be special-ordered and installed by a craftsman.

The spread is currently available for sale with an $11,500,000 asking price, which means the Knutsons are facing a whopping $10 million loss on the estate, even in the event of a full-price sales. Our Mrs. Knutson openly acknowledges this, but says thatwe weren’t planning on selling it… ever.

Anyway, the Knutsons are major Santa Fe social fixtures, and as such the mansion has hosted numerous fundraisers and events for the community and Santa Fe Opera. The compound includes a six-bedroom main house and three guest houses, each with their own kitchen and bedrooms and bathrooms. The pool and traditional clay tennis court were added by Mr. and Mrs. Knutson during their renovation. There are also extensive gardens and a long gated driveway, and the estate has its own eco-friendly irrigation system in the form of three underground 50,000-gallon catchment tanks.

One of Mr. & Mrs. Knutson’s Santa Fe neighbors is fashion mogul Tom Ford, who listed his epic ranch for sale a few years ago with a ballsy ask of $75 million. Apparently Mr. Ford’s spread is none too popular with the locals. Oh dear! But we digress.

Beverly Park

Speaking of neighbors, the Knutsons have a bunch of famous ones in their new Beverly Park neighborhood. Some of the celebrity folks they could ostensibly borrow sugar from include Marky Mark Wahlberg (he’s right next door), Denzel Washington, Steve Harvey, Eddie Murphy, Samuel L. Jackson, Magic Johnson, Kimora Lee Simmons, Sylvester Stallone, Rod Stewart, Jami Gertz, and Dr. Simon Ourian.

Also in the neighborhood are a whole bunch of billionaires: Steven Udvar-Hazy (he is also right next door), Haim Saban, Alec & Tom Gores, Peter Sondakh, Sumner Redstone, Russ Weiner, Bruce Makowsky, Neil Kadisha & Dora Nazarian, Eduard Ogay, Edward Glazer, several Saudi princes, and currently imprisoned Russian gangster Alexander Sabadash.

Now then: before we jet off, we must call out the fact that there are at least two Beverly Park mansions currently saddled with price tags in excess of $40 million. But of the six most recent sales in Beverly Park, five have gone down in the 25 to 27 million dollar range, suggesting that certain homeowners may need to adjust their expectations.

–$26,730,000: 27 Beverly Park, sold to Indonesian property developer Tommy Silfanus
–$26,500,000: 44 Beverly Park, sold to apparel mogul Yongbin Luo
–$25,515,000: 46 Beverly Park, sold to Canadian construction heir Cody Leibel
–$25,000,000: 25 Beverly Park, sold to Kimora Lee Simmons
–$25,000,000: 70 Beverly Park, sold to Mr. & Mrs. Knutson

The one anomaly was 40 Beverly Park, which traded hands for $32,000,000. But while most Beverly Park homes were built in the 1990s, that property is significantly newer (built 2008) and significantly larger (22,000+ square feet of living space) than most mansions in the enclave.

There is also the 20,000-square-foot mansion at 78 Beverly Park, which was sold by Tom Gores to a developer in 2016 for $40 million and then repurchased by Mr. Gores in 207 for $38 million. However, y’all, both of those transactions were non-standard, non-cash sales that came about via the same complex agreement and really have no bearing on neighborhood comps. We will not get into all that foolishness here — we digress.

To wrap things up, it seems as though the Knutsons have some major renovations planned for their new $25 million Beverly Park estate. That may be surprising, given that the couple are retired senior citizens. But then again, how many senior citizens do y’all know that can afford a $25 million retirement home?

Listing agent (Santa Fe): Stephanie Duran, Barker Realty – Christie’s International Real Estate
Listing agent (Ligonier): Annette Ganassi, Howard Hanna Ligonier Office 
Listing agent (Boca Grande): Carol Stewart, Michael Saunders & Co.

2 Replies to “Robert & Miryam Knutson pay $25 million for a Beverly Park retirement home”

  1. While the decor in their houses isn’t really my style, they all look thoughtfully put together and comfortable; there’s some subtle good taste going on in all four of them.

    The Santa Fe house, with some decorative changes, gives me life. It’s gorgeous.

  2. […] including a nearly 200-acre estate outside Pittsburgh, according to Yolanda’s Little Black Book. [Yolanda’s Little Black Book] – Dennis […]

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