Fresh off their unbelievable $100 million Holmby Hills sale to multi-billionaire real estate whore Tom Gores, Dream Projects LA partners Gala Asher and Ed Berman have done something rather unexpected. They’ve paid $22,000,000 for an infamously unsellable white elephant of a mega-mansion deep in the Benedict Canyon area of the Beverly Hills Post Office, way up high in the mountains above LA.
We say “unexpected” because up until now, all their projects have essentially been ground-up new designs. There was a big house over in the “Riviera” neighborhood of Pacific Palisades that they sold for $17,500,000 to a guy named Ashish Arora. Then there was the truly awful spec-disaster that they somehow unloaded for $31,000,000 to billionaire Steven Cohen. And then, of course, that $100 million Tom Gores shopping mall.
This place is absolutely nothing like any of the other homes they’ve built. It ain’t modern, glassy, or dripping in high-tech gizmos and strobe lights. Have these gents lost their minds?!
Whatever the case, we digress. Their latest project — at least Yolanda assumes it is a project — currently clocks in at a gargantuan 22,163 square feet with 7 bedrooms and 15 bathrooms (incontinence alert!). The fat faux-French monster was originally built in 2000, but this gal’s spent most of her 16-year-old life unoccupied. We’re not sure if the place is cursed or not, but previous owners have (for a variety of reasons) never spent much time in this palace.
The house was originally built, so far as Yolanda can tell, by one Jacob Wizman, the former president of worldwide sales for Gucci and an original investor in Coffee Bean who also dabbles — or dabbled — in real estate development/investment. So the story goes, Mr. Wizman modeled the place after Le Petit Trianon, Marie Antoinette’s private chateau on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles.
Hahaha. Wait. Is Yolanda the only one who finds that hilarious?! Maybe we just have a whacked-out sense of humor.
Anywho, Mr. Wizman sold the almost-brand-new castle in 2002 for $11,000,000 to Alex Yemendjian, a bigshot Las Vegas casino owner. Mr. Yemendjian owned the place for less than two years before he flipped it for $14,000,000 to a shady guy named Curtis Somoza. Yolanda thinks Mr. Somoza — if he had his way — might still be living in the house today. But it was not to be, as pesky life and the law got in the way. Mr. Somoza, you see, is currently sitting in prison on a 25-year term after his $64 million ponzi scheme went belly-up.
At the time he got busted, Mr. Somoza was currently engaged in a full-scale remodel of the estate. After he got stuck in the pokey, the unfinished shell was sold by Mr. Somoza’s bankruptcy trustees in January 2007 for $16,750,000 to Jeoung Lee, a Korean woman whose money comes from nursing homes. Mrs. Lee completed the remodel and then, to everyone’s flabbergast, flipped the long-vacant property back onto the market. The asking price? A sanity defying $49,000,000.
Well, kiddies, it took 8 years, a whole bunch of real estate agent changes, and countless price cuts. At one point Yolanda really thought this real estate market poison would never, ever sell. But it gosh-darn happened. Mr. Asher & Mr. Berman swooped in to save the day. Of course, it ain’t all cheeky smiles and red roses. The final sale price of $22 million is way less than half of what Mrs Jeoung originally wanted. And Yolanda wonders if she even made any profit off this hot mess? Don’t forget, she sunk a ton of money into the renovations. Tsk, tsk.
The “Hutton House Estate” (the street below the 5.2-acre spread is called Hutton) sits at the tail end of a small, little-known gated community called Wallingford Estates. Wallingford, for y’all who might not know, is so far up in Benedict Canyon that it’s practically right up on Mulholland Drive. And the other houses within the community are hardly mansions — most of them are ho-hum ’80s track homes. (But yes, Adam Levine does own a house up in there that he just can’t seem to sell).
As previously mentioned, the mansion packs in 22,163-square-feet of grand (and grandiose) interior space. There are 7 bedrooms and 15 bathrooms. There’s a whole bunch of wood, marble, and curtains. Lots of curtains. This puppy’s got enough curtains to cover Kim Kardashian’s blimp-sized badonkadonk.
And check out that front gate, which is perhaps the tallest front gate Yolanda has ever laid our sexy eyes on.
Yolanda has no inside intel about what Mr. Asher and Mr. Berman plan to do with their big new B.H.P.O. behemoth, but it’s worth noting that the most recent listing included renderings that show the house with a new driveway and a new entry reflecting pool. Oh, and there’s also a new guest house that does a “mini-me” impression of the porky main house. Yolanda can’t fathom why anyone would need a guest house when they already have 22,000+ square feet of mansion to play with, but such are the whims of billionaires. Maybe Mr. Asher & Mr. Berman will do these (relatively) cheap renovations and get lucky and find a Chinese or Arab billionaire to take it off their hands.
Sorry, everyone. We wish we could tell y’all what the deal is with this purchase, but Ginger Glass (Mr. Asher’s wife and realtor) has stopped returning Yolanda’s calls. We can’t fathom why! Jeez. All we said is that we’d appreciate some dirt right quick on this acquisition. We even said sorry for calling that Tom Gores hot mess fugly! We did. Throw your gurl a bone, Ms. Glass.
Listing agent: Mauricio Umansky, The Agency
Buyer’s agent: Ginger Glass, Coldwell Banker