It seems that nothing stirs the real estate shit or polarizes The Children more than a pictorially-blessed tale of a multi-billionaire baller with a property portfolio that bulges and balloons with numerous high-priced properties. Some of The Children will surely aspire to acquire or, perhaps, ache with envy for the profound pile of cheddar required to own and maintain multiple high-maintenance mansions. Others will most certainly burn with a white hot and unreserved righteous anger about the extreme income inequality such residential decadence puts in stark relief to the meager means of so many.
One such Los Angeles-based financier who will likely inspire some and invoke a wicked ire in others is Los Angeles-based private equity pooh-bah Tom Gores. Brace yourselves with a strong nerve pill and a stiff gin & tonic, butter beans, because based upon Your Mama's entirely unscientific, probably incomplete, and decidedly conservative estimate Mister Gores owns well over $150,000,000 in ritzy residential real estate in the Los Angeles area.
A peek and a poke through property records indicates the first property that Mister Gores and his wife Holly bought in the Los Angeles area is a 5,384 square foot Mediterranean abode in suburban Encino. Records we perused show they bought the 5 bedroom and 6 bathroom residence in October 1997 for $1,450,000 and sold in April 2002 to a long-time family friend and associate for $1,875,000.
In June 1999, the then 30-something now 40-something year old Israeli-born and Michigan-bred and -educated Mister Gores paid $4,595,000 for a two-story Mediterranean mansion in the guard-gated, star-stocked and crime-plagued Mulholland Estates enclave, home to Tinseltown types like socialite/reality tee-vee queen Paris Hilton, not exactly winning actor Charlie Sheen, letter turner Vanna White, British pop star Robbie Williams, and actress/activist Judith Light and her actor husband Robert Desiderio.
We recently received a covert communique from our friend and frequent informant Babbling Babette who said she heard through the Platinum Triangle Real Estate Gossip Grapevine that Mister Gores' long-time homestead in the Mulholland Estates, 10,479 square feet with 6 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms, will soon become available for somewhere in the neighborhood of $11-13,000,000. Now, use them noggins nuggets: What we're saying here is that the rumored listing of said residence ain't nuthin' but scuttlebutt and gossip at this point, okay?
Anyhoo, property records show Mister Gores–through a corporate entity that links directly back to address(es) known to be affiliated with him–also owns a modest if not exactly inexpensive nearby townhouse-type condo situated on a quiet cul-de-sac off Mulholland Drive above the Stone Canyon Reservoir in Bel Air that was obtained back in September 2000 for $765,000. We have no idea why Mister Gores might have wanted this townhouse condo but it's not so far fetched to imagine it was acquired for use on a full- or part-time basis by family, friends and/or domestic staff.
In February 2001, just shy of 2 years after snatching up his big ol' Mediterranean mansion in Mulholland Estates, Mister Gores dropped $1,105,000 on a vacant parcel directly across the street that was eventually transformed into a gated and high-hedged private playground complete with swing-set, jungle gym, play house, trampoline, skateboard half-pipe, sand box, and basketball court. The 15,051 square foot lot (shown above)–substantially smaller than most of the other parcels in the affluent enclave and now, as per listing photos, with just a sport court and large lawn–is currently on the market with an asking price of $1,995,000.
Apparently not satisfied with just the one mansion and the private playground across the street, Mister Gores plunked down another $2,600,000 in May 2001 for a second, smaller mansion, this one across the street from his first acquisition in the hoity-toity 'hood and a couple doors down from his children's private playground.
This purchase of a second mansion in Mulholland Estates may or may not have anything to do with it but the deal went down not long after–so the story goes–it was revealed that our Mister Tom Gores was (allegedly) doing the hanky-panky with his brother and business partner Alec Gores' wife Lisa who at the time also lived in a 10,000-plus square foot house in Mulholland Estates.
Mister A. Gores–a billionaire like his brother–(allegedly) reportedly hired shady private investigator to the stars Anthony Pellicano to get to the meat of the infidelity matter. We're not sure what sort of sordid information Mister Pellicano turned up but we do know that Mister A. Gores eventually went to the court of dee-vorce while our Mister T. Gores remains married to his long-time wife Holly.
