As raging wildfires continue to pillage Southern California, it troubles Yolanda how media attention seems to be focused on celebrities and their (sometimes tenuous) connections to the destruction, rather than the stories of the no-name Joe Blows who are directly in harm’s way.
Admittedly, Yolanda herself is not immune to using the celebrity power to draw traffic to our own lil’ blog, but today we shall focus on a low-profile evacuee who nearly lost their brand-new home in a blaze, not some loud-mouthed Hollywood honcho who just wants everyone to know how very in peril they really are. Hey, and this is also a perfect excuse for Yolanda to blab about a big new mansion. Let’s go!
Last year, Our Mama over at Variety reported that successful TV/film producer Andrew Scheinman had listed a brand-new Bel Air contemporary with a fat $11,495,000 asking price. A few months later, the folks over at the LA Times followed up with news that the home had finally sold, albeit for a much-reduced $9,500,000. The buyer’s identity is carefully concealed behind an anonymously-named LLC.
Now here’s a wee geography lesson for y’all: although this house is located (technically) within the neighborhood of Bel Air, it should be noted that the property is actually much closer to downtown Brentwood than it is to ultra-prime East Gate Bel Air. In fact, the house is located so far west (very close to the 405 freeway) that it actually carries a Brentwood 90049 zip code, not Bel Air’s 90077.
But we digress. The new owners quickly moved in, but within a couple months they quickly moved back out again. That’s because this house was directly in the line of fire — pardon the bad pun — of the Skirball blaze, which scorched 422 acres in western Bel Air and destroyed several homes. Although this particular structure was saved, we are sure it must’ve been a tense few days there for the evacuated homeowner.
So who is the mysterious new owner? Yolanda happens to know that it is a prominent (and multi-lingual) cardiologist named Dr. Simon Stertzer and his lovely wife Kim. The couple — who own several homes across the US — have two college-age daughters.
While he’s certainly not a household name, Dr. Stertzer has quite the interesting background. By all accounts a brilliant physician, the NYU M.D. performed the first coronary angioplasty in the United States, and his since performed more than 12,000 coronary interventions. He continues to practice, but also — for at least the last 20 years or so — has served as a Stanford University professor.
In addition to his hospital and university work, however, Dr. Stertzer is also quite the entrepreneur and businessman. He founded Arterial Vascular Engineering, an angioplasty balloon and stent company that went public in 1996 and was acquired in 1999 by medical device giant Medtronic in a transaction valued at $3.7 billion. Our Dr. Stertzer would go on to found BioCardia, a biotech firm that is currently “trying to find a way to use stem cells to rejuvenate hearts damaged by heart attack”, per Forbes. Dr. Stertzer continues to serve as the company’s Chairman of the Board and remains the largest shareholder.
For all his success in business, research, and on the operating table, Dr. Stertzer still seems a somewhat controversial figure in the medical community. Perhaps that is due to his relentless pursuit of lucrative entrepreneurship opportunities, sometimes at the expense — so it would seem — of common sense.
In 2001, Dr. Stertzer purchased two strip clubs (yes, strip clubs) on a “seedy” stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard. It should be noted that one of the clubs — Palomino — is the only strip joint in Vegas allowed to serve alcohol and feature fully nude dancers. Keep in mind, y’all, that at this time Dr. Stertzer was employed by Stanford University and was already one of its most renowned professors.
But wait, it gets even better. Was Dr. Stertzer planning to close down the joints and turn the clubs into his Vegas — ahem — research centers? Nope! Our boy proudly announced his plan to refurbish the clubs and have the nude dancer profits be directed to fund his Stanford research! He even called the deal a “sensible diversification” of his investment portfolio.
Poor uptight ol’ Stanford was forced to release a statement distancing itself from the sexy establishments. And the negative publicity eventually forced Dr. Stertzer to quietly slink away from Vegas with his proverbial tail between his legs. Yolanda rather wonders how Dr. Stertzer (or anyone) couldn’t have foreseen the criticism this venture would engender?
But Yolanda is not here to discuss morality. Where were we? Oh yes, burned-up Bel Air…
The spec-built 6,020-square-foot mansion presents itself as a single story sprawler from out front, but drops down mullet-style to three floors out back. Indoors, as y’all might expect, the residence is packed with expensive materials and every possible gadget: wide plank hickory hardwood floors, a top-of-the-line home automation and security system, an audio system with more than 40 glass carbon fiber built-in ceiling speakers, and a carbon water filtration and softening system.
A comfy-lookin’ living room featured a quartz-faced fireplace and floor-to-ceiling glass walls that magically disappear upon the touch of a button.
The family room and kitchen function as a single unit and share the same hickory hardwood with the rest of the home. The kitchen area features unique snow-white quartz countertops, marble walls, and white oak wood cabinets. Naturally, all the appliances are the very best available.
We must say — Yolanda is always a sucker for a light-filled kitchen with views, and thus we absolutely love this one.
The house features a total of 5 bedroom and 5.75 bathrooms. As you might expense, the master suite is decadent with its fireplace, private (if slim balcony), glass-walled shower, and closet with custom cabinetry.
The backyard is surprisingly small — maybe that’s a function of the rather paltry .38-acre lot — but it does contain all the requisite luxury resort features: terraces for dining, a swimmin’ pool and party-sized spa, a firepit, and an outdoor kitchen area complete with a pizza oven. There are long, broad views that sweep over Brentwood and Santa Monica, all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
Frankly, y’all, Yolanda rather loves the interior here. Or is that just the early morning booze talking? We do not, however, love the bland, corporate office vibe the exterior is giving us.
We hope the Stertzers have been able to move back into their new house. But at least they’re rich and don’t have to worry about being homeless, right? As you might expect for someone of his high net worth, Yolanda’s research indicates that Dr. Stertzer owns several other luxury residences around the USA: a custom-built $6.1 million mansion in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a 50+ acre ranch in Jackson, Wyoming, and a $10.8 million mansion up in Silicon Valley — in pricey Woodside, CA — that the good doc just sold last month to a mysterious blind trust that Yolanda has not been able to crack.
But no more strip clubs are in the doc’s portfolio, at least not as far as Yolanda can tell…