Tuesday, September 21, 2010

UPDATE: Let's Talk About Paul Allen, Shall We?

Yesterday Your Mama blew a gasket discussing many of the über posh properties and floating mansions of billionaire Microsoft co-founder turned investor and philanthropist Paul Allen. Thanks to some whispered words from a couple of The Children, Your Mama learned that our rundown, as exhaustive as it seemed, was incomplete. In addition to his colossal compound on Mercer Island, WA, the new $25,000,000 beach house in Malibu, a mansion in Beverly Hills, and the fantastical Villa Maryland in the South of France, Mister Allen also owns a number of other notable homes.

Although Your Mama missed every reference to it in our research, it's been widely reported over the years that Mister Allen owns a swank townhouse in London's hoity-toity Holland Park neighborhood, the same general vicinity as rich and famous folks like brash billionaire Richard Branson, chesty entertainment mogul Simon Cowell, and legendary musician Sir Paul McCartney.

In addition to his London digs and all his west coast abodes Mister Allen maintains an east coast outpost. In 1996, it was widely reported by all the New York City real estate gossips that Mister Allen paid real estate magnate Martin Raynor $14,000,000 for the 11th floor co-operative apartment at Manhattan's high nosed and stiff necked 4 East 66th Street. The children will recall that 4 East 66th Street is the very same white glove building that faces Fifth Avenue and Central Park where–with her feet firmly in a financial fire–socialite Veronica Hearst sold her 6th floor Renzo Mongiardino designed digs for a stunning $36,500,000 to 30-something year old hedge hog Chase Coleman III and his finance heiress wife Stephanie.

The children might be amused to know that Missus Coleman, née Ercklentz, appeared in Band-Aid heir Jamie Johnson's 2003 documentary Born Rich in which she dropped a number of revealing and bewildering bon mots like, "I love purses. They are so easy to buy. I have shelves and shelves of them...It's not a big deal. I want a Gucci purse, I buy it...I would have to marry within my [social group], because I couldn't have a husband who would freak out if I bought a $600 Gucci purse." Doesn't that just make y'all love her like the damn dickens?

Anyhoo, property records show other owners of apartments in the heinously expensive 4 East 66th Street include pharmaceutical honcho Howard Soloman, hedge hog Daniel Nir and his wife Jill Braufman, and Deutsche Bank director Kevin Parker and his wife Ulla. Our high society snitch, The Social Butterfly, told us ages ago that Texas based billionaires Sid and Mercedes Bass also maintain a residence in the buttoned up building.

Mister Allen owns a couple of very large properties in the scenic San Juan Islands just off the coast of Anacortes, WA. In 1988–some reports say it was in 1992–Mister Allen purchased an entire island in the San Juans known as Allan Island (above). The island, it should be noted, is not named after Paul Allen (with an "e") but rather it was named in 1841 after some dude in the Navy named Captain William H. Allan (with an "a").

Your Mama does not know how much Mister Allen paid for Allan Island, but we do know that in 2005 he heaved the rugged island on to the market with an optimistic asking price of $25,000,000. We also know that five years later Mister Allen is still trying to unload Allan Island, which remains available but with the much reduced asking price of $13,500,000 and steep 2010 annual taxes of $113,381.

Although Mister Allen reportedly had plans drawn up for a woodsy but contemporary family compound, the island remains virtually undeveloped except for a 1,212 square foot log-style contemporary caretaker's cabin that sits up above a dock that juts out into a small protected bay where boats and sea planes can be parked. According to listing information, the cabin is equipped with water, septic, and a generator plus, somewhat strangely, some sort of hot tub or spa located in or near the cabin.

As well as by water, Allan Island can be accessed by private plane on the grass airstrip that cuts a wide, ugly and angry scar across the otherwise nearly untouched landscape that includes rocky but pristine beaches and thick stands of trees that tower over rocky outcroppings that creep dramatically out into the water.

If Your Mama has said it once we've said it 17,000 times, rich and famous folks can be incredibly fickle about their real estate, quickly forsaking one property for another. It seems that before Mister Allen got very far with his plans to develop Allan Island, he set his real estate sights and family retreat dreams on another property in the San Juan Islands.

In the mid-1990s, amid a bit of brouhaha, Mister Allen paid around $8,000,000 to purchase the 387-acre Sperry Peninsula on Lopez Island. Since 1945, the property was the site of the popular Camp Nor'Wester. Many former campers and architecture aficionados mourned and beefed over the loss of the popular children's summer camp that had at least six buildings designed by Paul Hayden Kirk, a granddaddy of the modernism movement in the Pacific Northwest.

Regardless of the pedigree of some of the structures at Camp Nor'Wester, Mister Allen "dismantled and moved" several of the buildings to other locations on the peninsula in order to make way for a granite, glass, and cedar compound designed by another of the Pacific Northwest's well known modernists, Harold Moldstad.

According to a 1997 article in The Seattle Times, architectural plans filed with San Juan County showed five new buildings: a main mansion for Mister Allen, a beach house and a bunkhouse for his mother Faye, a third residence for his sister Jody Patton, and a 2 bedroom caretaker's cottage situated near the entrance to the property. All of the structures were to be completed by the turn of the century according to a spokesperson for Mister Allen and although we can not confirm, Your Mama assumes that the compound is indeed complete.