Mister Alec Gores, for anyone who might be interested, eventually decamped Mulholland Estates for the much more expensive (and residentially steroidal) guard-gated enclave of Beverly Park where he settled into an elephantine French Normandy-style mega-mansion that measures approximately 42,000 square feet and was designed by architect Richard Landry, built to exacting standards over 3.5 years by the folks at Finton Construction, and decorated by high-toned interior designer Joan Behnke. But we digress....
Mister (Tom) Gores heaved his second-purchased pad in Mulholland Estates on to the open market in May 2011 with an asking price of $5,875,000. Listing information for the single story sprawler (shown above) indicates it measures 6,625 square foot with 5 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms that include a master suite with private sitting room, two-way fireplace, walk-in closets, vaulted and wood-beamed ceiling, and French doors that open the bedroom to a pergola-shaded terrace that overlooks the backyard.
Other features of the property, as per listing information, are a direct access three-car garage, formal living and dining rooms, a library/den with massive carved stone fireplace and built-in book/display shelves, media room outfitted with projection equipment, and an eat-in kitchen with Saltillo tile flooring, granite counter tops, antiqued bone-colored cabinets, snack bar, breakfast area, and family/sitting area with a trio of French doors that connect out to the lushly landscaped and meticulously maintained backyard. The not exactly capacious but certainly sizable back yard area offers numerous terraces and patios, an almost freakishly green patch of grass, heated swimming pool, spa, a built-in barbecue center, and an oblique view down the rugged canyons and over the twinkling lights of the San Fernando Valley.
Let Your Mama be completely clear here, puppeenuh weenuhs: We don't know why Mister Gores purchased this particular property across the street from his primary residence nor do we know who (if anyone) occupies the premises on either a full or part time basis. Okay? Moving along....
Shortly after compiling his unconnected compound in the Mulholland Estates community, like all good billionaires who make their home in Los Angeles, Mister Gores went on the hunt for a house in Malibu. He eventually settled, according to at least one previous report, on an approximately 6,000 square foot ocean front contemporary sold by internet browser baron Marc Andreessen who went from rich to super rich in 1999 when he sold Netscape to media juggernaut America Online for an almost unimaginable ten billion bucks. Property records show Mister Gores, again through a corporate entity that links back to the same address as so many of his other properties, spent a titanic $22,600,000 for the 4 bedroom beach shack when he scooped it up in 2003.
In August 2007 the property collecting billionaire plunked down $3,325,000 for a mildly charming 1924 gingerbread Tudor with 3 bedrooms and 1 bathrooms sandwiched between a couple of ass-ugly apartment buildings in the flats of Beverly Hills. We are no expert but Your Mama assumes the seemingly exorbitant cost of the property has far more to do with the value of the multi-family zoned parcel located on the swanky edge of downtown Beverly Hills than with the value of the 1,678 square foot house itself.
In April 2007, few months before snapping up the gingerbread Tudor, Mister Gores dropped $11,500,000 to acquire a "French Mediterranean" mansion in what is arguably one of the if not the most prime section of Beverly Hills. The gated residence (shown above), as it turns out, is currently available for lease with a monthly rental price of $39,000, $43,000, or $49,000 depending where on the interweb one looks.
Listing information on the website of the listing agent–a familial relative of Mister Gores, dontcha know?–shows the 10,580 square foot mansion contains 7 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms including an expansive master suite with separate sitting area, dual bathrooms and a pair of custom-fitted walk-in closets. Listing information also indicates and reveals an impress-the-guests-style double-height foyer with sweeping floating staircase, formal living and dining rooms, wood-paneled library, wood-paneled family room with backyard access, and a colossal sky-lit center island kitchen with a breakfast counter and Suburu-sized commercial-grade range. The backyard space, large but far from gigantic, offers tree-shaded lawns, a covered dining patio, expansive entertaining terraces and a large swimming pool and spa.
