Yolanda might receive a bit of hate-mail about this one because this sale actually happened nearly two years ago. But it’s a chance we’re willing to take both because we want to write about it and because we’re traveling right now so we need a good quickie (story). So very kindly shut your traps.
Anyway, it appears we may be the first to chat about it because the purchase was completed stealthily through an entity calling itself “Crystal Cove Cliffs LLC”.
Celebrity-choked Malibu Colony may take the lion’s share of guard-gated-community-off-PCH real estate headlines, but there’s a different guard-gated PCH enclave about 72 miles south that has some of the priciest real estate in Southern California. We’re referencing what is perhaps Laguna Beach’s most exclusive (and expensive) residential pocket: the hoity-toity Irvine Cove community.
The northern Laguna Beach tract sports truly majestic views from the rocky cliffs and a secluded “private” beach. Naturally, it’s the dozen (or so) of blufftop homes that command the highest prices. There’s also an ultra-exclusive strip of homes that actually sit right on the sand — only 5 of the approximately 110 homes in the gated community get this luxury.
Of the five beachfront mansions in Irvine Cove, four have sold for $20 million or more at least once in the past 10 years or so. There’s an 8,466-square-foot mansion that was last sold for $23,000,000 in 2006 to LA Fitness founder Chin Yol Yi. Next door to that is a 6,300-square-foot bungalow that also transferred for $23,000,000 last year — Yolanda has reason to believe the buyer of that house was Newport Beach-based financier Don Madden. A couple doors in the other direction is a 10,000-square-foot whopper of a beach house that was purchased by legally-embattled former mortgage mogul Robert K. Cole for $29,000,000 in 2005 (he’s now attempting to sell it for an optimistic $51 million). On the opposite end of the sand is a 7,200 square foot modern confection that sold for a gob-smackin’ $33,000,000 in 2013. The buyer is listed only as “Iconicviews Company LLC”, a shell company with an NYC legal address. Yolanda has yet to figure out the real buyer’s identity, but don’t worry your pretty heads. Your gurl is workin’ on it.’
But we majorly digress. We’re not here to discuss any one of those five Irvine Cove “sand castles”. Instead, we’re going to discuss a major blufftop estate that’s just a quick skip away from those two.
Back in September 2014, 30-something-year-old tech entrepreneur Brendan Iribe threw down a strangely-complicated $30,896,545 for this big-ass house. The property had been listed for $33.9 million, but was yanked off the MLS just prior to the sale closing. Kids, what does Mama Yolanda say about pricey houses that get removed from the MLS just prior to being sold? It almost always means the buyer is a celebrity or a high-profile individual of some sort.
Never heard of Mr. Iribe? Don’t feel ashamed. Yolanda had never heard of homeboy either until we found out about this purchase. But it turns out Mr. Iribe has lots and lots and lots of moolah thanks to Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook purchased a firm known as Oculus VR for $2 billion in 2014, and Mr. Iribe is a co-founder of Oculus. So he could naturally afford several $30 million mansions if he so desired.
In 2012, Mr. Iribe — a veteran video game designer and tech startup entrepreneur despite his relatively young years — formed Oculus with a 19-year-old fella named Palmer Luckey. The two conceived a new, game-changing virtual reality headset known as the Oculus Rift. (One of the prototypes was code-named Crystal Cove. See what Mr. Iribe did there?)
After a record-breakingly successful Kickstarter campaign that successfully looped in major backers such as billionaire Minecraft creator and real estate baller Markus Persson, Oculus VR was acquired by Facebook less than two years after the initial prototypes debuted.
For what it’s worth, Mr. Luckey and Mr. Iribe received intense criticism from fans, news media, and their original backers for selling out to Facebook. One of the harshest verbal assaults on the deal came from Mr. Persson himself, who said “Facebook creeps me out” and “Facebook is not a company of grass-roots tech enthusiasts. Facebook is not a game tech company. “Facebook is not a company of grass-roots tech enthusiasts. Facebook is not a game tech company.”
Now listen, y’all. Yolanda has never played Minecraft, we don’t care about Facebook, and we sure as heck still have barely a clue about this Oculus thing-a-ma-jiggy. So, Mr. Persson, forgive Yolanda’s ignorance, but how is selling out to Microsoft much different than selling out to Facebook? We’re not being sarcastic.
Ah, well. Anyway, this all made Mr. Iribe and young Mr. Luckey tremendously rich in a breathtakingly short period of time. While we’re not sure how Mr. Luckey has spent the bulk of his dough, Mr. Iribe is spendin’ the cash like it’s going out of style. Let’s dive right in.
So here’s what nearly $31 million bought Mr. Iribe. The half-acre promontory lot boast stunning 270-degree vistas. Additionally, the house happens to be adjacent to Irvine Cove’s private park which makes the home’s front yard appear much more expansive than it technically is.
Yes, kids, this gated community has its own private mini-park for its ridonkulously-rich residents. Remind you of anything else?
A gym, a living room, a fancy master bedroom, and a raised negative-edge swimming pool in the courtyard.
The 2001-built estate boasts 10,800 square feet of living space with 5 bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms.
To be honest, kids, Yolanda is not particularly fond of this “Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired” house (apart from lusting after those world-class views). We love modern, but we prefer modern with some soul, some passion, some verve. This one strikes your gurl as being a touch too cold to be worthy of FLW. Kinda like a snazzy office complex with multi-million buck waterfront views. But who are we to judge? We’ve talked to a couple people that absolutely love this house.
In addition to the ones we’ve already mentioned, some of Mr. Iribe’s new neighbors include billionaire Bill Gross, heiress Linda Irvine Smith, and Cayman Islands-based internet entrepreneur Frank Schilling, who owns not one but two homes in Irvine Cove.
Like most other folks who own $30 million+ houses, Mr. Iribe sports a baller-style portfolio of residential properties, most (if not all) of which were purchased in the last two years.
Just one week after purchasing his $31 million showplace in Laguna Beach, Mr. Iribe forked over a comparatively-paltry $1,496,500 for an itsy-bitsy but personality-filled corner crib in the boho-chic LA neighborhood of Venice (CA).
The lovable hot mess of a house has 3 bedrooms and 1.75 baths in just 1,491 square feet of living space. It’s right around the corner from the always-trendy Abbot Kinney area. The property even has its own Obama poster! (Frankly, we feel a Bernie one would be more appropriate for this hippie hipster shack, but who are we to judge.)
In April 2015, seven months after acquiring the Laguna Beach and Venice properties, Mr. Iribe spooned out $13,000,000 for a 10,885 square foot mansion in the wealthy San Fran suburb of Atherton, CA.
Two days after that, Mr. Iribe paid $7,000,000 in an off-market deal for 3,367 square foot modern Spanish mini-compound in the horrendously expensive “Crescent Park” neighborhood of Palo Alto, CA. (One of his neighbors is our boy Mark Z.)
Mr. Iribe has spent, according to our second-grader math whiz of a nephew, $52,393,095 on luxury real estate within the span of a few months. But wait! Yes, that’s still not all.
Back in early September 2014, a couple weeks before the buying spree started, Mr. Iribe donated $31 million to establish a new computer science center at the University of Maryland. His mother, Elizabeth Trexler, donated an additional $3 million to the project. And we have no idea where Ms. Trexler would get three million bucks except from her doting son.
So that’s a total outlay for Mr. Iribe of $86,393,095. Not a bad reward for two years of running a startup.