Mister Allen's main mansion, according to The Seattle Times, was designed to measure in at a sizable 13,000 square feet with 8 bedrooms, 5 poopers, 4 fireplaces and second floor den with its own kitchenette, fireplace, and deck.

A beach house, which plans label the Chapel Rock House, was designed to sit across the swimming pool from the main house and include 3,150 square feet with 2 changing rooms, 2 fireplaces, 1 pooper–and, for some reason, 4 terlits–and an outdoor barbecue area. This sounds, to an ignoramus like Your Mama more like a damn pool house than an actual residence. A nearby bunk house with 5,440 square feet was planned with a 32-foot high ceiling and a 9-foot wide granite fireplace in the main living space plus 9 bedrooms, most with private poopers and decks. Both the bunk house and the Chapel Rock House were, according to plans, designed for use by Mister Allen's mother Faye.

The house designed for Mister Allen's sister Jody Patton, at 3,160 square feet, was planned with 2 bedrooms, 2 poopers, a fireplace, and a mudroom. In order to skirt around certain legal technicalities and building permit issues and etc., plans called for both Sister Jody and Momma Allan to lease each of the buildings built for them at two grand a month apiece. Of course, Your Mama don't know a piece of driftwood from a car accident but we'd bet our long bodied bitches that both Sister and Momma are slipped a couple grand a month extra to pay for their so-called leases at the family's Sperry Peninsula compound.

When the article in The Seattle Times was published, architects had yet to decide where the tennis court complex with its barbecue pit and pooper were going to be built. We imagine that problem was solved long ago.

Yesterday, Your Mama also discussed Mister Allen's yachts, the 303-foot Tatoosh–currently for sale for $163,000,000–and the 414-foot money pit he dubbed Octopus that reportedly sucks up a truly shocking $384,000 per week to maintain. In addition to his big boats, Mister Allen also has a thing for luxury airplanes. Your Mama isn't sure exactly how many or what type of planes Mister Allen currently owns, but at one time, according to previous reports, his fleet included 2 Boeing 767s for long hauls and several smaller jets for shorter hops. Just to give the children an idea of just how big a 767 is, keep in mind that when used as a commercial craft it can seat upwards of 180 people. He reportedly keeps his fleet in a vast hangar at Seattle's Boeing Field.

Nothing like a long long long list of a billionaire's private real estate holdings and high-priced trinkets and toys to make a body feel financially deprived or morally indignant depending on your point of view.


Anonymous said...

YOU forgot the 120 acre+ estate designed by Wallace Neff for Frances Marion Thompson, the Movie Screenwriter of Golden Hollywood-built circa 1926 with paddocks, stables and a pool overlooking Beverly HIlls and Los Angeles off Benedict Canyon.

He TORE THIS DOWN, several years ago to the chagrin of ALL!!! This is where that garage of all garages is.

Superyachtfan said...

Pictures of Paul Allen's yacht Octopus.


The Bitch Next Door said...

I know I'm showing my age by being shocked that a young couple would have the bucks to afford Veronica Hearst's $36 million dollar condo and that they'd want such a monstrosity at such a young age. Too bad it's on the 6th floor though does it even have a view over the trees on 5th Ave? Anyway I loved that doc BORN RICH and I remember her very well because she complained about having to work at some brokerage firm until 9pm, very late in her view, while her friends were out partying. Looks like she traded that job for something more appropriate at VERA WANG.

lil' gay boy said...

Sounds like mama Faye was a bit of a cheapskate when it came to allowing little Paul his toys; his subsequent accumulations are more than just a little Freudian.

Wanna land the son? Make friends with his mama. I'm sure she & I would get along famously...


Such a shame he demolished the Marion/Thomson house, The Enchanted Hill, which is the English translation of the name of the famous Hearst castle La Cuesta Encantada (Hearst was Francis Marion's employer; the name was a joke between the two).

As for Allan Island, (directly due east of Lopez, the third largest of the San Juan Islands), the supposed hot tub/spa doesn't seem visible from the air; other than the dock & cabin, all you can make out is the path to the grass landing strip.

As for his compound on Lopez Island, on the Sperry Peninsula, it looks like the tennis court is sited near the gatehouse, as this is the structure nearest the causeway that leads onto the private peninsula.

Karen said...

After yesterday's post, I liked him. Today, I despise him.

Aunt Gina said...

yeah right good luck finding a Gucci bag for $600...I'm just sayin'

Anonymous said...

Not to nitpick but in the interest of accuracy he owns two 757's, not 767's.

Sydney said...

Mamma hate to clog up your comment section but I still can't get over "the Coleman kids" buying Veronica Hearst's white elephant. Do you know, or can you find out, if they gutted the place and redid it midcentury mod. I'm assuming MCM because today all the kids are embracing what I lived with as a sputnik kid. Has it been showcased in Arch Digest? I'd think they'd want everyone to know about their livin' large. Oh wait that's just the norm for them. Or could they have lost it in the RE market crash? Please, do tell.
Thanks much, Sydney.

Anonymous said...

He has some kind of malady, does he not? Is it the kind that can be brought on by having too much money to spend? Or is it the kind that oodles of money can cure?

Anonymous said...

Uh, you are mistaken in the fact that is a 757 in the hanger pic you linked to. But neither here nor there, it is a big, EXPENSIVE plane.

Also, Mr. Allen owns the 4000 acre plus ranch known as the Teton Ridge Ranch, in Teton COunty, Idaho. My Dads neighbor runs the place, and it is amazing!!