While that other famous (and famously expensive) Southern California seaside community of Malibu has been celebrating a banner sales year — two of the three biggest sales ever recorded in the last six months, not to mention multiple other $30M+ transactions — action down in the OC’s toniest communities (Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, and Dana Point) has been conspicuously muted by comparison.
Although the OC record was bludgeoned last year with the $45 million sale of the Twin Points estate to LA-based billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, only two transactions of $20 million+ have been recorded in the area so far in 2017. The first was the $22 million hand-off of a newly-built 12,000+ square foot mansion in a guard-gated Newport Coast enclave to South African billionaire Eric Samson. The other transfer was also recorded in the amount of $22 million, in the also guard-gated enclave of Irvine Cove in Laguna Beach. The buyer of that nearly-7,000-square-foot house was a famous octogenarian widower named Ed Thorp.
But lo, kiddies, thunder breaks over yonder hills. Yolanda happens to know from a little birdie that there was an unprecedented $55,000,000 sale very quietly recorded in the Corona del Mar area of Newport Beach just days ago. That’s right — fifty-five million bucks, an amount that easily blows away every other price recorded for a home down behind the dreaded Orange Curtain.
There’s an asterisk that goes along with this sale, however. The $55 million was given in exchange for a compound that includes two separate but contiguous properties with two different addresses and APNs. If we’re being technical, the larger property went for $35 million and the smaller house went for $20 million. But given that both homes were sold by the same sellers to the same buyers and both transactions were recorded on the same day, we’re calling it what it is: a $55 million compound purchase.
Y’all may be surprised to learn that the preposterously pricey compound in question is actually not oceanfront. Nor does it have any sort of direct beach access. But the blufftop spread does have a lot of land (about 3.3 acres), some badass views, and a rich, unique history that dates back to the dawn of Orange County.
Since the 1930s, the cliff-top compound has served the summertime home of the Irvine family, the wealthy ranchers who once owned a massive swathe of what is the modern-day Orange County.
At some point in more recent times, however, the 4.4-ish acre spread was subdivided into three different mini-estates. Though there were attempts to sell them over the years, two of the homes remained in the Irvine family up until last week, when they sold for the combined $55 million.
The third and largest house, however, was sold off way back in 2008 for a whipping $27,100,000. The buyer — who still owns the property nearly a decade later — was a mysteriously-named corporate entity that has links to a Canada-based energy executive named Ray Chyc. That home is known as the “Hale O Pau Hana House” and was built by family member Myford Irvine in 1958. Old marketing materials show that the rambling, vaguely triangular structure weighs in at a mega-mansion-sized 20,000-square-feet of living space.
But we digress. The other two properties eventually came to be owned by Nita Irvine Wheeler Connelly, the great-granddaughter of James Irvine. Our Mrs. Irvine Wheeler Connelly, God rest her soul, passed on to the other side earlier this year, and it appears that her widower John Connelly is the fellow who just took in the $55 million paycheck.
One of the homes has a tennis court and an indoor pool and a house with 4,207-square-feet of living space; the other (photos below) sports an outdoor pool and walls of glass and a 7,113-square-foot single-story sprawler.
If you are a aficionado of trashy reality TV and think this house looks somewhat familiar, your eyes don’t lie. This is the very same house that was until recently being leased to Real Housewives of Orange County “star” Shannon Beador and her cheatin’ and beatin’ hubby David. Our Mrs. Beador — in true Bravolebrity fashion — even hired “designer” drama queen Jeff Lewis to gussy the ol’ gurl up during her temporary stay.
Yes, kiddies, even these classy old money estates can’t escape the Real Housewives scourge. Is nothing damn sacred?!
By now, however, y’all are probably wondering who can afford to buy such an estate. Well, Yolanda will tell you. We are feeling generous today, after all. The house was sold to a generically-named LLC with a Phoenix (Arizona) address, but your gurl just happens to know that the big-bucks buyers are a low-profile guy from Kansas named Larry Van Tuyl and his longtime wifey Patty. Bless their hearts, the Van Tuyls became billionaires just a few years back when they sold their collection of automobile dealerships to none other than Warren Buffett for a mind-bending 4.1 billion bucks.
Our research indicates that the deliberately low-profile Mr. & Mrs. Van Tuyl’s main residence lies in the swanky desert community of Paradise Valley, Arizona. Their 13,000+ square-foot mansion is within walking distance of many other bajillionaire-owned homes like those owned by Bruce Halle and Bennett Dorrance.
Oh, and just around the corner from the Van Tuyls’ Paradise Valley digs is an epic compound of five — yes, five — adjacent mansions that all belong to one of the richest men in the world, Wal-Mart heir S. Robson “Rob” Walton. But we digress…
Although our intel says it has not yet happened, Yolanda can only assume that Mr. & Mrs. Van Tuyl are anxiously awaiting the opportunity to acquire the missing link to their Corona del Mar compound property. We’re talkin’ about that $27 million third house, the final piece of their estate trifecta. This will effectively complete their compound and reunite the broken pieces of the Irvine estate once and for all — or for a few years, at least.
For any of you who concerned it might not happen, never fear. Mr. & Mrs. Van Tuyl will make it happen. Things have a way of falling into place when you have time, patience, and all the money in the world.
EDIT: We now see that the busy peeps at the OC Register already wrote about this transaction yesterday, though they did not identify the buyer. But Yolanda will give credit where credit is due. (We swear we didn’t see that post until now, y’all!)