Thursday, June 27, 2013

Owlwood (semi-)Officially Listed

Last July Your Mama repeated the white hot and quietly wide spread Platinum Triangle real estate rumor that the famous Owlwood compound in Los Angeles's supremely hoity toity Holmby Hills area was surreptitiously being shopped to qualified buyers with—according to our well-connected informant Lenny Lemmetellya, at least—a knee-knocking asking price of around $150,000,000.

Well, children, thanks to a eagle eyed snitch we'll call Ben d'Yourear, it's come to Your Mama's attention that the undeniably epic Owlwood compound has popped up on The Agency's website with an asking price that is "On Request" and a link to a password protected virtual tour. Your Mama requested the asking price and password from lead listing agent and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills husband Mauricio Umansky* but we have a sneaking suspicion he's not to keen to cough up the digits and details.

Whatever the actual price, the 10-ish acre, triple-gated and fully-landscaped estate includes a newly built gate house on Sunset Boulevard capable of monitoring the entire estate. The approximately 12,000 square foot Italian Renaissance-style main mansion was originally designed by noted architect Robert Farquhar and built in 1936 for Florence Quinn, the well-to-do ex-wife of department store magnate and real estate mogul Arthur Letts, Jr.

Owlwood was later owned by a long list of Los Angeles luminaries including 20th Century Fox founder Joseph Schenk, oilman William Keck, and actor Tony Curtis. Curtis sold the house in 1974 for about $750,000 to Sonny and Cher who flipped it to a carpet tycoon in 1976 for about $950,000. The carpet tycoon sold Owlwood in the late '70s to a flamboyant businessman named Ghazi Aita.**

Mister Aita acquired the estate next door, often referred to as the former home of water baby Esther Williams and where the estate's swimming pool and recreation complex are now located. After several years on the market Owlwood was sold in 2002 to Mister and Missus Arnall. The real estate balling couple simultaneously acquired a third adjacent estate, originally built for crooner Rudy Vallée. The mansion was later owned by pin up babe Jayne Mansfield and beau-hunky actor Mickey Hargitay, the parents of Law & Order queen bee Mariska Hargitay. It was Miz Mansfield who gave the mansion it famously pink paint job. Mister and Missus Arnall, who bought the house from singer Engelbert Humperdinck, razed the Pink Palace and in its place put a mini-mall sized parking lot.

We're not entirely sure how much Mister and Missus Arnall paid for the three properties that comprise Owlwood but most reports and online resources put the total somewhere between 30 and 35 million big ones. We may not know what the Arnall's paid for Owlwood, but public records reveal the Widda Arnall shelled out a stroke inducing $470,553 and 64 damn cents in property taxes in 2012. And that, children, doesn't even include the extraordinary sum most certainly required to maintain and operate an estate of this magnitude.

What Your Mama wants to know is why hasn't Formula One Racing heiress and 20-something year old real estate baller Tamara Ecclestone already snatched this trophy property up? Sure, the main house isn't but a fraction of the size of her younger sister's Petra's 56,000 square foot behemoth around the corner that she bought from Candy Spelling for $85 million. But, at least as far as Your Mama is concerned, the pedigree of Owlwood alone more than makes up for its smaller size. Are we wrong?


Any of the children who want more dish, dirt and details about Owlwood should have a look-see at the above video from when the estate was on the market in the early Aughts and/or snag a copy of Michael Gross's exhaustively researched book Unreal Estate.

*In addition to Mister Umansky, Owlwood is being repped by Agency agents Ann Dashiell and Jeeb O'Reilly

**The Hollywood Reporter described Mister Aita as "shadowy" and this blog, maintained by Mister Aita's former estate manager, claimed in 2009 the "shadowy" Mister Aita was "Hawking Cigars and Jewerly [sic] online." 

listing photo: The Agency

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

$150 Million for only 12,000 Sqft?!?! That's crazy, whoever buys this home at anywhere near this price is a Class A Idiot, it's not worth it. Even if it was In the Upper East Side it wouldn't be worth $150M. This makes me want to list my home overpriced $2 Million dollars more than it is.

Anonymous said...

don't know if the real asking price or how much someone will pay for it but whatever it is the value isn't really in the house, it's the 10 acres in the very heart of the platinum triangle.

