Luxury Real Estate

The Mountain of Beverly Hills - The New York Times

Cover of The New York Times - Sunday Business Section

By Candace Jackson

LOS ANGELES — A property about to go on the market here consists of 157 acres of hilltop land in the coveted Beverly Hills 90210 ZIP code, a 10-minute drive from Rodeo Drive. With its 360-degree views, you can spot many of Los Angeles’s major landmarks in the distance, from Century City to downtown, and even — on a clear day — the Pacific Ocean. There are winding, private roads that lead to big, flat lawns the size of football fields.

The asking price? A cool $1 billion.

Aaron Kirman of Pacific Union Real Estate, the listing agent, recently drove a couple of visitors around the property, reeling off its numerous highlights and noting more than once that it was large enough to hold all of both Disneyland and California Adventure, another Disney park. (The site, which is in an area of Los Angeles known as Beverly Hills Post Office and has been newly branded as the Mountain of Beverly Hills, comes with permission to build nearly 1.5 million square feet of living space across multiple buildings.)

With views into some of Los Angeles’s priciest mansions and their swimming pools below, it had the surreal feel of an empty, mountaintop golf course in the middle of a city, with large, manicured lawns kept green by plentiful sprinklers.

As Mr. Kirman drove up toward the highest point, a helicopter buzzed by in the distance, not much higher than eye level.

It’s debatable, of course, whether any potential buyers will agree with Mr. Kirman that this undeveloped plot is really worth $1 billion. Outrageous asking prices, particularly in Los Angeles, are nothing new. A $500 million listing for a speculatively built 100,000-square-foot home on a four-acre hilltop in Bel Air is the city’s record-setter so far. (That home hasn’t officially hit the market yet but is being shopped around at that amount as construction wraps up.)

Such price tags are often a way to grab attention rather than a true indicator of market value. If mega-expensive properties sell at all, it’s often for a mega-discount. Take the $100 million sale of the Playboy Mansion in 2016 — Los Angeles’s most expensive home sale at the time. That was a 50 percent discount off the $200 million asking price.

Mr. Kirman said the $1 billion price was justified partly because it would be impossible to assemble so much acreage in such a prime location ever again.

“This is a crown jewel,” he said. “For that billionaire who wants that privacy on the highest peak of Beverly Hills, it’s a great opportunity.”

Mr. Kirman is going to have to sell someone on the idea that plunking a billion dollars into a personal property is a good idea. No one has yet to come close to crossing that threshold, at least not publicly. In 2014, an 18-acre oceanfront Hamptons compound sold for $137 million — the record for a single-family home in the United States. This year, a Malibu property sold for $110 million, Los Angeles County’s current record. A Saudi prince paid $300 million for a property in France, thought to be the highest price ever paid for a home in the world.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE on THE NEW YORK TIMES.com

OPUS Beverly Hills- The Hollywood Reporter

By: Peter Kiefer

Lights, camera, sell! L.A. real estate videos are taking cues from Hollywood with plot twist and production values of sex up a nine-figure listing by 'telling the story' of a property (without offending anyone, of course).

Riviera White House- VARIETY

By: Mark David

Whether making movies or designing high-end homes Mannheim and Cercone are natural born storytellers who say they conceptualize their projects around a carefully defined fictionalized character. For their latest project — a plum Pacific Palisades property owned for 25 years by Nancy and Ronald Reagan, who lived in the home at the time he was elected president in 1980 — the couple imagined the buyer would, among other things, be a quietly confident individual who enjoys trophy cars, gourmet cooking and large-scale entertaining.

Emmy winning producer Michael Mannheim (“Roe vs. Wade”) and Tony-nominated screenwriter Janus Cercone (“Leap of Faith”) sort of fell backwards into developing high-end properties. At first the real estate obsessed couple enthusiastically re-imagined numerous homes for themselves but eventually, in 2003, they turned their increasingly full-time avocation in to a bone fide profession. Through Jaman Properties, with investment backing from a consortium of Tinseltown insiders whom they politely declined to identify, the couple have extensively re-worked or built from the ground up eight multi-million dollar homes in some of L.A.’s most hoity-toity zip codes. Typically sold in under-the-radar off-market deals, a fair number of their former homes and projects have been acquired by showbiz movers and shakers who include Mary Parent, Matt Groening, Marcy Carsey, and Conan O’Brien who, in early 2008, bought a brand-new, nonchalantly luxurious six-bedroom Brentwood mansion in a hush-hush down-low deal for $10.75 million.

Whether making movies or designing high-end homes Mannheim and Cercone are natural born storytellers who say they conceptualize their projects around a carefully defined fictionalized character. For their latest project — a plum Pacific Palisades property owned for 25 years by Nancy and Ronald Reagan, who lived in the home at the time he was elected president in 1980 — the couple imagined the buyer would, among other things, be a quietly confident individual who enjoys trophy cars, gourmet cooking and large-scale entertaining.

