Monday, March 31, 2014

Suzanne Saperstein Finally Unloads Fleur de Lys (at Record Price)

Buckle your real estate safety belts, children because after more than six years on and off the market with an astronomical $125,000,000 asking price, couture-clad divorceé Suzanne Saperstein has done sold her 50,000 square foot faux-chateau—that would be the (in)famously opulent Fleur de Lys—for $102,000,000, in cash. That's right, puppies, 102 million in cold, hard cash money.

According to the L.A. Times there was not just one interested billionaire buyer but three. Three?!? Six years and the lady can't hardly give the damn place away and, in the end, there are three billionaires who all show up at roughly the same time who are all desperate to acquire the unapologetically palatial white elephant?

So the scuttlebutt goes, one of the losing bidders is Chinese and another is English. The buyer was identified to the L.A. Times as a "French billionaire" although the deeds and other documents related to the transfer will be mailed to the Milken Institute in Santa Monica, a non-partisan think tank chaired by multi-billionaire financier and philanthropist Michael Milken. The buyer's agent, Fred Bernstein of Westside Estate Agency, is married to Michael Milken's daughter, Bari Milken-Bernstein, so there's that connection but a representative of Mister Milken denies he or his institute bought the estate.

Interestingly, back in February Your Mama heard (but can't confirm) that a Chinese billionaire made an $85 million offer for grandiose estate and, more than a week ago now, we heard word from an anonymous and frustratingly cryptic informant who insisted the buyer is not Chinese but rather a "Russian" who is not Roman Abramovich, Andrey Melnichenko or Dmitry Rybolovlev but rather someone "well established in California." Make of that rumor and gossip what you will.

The fully landscaped and lavishly maintained 4.6 acre spread—on the border between Beverly Hills and the Holmby Hills in an area that is, technically, called Beverly Crest —includes impressive driveway gates and a 600 foot long driveway that switchbacks its way to a cobblestone motor court the size of the Place Georges-Pompidou in Paris. (Okay, it's not really that big but it's still huge.) There's secondary, service and staff access through less impressive but still imposing gates that open directly into a second, rear motor court and staff parking area.

The steel-framed and limestone-faced edifice was inspired by the Vaux-le-Vicomte palace outside of Paris and sits on rollers that help safeguard the massive mansion during earthquakes. Inside, according to listing details and other resources, there are 12 bedrooms and 15 bathrooms as well as a slew grand formal entertaining rooms including a gilt-trimmed ballroom that can accommodate more than 300 guests. Arguably more intimate rooms include a double-height library, a music room, a 35-mm digital movie theatre, and a 3,000 square foot wine cellar and tasting room.

There are several kitchens on the property including a colossal commercial-grade cookery with separate storage room(s) for dishes and cutlery and a butler's pantry larger than most kitchens. Staff quarters include a dining room, offices, a dedicated security center, and a separate house for the estate manager.

Formal gardens and expertly trimmed trees surround the property that includes a soccer pitched-sized lawn, a tennis court, jogging track and a swanky swimming pool complex with spa and fitness facilities.

The $102 million sale price makes its the most expensive single family home purchase in L.A. County, well in front of the $94 million telecom tycoon Gary Winnick reportedly paid pineapple mogul David Murdock for the so-called Casa Encantada estate in Bel Air back in 2002 and $17 million more than the $85 million British Formula 1 racing heiress Petra Ecclestone paid Showbiz widow Candy Spelling for The Manor in 2011.

The most expensive house ever sold in in the U.S., a massive manse on nine acres in Northern California's Woodside community, sold last year to one of Japan's richest men in a deal worth $117.5 million. A couple years earlier another large mansion in the nearby community of Los Altos Hills was sold to Yuri Milner, a Russian billionaire venture capitalist with long standing ties in California. Make of that what you will...

listing photo: Westside Estate Agency

46 comments:

Little Miss Smoke and Mirrors said...