Your Mama can't say with any certainty why Mister Gores opted to acquire the above mentioned mansion but it may or may not have something to do with a vacant and unusually large adjacent parcel he bought the previous year–that would be in February 2006–for a toe curling $33,640,000. Yes, children, Mister Gores paid thirty-some million smackers for a rolling piece of bare land located across the street from wealthy divorcée Suzanne Saperstein's insanely opulent estate Fleur de Lys, next door to media and music mogul David Geffen's legendary 10-acre estate, and adjacent to Green Acres, the even more legendary, heavily fortified and decidedly deluxe estate of self-made supermarket tycoon turned private equity multi-billionaire Ron Burkle.
We imagine that Mister Gores might have planned to build himself a massive residential monument to his considerable wealth on the property but as far as we know, five and some years after the pricey procurement, the 6-plus acre property remains all but undeveloped but for an outdoor basketball court, full-sized soccer pitch, and a couple of ticky-tacky looking pavilions that likely contain changing rooms and bathroom facilities.
We claim no inside intel as to Mister Gores' real estate motivations but it seems he decided at some point not to build himself a mega-mansion next door to fellow billionaires David Geffen and Ron Burkle.
The increasingly fickle billionaire coughed up $18,000,000 in November 2008 for a 7,247 square foot mansion due north of the Bel Air Country Club. Not satisfied with just that one supremely placed property, Mister Gores laid out a truly staggering and almost outlandish $38,000,000 in January 2009 to buy the 11,400 square foot Mediterranean mansion next door that once belonged to motion picture colorizing pioneer Herbert Kalmus and was later owned by Verna Harrah, the wealthy widow of hotel and casino kingpin Bill Harrah. Miz Harrah sold the 1.5 acre estate in 2005 for $14,900,000 to a corporate entity believed by real estate gossips to be controlled by radio and television station tycoon Henry Carlson "Carl" Parmer, Jr. and it is Mister Parmer who–the lucky devil–pocketed upwards of $20,000,000 on the sale of the property.
Mister Gores, who spent according to our bejeweled abacus a shocking $56,000,000 on the two adjacent Bel Air properties, proceeded to knock down the first house and is currently engaged in a full-scale gut renovation and expansion of the Kalmus-Harrah-Parmer pile that will, when all is said and done, surely cost him many if not several tens of millions more.
Some time ago Your Mama queried a Beverly Hills real estate insider well call Rod N. Reel about Mister Gores' substantial residential holdings in Los Angeles and among the many fascinating and informative tidbits he provided was that last year Mister Gores quietly snatched up fitness guru Bill Phillips' 17,826 square foot Moorish-style mansion located just up the street from his billionaire brother Alec's even bigger, hotel-sized behemoth in the guard-gated Beverly Park community.
Property records, which show the buyer as a corporate entity that links directly back to one of several addresses that Mister Gores' other many residences are connected, reveal that Mister Gores spent a staggering $21,000,000 in November 2010 for the 3-ish acre estate that includes 9 bedrooms and 15 bathroom residence known during Mister Phillips' ownership as The Great 78.
Mister Phillips and his wannabe actress wife Amy Molen appear to have decamped to a much smaller house above the Sunset Strip that property records show that picked up December 2010 for $7,350,000. The couple quickly caught a case of The Real Estate Fickle and last week flipped the 5 bedroom and 8 bathroom mock-Med villa back on the market with a much-increased price tag of $8,495,000.
In addition to their $150,000,000-plus worth of residential real estate in Los Angeles, Mister Gores and his wife Holly also own a substantial amount of property in Michigan. Property records we peeped indicate they own at least one condo and at least two modestly sized single-family houses in Grosse Ile, MI, an upscale island community south of Detroit, as well as two side-by side river front residences on about 1.75 acres, both with private docks, one with swimming pool and pool house, and the other with a full-sized soccer pitch in the back yard.
Now then, it's late and we're hungry so we can't be bothered to come up with a smart and pithy close to this tale other than to suggest (and perhaps even predict) that he have not heard the last of Mister Gores real estate machinations and not by far. He is, after all, relatively young, filthy rich and has exhibited over the last number of years a growing susceptibility to a screaming and relentless case of The Real Estate Fickle.
all listing photos: Hilton & Hyland