Monday, April 25, 2011

Your Mama Hears...

...from a little birdie we'll call Tawny Tweettweeter that a (reasonably) big residential deal recently went down in a plush residential pocket tucked into the sweeping curve of Sunset Boulevard just north of the Los Angeles Country Club where Beverly Hills turns into the arguably even more hoity-toity Holmby Hills.

Last year tech tycoon turned philanthropist David Bohnett–he founded then sold GeoCities for 3.6 billion bucks–and his pop culture-vulture man-friend Tom Gregory sold a fully restored and updated A. Quincy Jones residence in the Holmby Hills. The house, originally designed for Oscar-winning actor Gary Cooper in the mid-1950s, was bought by New York-based art world power player Larry Gagosian. Property records and previous reports reveal Mister Gagosian paid a whopping $15,500,000 for the pristine property that Your Mama hears through the a-list gay gossip grapevine that Misters Bohnett and Gregory jokingly referred to as their "country house," a jokey-joke that undoubtedly chafed and fell flat like a white girl's ass with their less financially fortunate friends.

Since 2004 and until last week when they sold it for (we hear) $23,000,000, the well-heeled man-couple's other home in Los Angeles–their "city house"–has been a sprawling, recently rebuilt, and gorgeous white-brick Georgian conveniently less than three-quarters of a mile away from their former "country house." The large but seemingly well-scaled multi-winged mansion fingers out over a rare double-wide lot in Bev Hills that's just across the street from a mansion once owned by comedienne Lucille Ball. As the story goes Miz Ball went to have a look-see at the large Bev Hills Georgian in 1955, deemed ittoo large and, while on the front porch when leaving, espied the house across the street that she and Ricky Ricardo eventually bought for $85,000. The house has since been remodeled beyond recognition.

The Los Angeles County Tax Man indicates the Bohnett-Gregory mansion includes 5 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms in 9,068 square feet. The estate also includes a large rear motor court, swimming pool, tennis court with pavilion and guest house all set into a simple but manicured landscape program of flat lawns, brick terraces and walk ways and mature shade trees.

The $23,000,0000 deal went down off-market but, we hear from a source deep inside the Beverly Hills real estate world, the property was shopped off market by a very successful Bev Hills agent-lady well acquainted with plum pocket listings, high profile clients and 8-figure deals.

The buyer, Your Mama hears from two different sources is not a high-profile Hollywood person but rather a Beverly Hills-based 3-D technology tycoon and his entertainment executive wife who together have five children.

Nearby property owners to Mister Bohnett and Mister Gregory's former crib include Peter Falk, Bruce Willis and the dee-voon coo-chee-coo-er Charo. A few doors up the block is a re-habbed Wallace Neff-designed Spanish-style residence previously owned by Madonna who bought it from Oscar-winning actor, architectural nut and high-end house flipper Diane Keaton. The proeperty is now owned by a Beverly Hills real estate magnate named David P. Margulies who bought the property in late 2007 for $15,680,000 and who, it turns out, just made a big Bev Hills residential real estate purchase of his own.

In early 2008 Hilton Hotels CEO Christopher Nassetta paid a blistering $27,500,000 for a 9 bedroom and 13 bathroom Paul Williams-designed mansion on Bellagio Drive in Bel Air owned from 1977 to 2005 Georgia Frontiere, the late owner of the St. Louis Rams, formerly of Los Angeles. Shortly after settling into Beverly Hills, Hilton Hotels relocated it's corporate headquarters from Beverly Hills to Washington, D.C. and Mister Nassetta, who also relocated to D.C., flipped the property back on the market an asking price of $29,500,000. It didn't take long to sell–it sold in early 2010–but it was sold at a precipitously steep discout to a financial fat cat named Steven Mayer for $18,000,000. That, children, is a heart-stopping $9,500,000 loss for Mister Nassetta who, Your Mama imagines, expensed that loss of a small fortune to his employer who demanded the relocation.

Your Mama isn't sure what intent Mister Mayer and his wife had for the old Georgia Frontierre estate but we do know, thanks to an informant we'll call Sherlock Holmbyhills, that almost exactly one year later the Mayers flipped the 15,727 square foot mansion in January 2011, according to property records, for $19,150,000. The buyer: David P. Margulies. Poperty records show Mister Margulies continues to own the former Keaton/Madonna mansion and it is not, as best as we can tell, currently on the open market.

Property records show that Misters Bohnett and Gregory also maintain a condo on chi-chi Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, a New York City pied-a-terre at the Sherry Netherland building on Fifth Avenue–a building you have to be rich to even look at–and, natch, a gigantic house in the Hamptons located on the Lake Agawam side of 1st Neck Lane which records show they snatched up in September of 2005 for $12,000,000. Given the recent paring of their plump real estate portfolio Your Mama would not be the least bit surprised if these gents opt to sell off–or have already sold off–one or more of their cross-country pied a terres.

photo: Bing


Miz Bettye Kins said...

Their Roxbury Drive house is across the street from the bastardized bones of what was once Lucille Ball's beautiful home. The Paul Williams original classic was completely stripped down and tarted up to resemble nothing like what it was. I hope Lucy's ghost has been haunting the people who destroyed her house.

Anonymous said...

Yes this is Definitely the Read D House! Pictures at Real D 3D of the house have been circulating around the office per my contacts at this firm. Mama you surely know everything! Love Mamma!

Anonymous said...

Stone purchased this home from "ER" star Alex Kingston.

Anonymous said...

"flat like a white girl's ass"

Mama - you're just too funny.

Anonymous said...

Miz Bettye Kins is so right. Lucille Ball's home was RUINED with an clumsy, cheap-looking and poorly scaled reskinning - went from a pleasant colonial to a horrid stucco oddity. LaQuinta motels look better than this bastardization. Jack Benny's former home, next to the Ball/Arnaz residence, is still pretty, thank goodness. Seems like everyone in the early Hollywood/early TV era lived on Roxbury at some point.

Anonymous said...

Oh, my...a Mama update on my own Dr. Cooter's all-time favorite house. Partner Man adores this house. I must say though that it is so much more appealing at street level, and lit up at night. Now that I see the back of it, I am not as enamored with it. But, the double-wide (pardon the expression) BH lot makes the house so linear (you almost do not notice the second level when viewing at street level since it is so linear), yet so homey with the painted white brick, etc,... It's a great walking nieghborhood. Our own mini-doxie loves to trot the sidewalks and water every palm tree available. Truly a wonderful home in a wonderful area. Cheers to the new owners!

P.S. Some of you may have seen Tom Gregory shopping for a place on HGTV's "Selling NY" awhile back.

Ricky Roxbury

Anonymous said...

Superb write up, Mama.

Their inside jokey-joke most assuredly fell flat.

Lady J

Anonymous said...

I remember that dude from Selling New York. He looked like a crazy, homeless man. He is the trophy boyfriend of a billionaire? Does not compute.

Anonymous said...

Trivia: Tom Gregory is the guy who won the top bid for the shirt (prop) at an LA-area fundraiser that was the shirt that Jack/Jake left behind in his room that Ennis/Heath went and wept into at end of Brokeback Mountain. Hopefully, that shirt is being well-cared for as the boys depart Holmby Hills and Beverly Hills and safely move it to a new home.

Can you believe my word verfication is "mating"?!

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James said...

"Flat like a white girl's ass". LOL. White girl's are constantly being reminded that they have ironingboards for backsides. (I'm white and I love black, latino and asian women, btw.)