I'm speechless.

Possibly the ultimate example of money and taste being completely incongruent principles.

Anonymous said...

Suzanne got VERY VERY lucky...

The Swan said...

The carousel is spinning ever so out of control. Although this estate is worthy of so many accolades, especially that of a woman's vision made real, I fear that is meager or mediocre now enjoys the rippled effect this sale creates ALL thruout SoCal. We have it ALL here...weather, snow, desert, ocean and now a NEW COLONIZATION has begun - the Billionaire. Pity those who have children for when they are of age, what will they afford.

Rosco Mare said...

I like the elegant symmetry of the mansion's facade.

I'm wondering, though, if the unreal-to-me $102m price includes plans and permits to level the entire neighborhood and take it over

Anonymous said...

Mama, I think you mean Masayoshi Son not Yuri Milner

Anonymous said...

Ms Swan (3:03) I loved you on Mad TV but get real. The colonization?? California does have alot but the taxes and failing infra structure will destroy it long before the real estate prices will. Go back to Canada honey.

lil' gay boy said...

I now know just exactly what term "gobsmacked" feels like...

;-)

I admit to being a tad suspicious; three billionaire bids at once? Are there that many billionaires with the exact same taste in housing, or were they all just competing for the land?

Teardown? Discuss...

Anonymous said...

Do up you guys really think the new owner would tear it down?

Love this blog!

The Swan said...

Milken is a front for many Middle East buyers. As he lives in Clark Gable's old ranch happily, he could've bought La Saperstein's way back when for 85mil. The term - Colonization - is meant that OUR SoCal IS being invaded by major dollar buyers from all over the world. Their countries are now on the cusp of great dissension. They need a safe haven at ANY cost...but certainly one without peer. NYC has seen the same, but nowhere like LOS ANGELES, PASADENA AND SAN MARINO...which means the outlying surrounding areas get a lift in price too...so, Dear ANON 3:10 - as I was born here, and most likely you weren't as your wishing the worse calamities on the region, especially after our recent earthquake...perhaps a one way ticket is in order for you, on the Greyhound! Pack your rags, gather your doll and lick that lollipop for it'll be a bumpy ride.

Anonymous said...

Ms Swan, whatever crack was created by the most recent earthquake is surely smaller than yours. Ooopsy.

Commentator8 said...

@ Ms. Swan: some billionaire paying too much for an extremely rare mansion in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the world (which has always been very wealthy) does not affect middle class housing prices in the rest of LA. If, for an investment to park money like you say, they bought every single house listed for sale in say, Van Nuys, that would adversely affect the rest of us. This, not so much.

Anyway, since the 1800s LA has been home to the super wealthy, nothing is changing.

Candy Spelling said...

I hope she doesn't think she can bunk up with me after she moves out.

The Swan said...

4:30 INAPPROPRIATE & TRAGIC...4:42 I have an opinion, my own thank you. When your family has been here for almost 100 years...well, one might know a bit!

Anonymous said...

Total teardown!

Sandpiper said...

Hi Swan, I got your colonization theory and agree. It's been going on for a long time in other property markets (and holdings). But the new dynamic you describe defiantly adds another en masse layer/trend to watch. Are you inferring this could become an iteration of, say, The Bishops Avenue in London, where infiltration has occurred, leaving a rather seedy aftermath in it's wake. That would really blow.

Otherwise, this is a crazy nuts story. Good for her! Betting there were a few champagne corks popping around town ($).

Mama, you didn't include links to when our party started on this listing in 2007. If anyone is interested, Google them. Pics, hilarious Mama color commentary -- and the usual dicey comments (plus a bunch of wild stories from Suzanne's hirelings).

Sandpiper said...


Paging Yolanda ... at least give us something ... a little progress report of where this buyer speculation is heading. Don't fail us now!! xoxo

Commentator8 said...

Ms. Swan, my family first moved to LA in the 1890s, so shaddup.