FonHom said...

Looks like estate manager Greg Hagins passed away. Wife Rita seems to be into the other-worldly and may have written the out-there posts. http://m.legacy.com/obituaries/latimes/obituary.aspx?n=charles-gregory-hagins&pid=148449768&referrer=0&preview=True

Anonymous said...

Is this the house that Sonny and Cher lived in during and after their divorce, sharing it with new partners? Cher talked about sharing the house on her Behind the Music some years ago.

There is way too much asphalt, even for such a grand piece of property. Even if you entertain enough to need such a parking lot (they must be running a catering hall to need that), make it gravel or something a little nicer.

Petra's said...

Hope that after a year of no luck Miz Arnall is coming a bit closer to reality with the asking price.

And sorry, but that house is a teardown. No one is buying such a massive piece of land and keeping that dinky little house.

Except maybe some Saudi sheikh might be persuaded to keep it as a staff house.

Anonymous said...

There used to be a small lake on the property grounds. Had they kept that it would at least justified the price.

Anonymous said...

@2:58 That house is in no way shape or form 'dinky'. The scale of the house is absolutely immense.

Land is a better qualifier of wealth, than square footage.

Anonymous said...

The land value alone might make sense at up to 75 million to create a mini Beverly Park, gated community of one acre home sites in what is really the most exclusive, sought after area in California. Lavish estates priced at 30 to 35 million could pencil out profitably and create a highly sought after address for the wealthy.

Anonymous said...

I thought you did not want to revisit it so I didn't bring it up, but it has been on the website for quite a couple of days. I wish I knew the password... Only one picture is just sad.

I'd rather buy Fred & Joyce H.'s house nextdoor.

This one has such bad landscaping.

Anonymous said...

A developer would never get the zoning to split this up into a gated enclave like that.

That said, if you go to the Agency's website and look at the properties... this house is SECOND on the list after the Carolwood Estate.... typically these lists go by PRICE, even when the price isn't published, its still listed in order from highest to lowest price.

It is widely published that Carolwood is $90m... so they are now asking substantially less for Owlwood?

Anonymous said...

The video cracks me up. I don't think having Baby Face as a neighbor or Hugh Hefner is a selling point.

Desert Donna said...

Mama if Ms. Ecclestone buys this, Mauricio had better buy you a year supply of gin. I would say a lifetime supply, but we know that would probably surpass his commission ;)

Anonymous said...

Mama you of all people should know that the Tamara Ecclestone is the last person on earth to care about pedigree. She only wants what is biggest and most ostentatious, not something like this teardown. Plus she's not even looking to buy a house - just looking for some attention.

lil' gay boy said...

I smell adaptive reuse...

Seems like no estate of this pedigree requires a parking lot of that size -- I suspect that the sellers had an eye towards marketing it as a top shelf, über-exclusive club of some kind.

Better than tearing it down, but it still would make a lovely private residence -- if the price were more reasonable.

Owls said...

Tamara's only way to go is to snatch that 60,000 square foot behemoth that was built above Bel Air Country Club from whoever built it.

Anonymous 7:46, it was first yesterday.

It shouldn't matter.

O said...

Tamara has only one way to: it is to snatch that 60,000 square foot behemoth that was built above Bel Air Country Club from whoever built it.

Anonymous 7:46, it was first yesterday.

It shouldn't matter.

Anonymous said...

O - you're fucking stupid, Eat shit and die.

Ooo said...

O - you're fucking stupid, Eat shit and die.

LOL!

Talking to yourself?

Anonymous said...

Tower Grove Drive

Anonymous said...

It is really ridiculous for a house to be priced at a sum equal to a Powerball or EuroMillions jackpot. Gloria C. Mackenzie couldn't afford this. Nor those two couples from the UK who won around 190m € in cash prizes.

Anonymous said...

Firstly, Tamara Ecclestone's new husband is not allowed to live in the US because of previous convictions in the U.K. So Tamara will never live in L.A.

The land value is about $8m per acre in Holmby Hills, so $80m is about fair price as the house is not really liveable due to terminates.

Anonymous said...

Better find a way to sound proof those 10 acres. Right on the stretch of Sunset famous for speeding (the 2 large S curves)...