Los Angeles may be a city that thrives on Hollywood illusion, but when it comes to high-end real estate, we are the real McCoy. Some of the most expensive homes in the country listed for sale in 2010 are located here.
In this price range, there are no comps, no recent sales by which to compare pricing or value. Each of these homes has a special quality about it that resists tangible quantification – whether it be history, unique view location, or imported or hand-crafted features that make it one of a kind. Plus, you only need one buyer and in most of these cases, the seller can wait until that buyer comes along.
Like every other home seller out there today, the uber-wealthy will lower their price when they need to and not a minute sooner. These are the L.A. trophy properties of 2010.
Candy Spelling’s Manor
Listed at $150 million, the widow of entertainment mogul Aaron Spelling wins the prize for the single most expensive listing in the United States. Her Holmby Hills estate has been on the market since 2009, and the widow Spelling is apparently disinterested in losing that top ranking. The 56,500-square-foot French chateau has 123 rooms, including three dedicated to gift-wrapping. There is a bowling alley, a floor of closets and room to park 100 cars.
Aaron Spelling, who died in 2006, produced TV shows and movies. Boy, did he. Forbes ranked him as the 11th highest-earning dead celebrity in 2009. Royalties, they are a beautiful thing.
He had two children with his second wife, Candy, whom he married in 1968. Daughter Tori Spelling was one of the stars in his “Beverly Hills 90210” series. He also brought the world “Charlie’s Angels,” “Dynasty,” “Melrose Place,” “The Love Boat” and “The Mod Squad.”
In the late 1980s, the producer bought Bing Crosby’s former home and the six acres it sat on. He razed the structure and constructed “The Manor,” as the $150 million property now for sale is known. At the time, it cost $11 million to build and is still the largest single-family dwelling in Los Angeles. Not everyone was pleased while the megamansion was under construction; critics hollered over its size and proportion and, of course, the need to own something this large.
Ann’s prediction: Now that Candy Spelling has sealed the deal on a $35 million condo, she may be ready to move on with her life. Expect that Oprah gets an invitation from the new “motivated seller” to come take a second look.
Jeffrey Hyland and Rick Hilton, principal partners at Hilton & Hyland in Beverly Hills, share the listing with Coldwell Banker’s Sally Forster Jones.
Fleur de Lys
In 2007, glamazon Suzanne Saperstein listed her 41,000-square-foot Palace Versailles lookalike home known as Fleur de Lys at $125 million. It’s ping-ponged on and off the market ever since, always at the same price. Saperstein is reputed to make showings of the house difficult and she shuns publicity about the property. Maybe she really doesn’t want to sell it? Or maybe she really doesn’t need to.
The Swedish-born Saperstein is a former model and competitive skier, but mostly she is known as the woman who was married for 21 years to Texas billionaire David Saperstein. Their very public and much written-about divorce began when she was served papers in the Lone Star State during a stopover on the way to Europe in the family’s Gulfstream IV. Then it just got uglier.
The two met in the early 1980s. David Saperstein had founded Metro Networks, a helicopter traffic-reporting service. After striking it rich in Houston, they moved to Los Angeles in 2000, purchasing their French limestone dream house, modeled after the Chateau de Versailles.
Ann’s prediction: Saperstein and her home aren’t going anywhere. Look for them on my 2011 Highest-Priced Listings.
Robert Kass of Hilton & Hyland shares the listing with Joyce Rey of Coldwell Banker.
Financier Leonard M. Ross has owned this 50,000-square-foot home for decades, but it likely will always be better known as William Randolph Hearst’s Beverly Estate.
Listed at $95 million, it’s in need of some TLC. Ross’ own finances may also need some of that, too; he has declared bankruptcy. Might this be a motivated buyer? He had the mansion on the market in 2007 at $165 million, so at least we know he’s been reading the papers.
The Beverly Hills home was built in the 1920s by banking exec Milton Getz and purchased by Marion Davies in 1946 for Hearst.
The hilltop home has three swimming pools, a 50-foot entry hall, wine cellar, gym and art deco nightclub. John and Jacqueline Kennedy honeymooned there in 1953, and if that’s not impressive enough for you, the 29-bedroom house was used to film “The Godfather,” including the famous scene with the horse’s head.
Ross, who is the property’s fourth owner, has blamed his bankruptcy filing on “unusual circumstances” and “bank maneuverings.” According to published reports, Ross owes about $40 million in mortgages on the property.
This is a home that screams history and I’d give up a month of hot tub soaks to bask in the massive mahogany library for just an hour. For me, a home’s soul lives in its library. This library is one of the Great Ones, with built-in shelving and wrap-around terraces. (Memo to eventual new owner: Please don’t mess with the library.) The home also has a massive fireplace brought from Hearst’s Castle in San Simeon.
Ann’s prediction: To spend $95 million for a house in need of this much updating kind of blows me away. But we suspect there is a Middle Eastern royal who would snatch it up for less and then remodel it to his tastes.
Middle Eastern royals should call Jeff Hyland of Hilton & Hyland on this listing as well.
Richard and Liane Weintraub’s Malibu estate came on the market this fall at $75 million for the whole eight-acre compound, but they are also willing and legally able to subdivide. If you want just the main house, it’s available for $35 million.
Weintraub is a commercial real estate developer, responsible for a number of high-end shopping centers including the Malibu Lumber Yard. He personally designed the pool pavilion on this property, which is Romanesque in style and has about a million seashells; the pool is tiled with Murano glass. The main house has a modest 12,500 square feet, but the acreage and the ocean views catapult the price big time.
While Richard is the main money attraction here, don’t dismiss his spouse’s business savvy. She’s way more than “the wife of.” She co-founded the Tasty Brand, the maker of what started as an organic baby food line but has expanded into the adult snack market – something about moms figuring out that the kiddie snacks actually tasted pretty good. Products are sold at Gelson’s and Whole Foods markets, and soon to be in Costco, we’re told.
Ann’s prediction: Look for a foreign buyer. The guesthouses make this ideal for extended families and having a Malibu address, even one with no direct beach access, is a major calling card. I’m hoping they sell it as one parcel instead of chopping it up. This is clearly a case where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. As for price, Weintraub is a smart guy who knows the direction of the real estate wind.
Chris Cortazzo of Coldwell Banker International Previews, Malibu West, has the listing.
Beverly Hills Listing
We’ll be watching with great interest the home that C. Frederick Wehba built. Wehba, the founder of Bentley Forbes Group LLC, a major commercial real estate investment firm, has a spec house he built on Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills on the market at $68.5 million, as well as his primary residence, also in Beverly Hills, at $9.8 million. The Wehbas are active in the Bel-Air Presbyterian Church and the new construction has a large music room that would accommodate church events.
When we checked on him last, Wehba was planning on moving into the newly constructed home once his 9,163-square-foot house sells. And without question, the biggie is more fun to talk about. It has 36,000 square feet, hand-painted details and sits on two acres. The French moldings have 24-karat gilt, and there’s a tournament play tennis court and a pool pavilion.
Ann’s prediction: It’s a crappy time to put a spec house in this price range on the market, and Wehba doesn’t need me to tell him that. Watch for a price drop or a long, painful stay of execution.
Jade Mills and Joyce Rey, both of Coldwell Banker International Previews, Beverly Hills South office, share the listing with Mauricio Umansky of Hilton & Hyland.
Ann Brenoff can be reached at email@example.com.
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