She looook, likeaman.

Anonymous said...

Commenter8, you're missing the point. Read and comprehend rather than blast your uninformed views. I dount you even have a history in LA. Your roots are more accurately in Trenton, Oy.

Anonymous said...

LGB -
I say that it's not a teardown, but a place to park some cash.

Mama -

Wasn't the $ 117 million sale in Woodside or was that a $ 110 million one?

lil' gay boy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Los Angeles seems relatively cheap. All that, 50,000 sq ft, over the top finishes..in the most exclusive part of the city, all that land for $100mm?

Homes 30% of this size in London have sold for double.

lil' gay boy said...

Anon 8:07,

You're probably right; for the sake of the quality of construction, I hope so...

start rant

As for some other comments, well...y'all sound like a bunch of Tea Partyers.

Statements like colonization . . . as I was born here, and ...when your family has been here for almost 100 years . . . are disgraceful. They echo the mentality of "I've gotten my sorry self on board, pull the ladder up before all the others try to." And before you start wailing & gnashing your teeth, my own people have been here for close to 400 years -- yet I still consider myself a grateful guest.

Were you all asleep in American History class? In case you've forgotten, unless you are Native American, you are an immigrant, or the descendant of immigrants -- the very thing that made this country great. Our history is one of continual re-colonization by those who sought the security of what has always been known as the "Great Experiment". With them they've brought their culture, knowledge & skill that has enriched us all.

I'd like to say I'm more disappointed than I really am; but we're still a young country, and obviously have a long way to go.

Can we get back to the gossip & architecture now?

end rant

Anonymous said...

LGB: The Statue of Liberty is not closed for business. What's being discussed has everything to do with real estate within a new microcosm that didn't exist 400 years ago.

lil' gay boy said...

Anon 3:47,

You're right, of course; my apologies. Although the phenomenon is not new, the microcosm may very well be.

It was just a particular turn of phrase that irked me so; I'll get off my high horse now -- he's swaybacked and old, and probably ready for the knackers' yard...

:-(

midTN said...

10:27...lil' gay boy:

PFFFFFFFFT!

***

James Matias said...

I wonder if the real estate agents make the standard 3% on both sides!?

Unknown said...

Just wanted to say that while I would never buy this house or build anything resembling it, I do have to respect the architectural integrity (of the exterior, at least). The architect knew what he was doing. It is a genuinely well done French neoclassical house that wouldn't be out of place in France in the 18th century or Long Island's north shore in the 1920s. Kudos to the architect.

And now here's the more important question: where will Miz Saperstein move on to?

The Swan said...

LGB - what can I say? You've missed the point entirely? Your full of admonitions for those beneath you? Your pompous diatribe was unbecoming for a supposed 400 year old Mayflower ancestor. How do you assume I'm not American Indian? Spanish? Last I STUDIED they were here long before THOSE undesirables cast out as a last resort to living from the Old World Courts for being criminals, religious fanatics or the like. The New World was NEVER a WASP world - those who believe so are the Tea Party/GOP/Independent - and they my darling LGB are now in the death throes of extinction. Come into the light, step down from the crumbling foundation of bigotry, and look to a NEW WORLD, one with International and American billionaires carving out sectors of my birth town, slashing mountain tops, hoisting years of Golden Architecture to the heap, building monstrosities for empty nights and hollow dreams, but most of all...taking our history and turning it into rubble! I love Suzanne Saperstein for her taste level was grand ala Alva Vanderbilt who started the fashion of Finely finessed Architecture with Richard Morris Hunt...Saperstein used RICHARDSON ROBERTSON III...at least it wasn't Richard Landry. PS: This is a blog on architecture not a vent for a vicious eye...shredding people's opinions, abodes and interiors is bullying! Manners are everything!

Sandpiper said...

About the new buyer -- I'm throwing my wildest guess into the ring and aiming high.

