SELLER: Sandy Gallin
BUYERS: Serge and Florence Azria
LOCATION: Los Angeles (Bel Air), CA
PRICE: $23,000,000 (list)
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Since the transaction we're about to discuss has yet to close–or at least online property records do not yet reflect a transfer–what we're about to tell the children is just rumor and gossip. You got that? We'd bet our long-bodied bitches Linda and Beverly, plus a year of the only so-so cooking and cleaning services of our sometimes impolite house gurl Svetlana, that our 411 is accurate. However, until prop records spell out the details of deal–or someone close to the transaction goes on the record with the press–it's all just rumor and gossip.
Anyone who follows the tawdry and glamorous high-end real estate scene in Los Angeles knows that Sandy Gallin, a former talent manager to superstars like Dolly Parton, Neil Diamond and Michael Jackson, has developed a lucrative avocation as a flipper of very high-end houses in both Los Angeles and the hoity-toity Hamptons.
In late May 2007 Mister Gallin, allegedly a charter member of Hollywood's so-called Velvet Mafia, paid $7,000,000 to purchase the stately but slightly down on it's heels Paul Williams-designed mansion in Bel Air that for 45 years had been the home of the late Emmy-winning actress Jane Wyatt. It had, in real estate speak, good bones and an excellent Hollywood pedigree.
Mister Gallin's team toiled like dervishes on a full-scale renovation; An entire new wing was added to the rear of the house and the grounds were re-landscaped and dramatically lit. Mister Gallin worked over and beat the interior spaces into decorative submission with his signature style of casually sophisticated if somewhat fussy and clean-lined but soft around the edges contemporary elegance. She'll probably want to scratch out our eyes for saying this but Your Mama sees Mister Gallin's decorative thing as Armani Casa meets Pottery Barn and together they rub up on Frette, frequent blue-chip art galleries and pass regularly through Hermès.
Mister Gallin first flipped the renovated residence back on the open market in June of 2009, just about a year after buying the property, with an astronomical asking price of $32,000,000. The pristine property was de-listed and re-listed and the price tag reduced several times before late September 2010 when it popped back up on the market with the far more realistic asking price of $23,000,000. By the end of January 2011 the property was marked "pending" on Redfin.
We've heard some tittering and scuttlebutt about the pending sale–including that the deal died during inspections but was later revived–but it wasn't until this week that we received a covert communique from a snitch whom we'll call Sister Robert Mary Joseph who tattled that the new owners of Mister Gallin's gut-renovated residence in Bel Air are Beverly Hills fashionistas Serge and Florence Azria.
After a quick contemplation of Sister Robert Mary Joseph's real estate scuttlebutt we snatched up up our worn-out but still bedazzled princess phone and gave our sassy and well-connected informant Kenny Kissintell a ringy-dingy to see if we could get an amen on the matter. Kenny, a fabulously well-to-do bon vivant and bone fide real estate freak who hears plenty of the delicious what's what about all the high-end property in the Platinum Triangle, told us that the deal went down for around $21,000,000 and that Mister and Missus Azria coughed up even more dough-re-me for some of the Mister Gallin's furniture. That number will certainly make any number of Beverly Hills property owners grin with glee but it's still a steep and perilous one-third less than Mister Gallin's bank account blistering original price tag of $32,000,000.
Along with being the brother of L.A.-based French fashion mogul Max Azria, Mister Serge Azria is the owner of various upper end ladies clothing labels including Joie and Equipment. Missus Florence Azria is a well-kept woman about the Beverly Hills charity and social circuit who is justifiably well-known among the fashion crowd as The Shoe Goddess.
Listing information for the .67 acre estate Mister Gallin re-worked and sold shows the renovated compound includes a total of 7 bedrooms, 12 poopers, at least 7 fireplaces and a brand-spanking-new infinity-edged swimming pool that stretches a mind-boggling 110 feet long, about a third of the length of a damn football field.
Mister Gallin retained some of the home's original architectural details such as the parquet floors and sensational and glammy circular staircase in the foyer. Some of the original wood floors were replaced with wide-plank reclaimed hardwood and the walls are hand-trowled with lustrous Venetian plaster. The public rooms include party-sized living and dining rooms, a second living "lounge," library, den and a cavernous kitchen easily capable of feasting forty. The lower-level, a day-light basement sort of set-up, includes a media area, billiards pub, glass-encased wine room and and home fitness facility.
The master suite has two private baths and each of the four guest bedrooms has en-suite facilities. Many of the posh poopers showcase one of Mister Gallin's favorite and oft-recurring decorative motifs: enough meticulously folded white towels stacked snugly in open shelves to adequately supply a busy bathhouse.
Mister and Missus Azria, who Your Mama heard have already or will very soon to move into their deluxe new digs in Bel Air, currently own a 5,977 square foot mansard-roofed mansion on a good street in an excellent section of the flats of Beverly Hills. Property records show they bought the gated property in November of 2003 for $5,500,000. Clearly the financially fortunate Azrias are trading up even as the fashion and retail economies were down the last few years. Bully for them.
In addition to his flip in Bel Air, Mister Gallin has also had a luscious 14-acre spread in the Hamptons on the market. Like the Bel Air residence, the Bridgehampton property was first listed in 2009 with the astronomical asking price of $32,000,000, a number that subsequently sank to $20,000,000. The Wall Street Journal reported in late January 2011 that the 3-parcel estate went to contract for "close to its asking price." Unfortunately we know nada about the details of that deal.
Here's a little extra, sort of related, Platinum Triangle real estate morsel for the children to savor:
If the children will put on their thinking caps they may recall that Hollywood honcho Mister Katzenberg set the Platinum Triangle real estate community on fire last year when he paid a truly shocking $35,000,000 to purchase the 6.34 acre hilltop estate of big-time defense contractor Si Ramo, the man often credited as the "father of the intercontinental ballistic missile."
What's most betwixting and bewildering to common folks like Your Mama is not that Mister K. shelled out thirty-five million bigguns for the estate but that he proceeded to immediately raze Mister Ramo's 8,705 square foot contemporary to make way for his own behemoth Beverly Hills Barbie Dream House. That's right, chickadoodles, Mister K. bought a $35,000,000 tear down. That, children, is how people with money to burn and cash to flush down the terlit do it.
Now here's the juicey-juice, lemon drops, our sassy informant Kenny Kissintell recently confided to Your Mama that word on House Flipper Street is that it's Mister Gallin who has been engaged to oversee the design and day-core of Mister Katzenberg's new crib.
It's just rumor and gossip, hunnies, rumor and gossip.
photos: Everett Fenton Gidley for Teles Properties and Westside Estate Agency