Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mel Brooks: Real Estate Mogul

SELLER: Mel Brooks
LOCATION: Santa Monica, CA
PRICE: $5,995,000
SIZE: 3,901 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Last week Your Mama received a covert communique from Our Fairy Godmother in Santa Monica who pointed our celebrity real estate snoot towards a contemporary condo in a two-tower residential high-rise complex in Santa Monica, CA listed at $5,995,000 and owned by show bizness treasure and legend Mel Brooks.

Sassy and smartly sarcastic Mister Brooks got his start working the summertime stand-up comedy circuit in upstate New York's Borscht Belt in the Catskill Mountains. His long career has endured more than 50 years and his accomplishments are too many to recount on our rinky-dinky online endeavor. Suffice to say that his efforts as a director, screenwriter, composer, lyricist, comedian, actor and producer have earned him a place in the Pantheon of Hollywood as well as Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards. He is perhaps best known for his efforts on films (and Broadway productions) that include Blazing Saddles, The Producers and Young Frankenstein.

In 1964 Mister Brooks hitched his romantic wagon to the inestimable, famous and fabulous star of stage and screen Anne Bancroft whose most remembered roles were as Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker and the cradle-robbing ur-cougar Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate. They were married until 2005 when Miz Bancroft went to meet her great director in the sky.

Together Mister Brooks and Miz Bancroft produced one child, Maximillian. In the early 2000s Max Brooks spent a few seasons writing for Saturday Night Live but he's achieved his own special brand of celebrity for the books he's written about zombies (The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War). Although we can't prove it or confirm it, based on information provided to Your Mama by Our Fairy Godmother in Santa Monica, it is our understanding that the condo currently on the market was purchased for and occupied by Max.

The sprawling, nearly 4,000 square foot ocean view condo was fashioned from the combination of four contiguous 9th floor units. Three of the units were purchased, according to property records, on the same day in June of 2000 for a combined $1,675,000, which brought Mister Brooks's pre-renovation costs for the four condos to $2,125,000. Property records also reveal that Mister Brooks (and Miz Bancroft) shelled out another $300,000 for a fifth unit in the building but lon another floor in January of 2004.

The combination of the four contiguous 9th floor units was handled, according to listing information, by the Los Angeles-based architecture firm Pleskow Rael who describe the project on their website as a "loft space enclosing the living, dining and kitchen areas with two separate bedroom suites and a den."

The main living space stretches nearly the full width of the unit and includes reclaimed hardwood floors, a variety of built-in cabinetry and floor to ceiling sliding glass panels that open to three balconies with unobstructed views up and down the California coastline from Palos Verdes to Malee-boo. Opaque and translucent materials delineate space and the structural concrete elements uncovered during the renovation were left exposed as were many plumbing stacks that altogether add to what the architect's website calls "the visual vocabulary of the project."

The service core at the southern end of the combo-condo is open to the main living space which allows it to have ocean view and includes a clean-lined stainless steel kitchen crafted from a cacophony of intersecting horizontal and vertical volumes combined with slabs marble counter tops that look like snow sitting on a window sill.

A cozy den sits snugly in the outside corner of the L-shaped condo and the condo's two larger bedrooms, each with open-plan dressing areas and private poopers, are contained in the L's short leg. A small third bedroom and pooper behind the kitchen can be used as staff quarters, office space, a home gym or, if you're a crazy cat ladee, as the shitter where all the cat boxes are kept.

Listing information indicates that the condo includes 6 covered parking spaces in a secured garage and monthly fees of $3,662. The condo complex, complete with doormen, security, pool, fitness facility and spa, is not only walking distance to the beach as the bottom of the bluff but also to the famous 3rd Street Promenade.

A peep around the public records reveals that Mister Brooks is a bit of a real estate mogul and until recently had a fat property portfolio that included at least five residences on two coasts. A probably not complete list of Mister Brooks's (and Miz Bancroft's) other homes and recent real estate transactions include the following:

Since at least 1978 the iconic couple's primary residence has been a mullet-style mansion–all bizness up front, party at the back–with a traditional front facade and a boxy, gutsy and very contemporary addition that extends from the rear of the house. The approximately half-acre lot that hangs over the Riviera Country Club in Santa Monica, CA and The Los Angeles County Tax Man shows the manse measures 13,055 square feet and includes half a dozen bedrooms and 9 terliting facilities.

Property records reveal that in May of 1977 Mister Brooks (and Miz Bancroft) bought a beach house on a particularly posh stretch of sand in Malee-boo. Property records show they paid $515,000 for the ocean front house that weighs in at 3,476 with 5 bedrooms and 6 poopers.

Like many cosmopolitan Tinseltown types Mister Brooks (and Miz Bancroft) owned and continues to own a small apartment–a condominium–on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Records indicate the snatched up the 1,086 square foot pied a terre in a terrifically bland full-service condo building on West 89th in March of 1990 for $347,000. A recent sale of the same apartment with 2 bedrooms and 2 poopers just one floor down sold for $1,100,000. Presumably Mister Brooks' apartment has a similar value in today's market.

In early 2000, the Brooks-Bancrofts bought a 1.33 acre waterfront spread on Shinnecock Bay in blue-blooded Southampton, NY. However, they quickly caught a case of the real estate fickle. By mid-October they had sold the 2,300+ square foot house for $1,550,000 to a New York City-based tennis wear designer.

Just about a month after selling their Southampton spread they snapped up an ocean front beach shack tucked into the dunes in Water Mill where one of the neighboring homes is owned by former supermodel Cindy Crawford. Property records point out that Mister Brooks (and Miz Bancroft) paid $2,995,000 for the modest if incredibly expensive 1,968 square foot ranch-style residence that the Suffolk County Tax Man says has 3 bedrooms and 2 poopers. Previous reports from the time of the sale state that the house had previously been leased by the very social Alexandra and Alexander von Furstenberg, son and daughter-in-law of fashion goddess Diane von Furstenberg. Property records show that Mister Brooks sold the house last year for $5,300,000 a number that our bejeweled abacus shows is a 2.3 million dollar gain in just five years of ownership. Not bad money if you can make it that way.

Clearly enamored of living near the ocean, Mister Brooks (and Miz Bancroft) picked up a winter getaway on hoity-toity Fisher Island in Miami, FL. Property records show that the real estate mad couple coughed up $400,000 for a 690 square foot 1 bedroom and 1 pooper condo in September of 1991. The condo was sold, according to records, in May of 2008 for $750,000. Past and present owners of condos on Fisher Island include Oprah "I'm Going To Take Over The World" Winfrey, tennis titans Boris Becker and Andre Agassi, actress Julia Roberts, bon-bon shaker Ricky Martin and Prescott Bush, the no-longer-living granddaddy of Jeb and George Dubya.


Anonymous said...

seems very sterile and industrial, especially for an older coot like MB.

Anonymous said...

to quote Marie Romano:
"it has no nuance"

Grrrowler said...

In 2001 I was on a small sailing cruise ship. There was a lovely couple named Mel and Anne who were very low key, but very friendly and approachable. Since there were only 60 guests on the boat, my partner and I sat with them at dinner one night. That's when I realized that it was THE Mel and Anne. They were charming, down to earth, and unpretentious. Truly lovely people.

Anonymous said...

The killer for this place is the monthly $3,662! It ain't NYC, people in LA are not used to that.

Sasha said...

Would love to see a picture of the primary house... sounds very cool. Love him, loved her, love them as a couple.

Anonymous said...

I know this building. Great views and valet parking. But that's it. Many units are rentals, also lots of retirees. Common areas ho hum, good luck getting that price.