There's a French billionaire, Vincent Bolloré, heavily diversified and about to cut loose with a proven operating unit in the states. He likes yachts and villas.

I'm just having fun here.

Anonymous said...

Money laundering.

They have to get cash out of the country and park it somewhere safe.

lil' gay boy said...

My dear Swan,

Obviously I seem to have expressed myself quite badly; you have taken offense when I assure you none was meant.

I apologize.

What I first read into your words caused a knee-jerk reaction to what I perceived as the "we were here first" argument; until I read your second post, it never occurred to me that you were just expressing yourself passionately about a subject that obviously means much to you.

I don't think many of us cheer when another piece of history is demolished. As I get older and more pragmatic, it occurs to me that perhaps our devaluing the history of place is the price we pay for being a country where almost anyone, from anywhere, has an opportunity to reinvent themselves; write their own history, as it were.

Perhaps we can save what we can, mourn the rest, and remember that ulimately they are just things; whatever ideals they represented, remain.

Anonymous said...

GUYS, nobody knows who is the new owner?

The Swan said...

Dear LGB...beautifully written, I felt your TRUE self...Love & Light!

Anonymous said...

Confidential to LGB:

Kol hakavod v'yasher koach to you! (All the honor and strength to you!)

Sincerely,
Hedda

Rosco Mare said...

Very happy to read that our dear in-house rabbi has returned. I suspect she was away organizing a kibbutz.

Shoyn lang nit gezen! ("Long time no see." I hope I wrote this correctly. )

Xo
Rosco Mare the certified WASP

Anonymous said...

Not this smug Hedda crap starting back up again.

Anonymous said...

Dear Rosco,

Thank you for your mama loshen (mother's tongue) greetings! I always appreciate your real estate insight and orientation for the preservation of historic and vintage homes. To promote shalom among the Kinderlach, I'm generally refraining from commenting. Gay gezunt (go in strong health).

Yours,
Hedda

Anonymous said...

Hedda: Take your arrogant multiple personality disorder some place else, Goes for your Roscoe ABERRATION too.

Anonymous said...

Hooray for hedda and rosco mare. I love them both. At least that have interesting contributions as opposed to sour puss mcsourpants up there who's just a bit whiner curmudgeon.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mama,
The house in Woodside is not palatial at all. It's a beautiful house of a very manageable size on a property that is nicely sized for the house. One would never even call it a mansion, let alone palatial.

lil' gay boy said...

Dearest Rebbe,

So good to hear from you, your warmth & wisdom have been sorely missed...

Anonymous said...

Mama, if you don't tell us who the buyer is i will spank you silly.

Anonymous said...

Wandering what Lil and Rabbi think of the south façade.

The house has certainly gone a long way, from being unviersally hated to being praised for its architecture.

I wonder what happened to the Singleton estate and Owlwood. It seems as if the one people thought the least that it would sell, sold, but those that should have sold - haven't.

Anonymous said...

RE: Were you all asleep in American History class? In case you've forgotten, unless you are Native American, you are an immigrant, or the descendant of immigrants -- the very thing that made this country great. Our history is one of continual re-colonization by those who sought the security of what has always been known as the "Great Experiment". With them they've brought their culture, knowledge & skill that has enriched us all.

Ummm, all are descendants of immigrants. None sprung up from the dust in the Northern Hemisphere, just some's ancestors got here sooner than others.

Anonymous said...

That likely-faux offer from a "chinese billionaire" of $85B was years ago, not last week.

Anonymous said...

this is ridiculous, shameful, and wasteful.
When you have super billionaires like Bill Gates buying a home in Florida for 7 million, and Warren Buffet owning a house in Orange County, California for around 7 or 8 million........then yes! I do think this is a disgusting use of wealth. Much like I find it equally appalling when that Indian billionaire built a skyscraper for his family to live in, in Mumbai, where some of the poorest people live in filth and slums while he has a "ice room" to cool off in the eighth floor of his house.