Although radically transformed from a low-slung mid-century modern in to a stately five-bedroom and 8.5-bathroom Spanish revival with crisp, modern interiors, the home preserves symbolic traces of the former owners. A living room bar where Reagan mixed drinks for world leaders was meticulously restored and updated with ice maker and wine fridge and the original shower door in the master bathroom, where Reagan was when he got Jimmy Carter’s concession call, mounted as a commemorative art piece in the library. The souped-up kitchen features a hand-made Italian range that Cercone cheekily described as “so expensive you’d want to be buried in it,” and car enthusiasts will appreciate the detached, man-cave-y “show garage” complete with dual-spigot beer Kegerator. The elevator-equipped abode sports a slew of high-tech amenities and creature comforts that include a comprehensive home automation system, a climate controlled 2,000-bottle wine room, and a cashmere-lined screening room with state-of-the-art projection system. Other notable features include a powder room with walls covered in 25,000 individually hand-applied peacock feathers, a one-bed/one-bath guesthouse with mini-kitchen, and a monumental, 125-foot heated veranda with fireplace and spine straightening 270-degree views that sweep over Los Angeles from the Griffith Observatory to the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island.

As is Jaman’s modus operandi, the property won’t be listed on the open market but is represented by David Offer at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices with an asking price of $33 million.

View full gallery HERE.

Jaman Properties- CURBED LA

Real estate agents are hoping works by Picasso and Warhol will entice big buyers

By: Elijah Chiland

In the highly competitive upscale housing market of Los Angeles, realtors often have to pull out all the stops to appeal to clientele that can be hard to impress. And now, that effort includes displaying original works of art by some of the most treasured and respected artists in the world. As the LA Times reports, more and more LA home stagers are working with art dealers to turn houses on the market into makeshift galleries--so that prospective buyers can admire a Picasso while debating whether the master suite offers enough closet space.

It's an arrangement that has potential benefits for both real estate agents and art sellers. Works of art add to the allure of a home, while open houses bring them into the view of a well heeled set of potential buyers. In fact, Janus Cercone, principal at Jaman Properties, tells the Times that home shoppers have sometimes passed on a house, but walked away with the art. Night at the Museum producer Shawn Levy recently bought several pieces by Andy Warhol, Ellsworth Kelly, and Robert Rauschenberg that were on display at one of her open houses.

Because it's not uncommon for art to find a buyer in these situations, galleries often lend pieces to home stagers free of charge. Still, that doesn't mean the art comes cheap. Cercone says the cost of transporting pieces, insuring them, and hiring security guards to protect the works adds up to thousands of dollars. Is it worth it? Paul Lester, principal partner at the Agency, seems to think so. He tells the Times that a valuable work of art "creates a secondary level of depth and gives more credibility to the house itself because there's a richness to it, a fullness you don't get from a lot of the staging art you see." Hey, when you're selling houses for tens of millions of dollars, you probably need every "secondary level of depth" you can get.

Moët Rosé Ice Impérial Launch Event

A general view of atmosphere at the Los Angeles launch of Moët Ice Impérial Rosé at the Riviera White House on August 11, 2016 in Pacific Palisades, California.

The Playboy Mansion- The Wall Street Journal

Playboy Mansion Sale Is Next Step in Business Transformation:

Exclusive Photos

Asking $200 million, Playboy Enterprises plans to reinvest the proceeds of the sale; a buyer would have to remodel the ‘dated’ interiors and let tenant Hugh Hefner remain

By

CANDACE TAYLOR

Jan. 11, 2016 1:41 p.m. ET

The Playboy Mansion—the sprawling Los Angeles house that over four decades came to embody Hollywood’s sybaritic party culture—is going on the market for $200 million. 

Longtime resident Hugh Hefner has no plans to leave: Seller Playboy Enterprises is stipulating Mr. Hefner, 89, be allowed to remain at the home for the rest of his life. 

Founded by Mr. Hefner in 1953, Playboy helped usher in the sexual revolution, but more recently has shed staff and reorganized its business. Scott Flanders, Playboy Enterprises’ chief executive, said in a statement that the sale of the mansion “enables us to continue to reinvest in the transformation of our business.” “The Playboy Mansion has been a creative center for Hef as his residence and workplace for the past 40 years, as it will continue to be if the property is sold,” he added. 

Founded by Hugh Hefner in 1953, Playboy helped usher in the sexual revolution, but more recently has shed staff and reorganized its business. 

On roughly 5 acres, the property is one of the largest in Holmby Hills and borders the Los Angeles Country Club. According to listing agents Mauricio Umansky of the Agency and Gary Gold and Drew Fenton of Hilton & Hyland, the mansion is roughly 20,000 square feet. The property includes an elaborate swimming pool and grotto, zoo and game house. 

The estate is in need of renovation. “The house will require remodeling, for sure,” Mr. Umansky said, though he added that the value of the land alone is close to $100 million. The home’s interiors are “dated and will need to be remodeled and redesigned,” he said. Moreover, a buyer may want to increase the size of the house.

Acquired by Playboy Enterprises in 1971 for $1.05 million, the mansion is the longtime home of Mr. Hefner, who rents the mansion from the company for a “small, nominal amount each year,” according to a Playboy spokesperson. While Mr. Hefner’s remaining at the property is “nonnegotiable,” Mr. Umansky said, the exact terms of the arrangement will be determined during purchase negotiations.

The SOCIETY Group- The Wall Street Journal

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The Open House Goes Over the Top

The traditional wine-and-cheese open house has given way to increasingly elaborate shindigs.

More than 250 guests gathered at a home in Los Angeles’s Pacific Palisades neighborhood last fall. Models swam in the pool, guests attired in all-white drank mojitos and a singer strummed an acoustic guitar. The guest of honor: the 11,000-square-foot New England whitewashed-brick house, which would hit the market days later for $16.95 million.

As luxury home prices edge into record territory in some areas, traditional wine-and-cheese open houses are being replaced with five-course meals, poolside fashion shows and...

Watch the video and read the full article HERE.