Tuesday, November 27, 2007

For The Love of Land

Bring on the Middle Eastern potentates, the Russian oligarchs and the American software billionaires because a couple of outrageously high priced Los Angeles land parcels have hit the market that only mega rich magnates or deep pocketed developers can afford.

The first property Your Mama would like to discuss is a collection of lots in swanky Old Bel Air that we have previously discussed when it was rumored that creepy Tom Crooz's peeple were sniffing around the property. Dubbed "The Park at Stone Canyon," the massive 10+ acre plot represents the significant and exceedingly expensive efforts of Elizabeth Hurley's multi-millionaire baby daddy Steve Bing. It took more than nine years for Mister Bing to buy up nine separate lots piece by piece and tear down eight of the old-school mansions, some of which has been previously owned by local luminaries like sexy 1950s siren Kim Novak and the crooner that looks like a lady, Barry Manilow.
Sometime in 2005, Mister Bing the Hollywood producer (Beowolf, The Polar Express), a lucky man who inherited a reported $400-600,000,000 from his grandfather, decided he didn't desire such a monstrous estate after all and sold the 12.4 acre parcel to a group of investors called ECP Acquisitions. Jeezis, Mary and Joseph, how many times has Your Mama told the children that rich people can be so fickle with the real estate? Nine years and umpteen millions only to decide, well, maybe not. We're breathless.

After purchasing the property for an amount money that Your Mama never been able to suss, figure or ferret out, these ECP Acquisitions people had elaborate plans drawn up for an opulent mega-estate that includes a mammoth main house, a separate office and gym, guest house, staff house, a greenhouse and a retreat house, whatever that is, a putting green, an orchard, waterfalls, ponds and a lagoon, not to mention the de riguer tennis court and infinity pool. They also drew up plans for splitting the property into six estates of roughly two acres each. Then they did what anyone with piles of cash to invest in real estate in Los Angeles was doing in 2005, they attempted to flip the property at an ear piercing price and profit. News reports declared that the landscaped and terraced parcel(s), which sit directly across from the hoity-toity Hotel Bel Air, could fetch an unnerving $75,000,000 or more.

But alas...No Texan oil tycoon, hedge fund honcho or Indian Industrialist was willing to cough up the copious cash required to acquire the property. The property disappeared off Your Mama's radar for some time and then poof, out of nowhere, it popped back up on the MLS with a reduced but still eye popping asking price of $59,950,000. Yes puppies, that's just for the bare land. The new owner will need considerable additional assets to design, build and pay for whatever ridiculously humongous residence(s) and accoutrement they would like to put on this piece of property.

Interestingly, the listing describes the property as 10.52 acres (originally the property was marketed with 12.4 acres) which would indicated that one of the ECG people is keeping one of the 2 acre-ish lots for his or herself. Hmm.

Now pour yerself a big stiff one kids, and someone please pass Your Mama the smelling salts because we are not done discussing platinum triangle land parcels with puke inducing price tags.

Not so long ago a property appeared on the MLS that intrigued Your Mama. Located high in the hills of the Beverly Hills Post Office, a 4 parcel estate site totalling nearly 6.25 acres with a Tower Lane address crashed down on the market with a stunning $39,500,000 price tag. Cough. Cough. For the bare land. Can you hear Your Mama's teeth chattering with shock and awe?
Even more intriguing and nerve rattling are the apparent plans the current owner had for the place: 50,000 square feet of Richard Landry designed interior space including a 30,000 square foot main house, a tennis house, gate house, spa house and a waterfall/guest house. All this lavishness was to be accessed by a 1,500 foot long private drive with garage parking for 25 cars, which pretty much makes the place a car dealership with resort amenities.

And who is the current owner you might be wanting to know? Well, after much digging, two of Your Mama's best sources have both independently fingered Jon Peters, the super rich super producer known for his lavish lifestyle, for getting his start in showbiz by dressing Barbra Streisand's hair, and for letting his ex-wife of two months, a ladee named Christine, live rent free in his big house in Bel Air for nearly 20 years, a situation that has resulted in a bitter battle.

According to property records, Mister Peters, who reportedly also owns a home in Bel Air, another in Malibu and an ocean front pile in Santa Barbara, purchased the lots way back in 1996 when there was an 8,000+ square foot house sitting on the property. The house has since been razed and according to listing information, years have been spent on the planning, engineering and design of the property. Ten years into the project and many millions of dollars later with not much to show besides a bunch of damn retaining walls and some drawings and plans, Mister Peters appears to have changed his mind like so many rich and famous do when it comes to ridiculous real estate ventures.

Only time will tell if there are buyers willing to plunk down such huge amounts of coin for vacant property. Lawhd children, imagine all the hungry mouths that could be fed and all the college educations for the poor and hard working that could be funded with this kind of money. It takes a lot to make Your Mama's head spin with visions of money being flushed down the terlit, and children, our head is twisting and spinning just as fast as it can go over these vacant plots of land with obscenely sky high prices.

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