Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Stevie Wonder Looking for a Fat Profit in Los Feliz

SELLER: Stevie Wonder
LOCATION: Chislehurst Drive, Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $3,200,000
SIZE: 4,511 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms (as per listing)
DESCRIPTION: Great view. 14 rooms including pool house in the back. Art Deco period design.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Thanks to our fine friend at Celebrity Address Aerial, Your Mama has learned that sensational song writer and blind as a bat music icon Stevie Wonder has decided to sell off one of his many Los Angeles properties. Before we get to the house, let's all take a quick moment to get our wee minds around the extraordinary fact that the magnificent Mister Wonder has earned himself an unbelievable twen-tee-six Grammy awards, the first being in 1974 and the most recent in 2007. Twenty six!

Property records show that the piano pounding Mister Wonder purchased this house on Los Feliz's Chislehurst Drive way back in October of 1979 for just $435,500. Oh children, remember the good ol' days when you could by a big house in a good part of town for half a million clams?

Anyhoo, Your Mama well knows how many Angelenos like to buy and sell their houses every two years in order to take advantage of a lovely loophole in the tax code, but in Mister Wonder's case it obviously benefited his pocketbook to sit tight and hang on to this house for thirty damn years. With a current asking price of $3,200,000, Your Mama's beloved and bejeweled abacus reveals that when he finally unloads this east side mini-manse Mister Wonder could easily pocket a princely $2,500,000 or more.

Given that the house was built in 1928 and appears to Your Mama to be more Spanish style with its red tile roof and white washed walls, we question whether the design of this house lends itself to the "Art Deco" as is noted in the description provided by Mister Wonder's listing agent, a gentleman who happens to be one of Mister Wonder's seven children. At the risk of sounding catty and crass (which we've been accused of an uncountable number of times), perhaps Mister Wonder's people told him this was an Art Deco style house?

Although records filed with the city indicate the house measures 4,511 square feet and includes only 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, listing information shows there are 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms squeezed into the 4,511 square foot domicile. Hmm.

Listing information for the Wonder property is about as slim as paper thin celebrity super-stylist Rachel Zoe, but fortunately for the children Your Mama is an expert at reading through the real estate lines and filling in the descriptive gaps. After several passes over the photos and information Your Mama was able to glean that additional features include a motor court with 3-car garage, a dramatic double staircase located in a rotunda like entrance hall, a large living room with fireplace and magnificent views, a swimming pool with adjacent pool house and a basement that sonny boy the listing agent indicates could be converted into a "possible theatre room."

Now listen children, before all you music nuts hop in your hoopdies and head over to Los Feliz to hold a candlelight vigil on Chislehurst Drive–something we can assure you will have the neighbors dialing up the po-po pronto–it's unclear to Your Mama whether Mister Wonder ever occupied this property or if it was just one of the many properties propping up his prodigious real estate portfolio. However, because we can see with our eyes we note there is a big black grand pie-ana sitting smack in middle of the otherwise empty living room, it seems entirely possible that Mister Wonder did indeed tinkle those ivories with his musically mighty fingers.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Penis!!!!! I love this house!!!!!!! Penis!!!!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if he still owns the house in Alpine NJ that he housed a number of his kids at?

Madam Pince said...

"Oh children, remember the good ol' days when you could by a big house in a good part of town for half a million clams?"

And had there been blogs in 1979, we'd have been frothing at the mouth over that price!

Anonymous said...

i'd be willing to bet that the piano in the living room is a not so subtle prop being used by the listing agent to remind folks who this place belongs to, regardless of his actually living there

Hippie Canyon said...

Yea, we all remember when real estate wasn't so outrageously priced. I remember walking through a newly converted Studio City condo in 2002, which was listed @ $118K. Its now listed @ $699K. Of course, I didn't buy it back then.... but I should have! As for Stevie's house - its great, and with a few touches to the exterior and updated interior it could be fabulous. It needs the touch of someone like Diane Keaton to bring out the best of it.

Anonymous said...

And did the gardener also tell Mr. Wonder that he's been watering the lawn?

Anonymous said...

"Looking" for a Fat Profit...I get it!

Alessandra said...

I wouldn't call it Art Deco either but perhaps there are some design elements that are featured but not photographed for the MLS. If so, how lazy, sloppy and dumb. For shame!

Anyway, from what little we can see, it looks like it has a lot of potential. Good for Stevie.

Anonymous said...

Probably needs updating etc...

pch said...

Chislehurst is a great street, I like the siting and the house looks nice and original. Funny that the agent-son is calling it Deco when what he's showing us is fairly run-of-the-mill 1920s Spanish architecture. Oddly enough, though, I think the facade would actually benefit from some period-authentic Deco tweaks. Agree with Alessandra that there's lots of potential.

Jimmy said...

Well, the average compounded growth rate of the property's value is only a bit over 7% per year. After you pay all the carrying costs, I suspect you are talking about the return on a long term CD of 5% or so

Chris said...

Being blind he probably didn't object to the very smoggy view in that picture, but a buyer might find the magnificent view a bit....well......smoggy. I am sure on a clear day (how many are there in LA?) you can see forever...as the song goes.

lil' gay boy said...

"Oh children, remember the good ol' days when you could by a big house in a good part of town for half a million clams?"

Um, no.

Not too impressed with the backyard;
the "poolhouse" looks like someone dropped a GI housing unit in the backyard……

Anonymous said...

I live one street over and he does not actually live there, the house looks run down and could use some TLC....

Anonymous said...

Ah, Mama, this entry is pure snarky gold.

I agree with 10:58am......I think he needs to fire his gardener.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the house behind it has the same gardener. Their yard looks like they park on it. The only thing missing is car on blocks...unless that white car is on blocks.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, this property has been for sale on and off over the years. We looked at it in 1993for example - but we thought it was too expensiver and needed LOTS of work even then. It didn't sell then. I walked by the house yesterday, and at least from the street it looks like nothing much has been done in the intervening 15 years! BTW, it's a nice house.

Anonymous said...

This would be a perfect project for Jeff Lewis and Ryan Brown. Get at it boys. I'm looking forward to the flip for Season 3

Anonymous said...

Even if he gets full asking, he will not make a profit. 3200-435 seems like a profit but add in 30 years of cash outflows and even modest renovations and he will be lucky to break even. Hopefully he paid cash for the house in 79 or he will be enjoying a negative rate of return on this investment.

Babe Parish said...

mama,
prop or not, the piano in the living room warms the cockles of my heart...

Kissyface said...

The piano is not a prop. It's really Stevie's old piano. He lived in the house from 1979 to 1988. One of his videos shows him playing that piano in that living room.