Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Real Estate Rundown: John Brooks

Settle down children and other butter beans, Your Mama already knows only about six of y'all probably know who Jon Brooks is. He is not, to be sure, a Show Business celebrity or even an entertainment industry executive. Rather he own and operates a lucrative hedge fund and, as potentially budding real estate baller of the low-key variety, is a pretty darn good example of how some rich people make a rabid habit of filling their property portfolios with multiple multi-million dollar residential properties purchased as investments and for personal use.

Before we get started we'd like to give a shout out to Yolanda Yakketyak. It was she, after all, who some weeks ago by way of a covert communique not only first brought Your Mama's property attentions to Mister Brooks and his in flux but expanding collection of multi-million dollar homes in Los Angeles but beotch did all the damn leg work and provided Your Mama with a very thorough dossier of her efforts.

Mister Brooks perhaps first came to the attention of property gossips back in March 2006 when he made a baller move and paid an impressive $22,500,000 for the 11,000-plus square foot Wallace Neff-designed mansion in Beverly Hills house then owned and extensively renovated by long ago divorced Hollywood royals Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt. Previous owners and/or occupants of the property include philanthropic media heiress Wallis Annenberg and Oscar-winning Golden Age actor Frederic March (The Best Years of Our Lives, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde).

Property records and other online resources show the walled and gated mansion was built in 1934 and has nine bedrooms, eight bathrooms. At the time Mister Pitt and Miz Aniston sold the property to Mister Brooks the house was fully equipped with all the usual formal entertaining spaces streamlined to Mister Pitt's exacting specifications, a paneled library, a screening room and an all stainless steel kitchen. Mister Brooks' 2006 acquisition included a separate but adjacent lot at the rear of the property where he's installed a tennis court. It may mortify some and elate others to know that a couple quick tabulations with the well-worn beads of Your Mama's bejeweled abacus shows Mister Brooks combined 2012 tax bill for the two parcels rang up to almost $280,000.

Last June (2012) Mister Brooks pulled a classic real estate baller move and coughed up $7,750,000 to acquire the approximately 8,000-plus square foot house immediately next door to the old Aniston-Pitt-Annenberg-March mansion. He paid, according to online information we dug up, a quarter million bucks more than the $7.5 million asking price. A baller in full bloom would, of course, raze the existing residence and incorporate the property into the other two parcels but Mister Brooks is still a bit of a baby baller and has opted instead to put the six bedroom and seven bathroom residence—described in listing details as a "Gated Paul Williams style traditional"—up for lease at $45,000 per month.

Online marketing materials show the house has an elegant winding staircase, hardwood floors in many rooms and French doors in both the formal living and dining rooms for direct outdoor access. Four of the bedrooms are located up the winding staircase, according to listing information, and a finished, walk-out basement space offers up a media/game room, a gym/massage room and a kitchenette with direct access to the red brick terrace that wraps around a classic, kidney-shaped swimming pool.

According to the Los Angeles Tax Man Mister, 2012 property taxes totaled a bit more than $86,000. Obviously Mister Brooks didn't pay that entire amount as he didn't own the house the entire year but for our purposes it's probably fairly safe to assume his 2013 tax bill with be somewhere in that ballpark.

Like many L.A.-based people with significant incomes and/or fortunes, Mister Brooks maintains an ocean front residence in Malibu that property records show was scooped up in February 2005 for $9,860,000. About a year ago, we first learned for Yolanda, the property popped up on the market with an asking price of $17,500,000. The property was de-listed last year and re-listed this year with a substantially lower $14,995,000 price.

The irregular-shaped lot tucks into a treed promontory just below the massive estate Howard Marks that recently sold to a still-anonymous buyer for $75 million. Online marketing materials show the otherwise dramatically situated property encompasses .89 acres with sweeping views up and down the coastline and direct, shared access to what appears to be a rocky stretch of an all but private beach.

The 1970s era villa of indistinguishable architectural vernacular measures in at a fairly modest 2,810 square feet of earth tones decorated spaces on two floors connected by a custom crafted all-wood corkscrew staircase. There appear to be faux-rustic wood floors under foot and lots of carved wood or pressed tin ceiling details over head. We counted a couple of fireplaces with carved stone mantelpieces and numerous French doors that exit to various balconies, patios and terraces that surround the house. I

Each of the four bedrooms, according to listing information, has a private balcony and ocean views and there are a total of either four or 4.5 bathrooms.* Listing photos show a wind sheltered courtyard with outdoor fireplace and built-in outdoor kitchen/barbecue station. There's a built-in fire pit nested into the rocky slope just above the beach and listing details say the "PH balanced pool" that sits above a freshwater creek that runs down to the oceans is surrounded by ipe decking and is equipped with a fancy pants underwater sound system.

Public records show the 2012 tax bill for his Malibu getaway rang up to nearly $125,000.

Mister Brooks added to his property portfolio last October (2012 when he paid exactly six million clams for a completely undistinguished six bedroom and four bathroom mini-mansion just below Sunset Boulevard in the affluent Flats of Beverly Hills. Of course, Your Mama don't know nuthin' about nuthin' but as far as we can tell the deal went down off-market and we don't have an inkling of Mister Brooks' plans for the property.

The L.A. County Tax Man shows the sellers benefited from a pre-Prop 13 property tax rate that came to just $5,479.37 in 2012. However, unless later re-assessed at a lower value, property taxes in CA are based directly on the last purchase price of the property and, based on normal property tax rates in southern California, Your Mama would expect Mister Brooks' tax bill for 2013 will easily top $60,000.**

Mister Brooks most recent residential real estate acquisition (that we know about) came in February (2013) when he shelled out $17,500,000 for a Holmby Hills estate of nearly two acres sold by super-producer Bud Yorkin and his actress wife Cynthia Sikes.*** Next door is the English County Tudor pile that Kelsey Grammer and his third ex-wife Camille still co-own and can't seem to sell no matter what price they put on it—it seems to be off the open market at the moment—and across the street is the long-time compound of Connie Stevens, currently on the open market for $17,999,000.

One might have imagined that Mister Brooks bought such a substantial property in such a hoity-toity neighborhood in order to occupy it himself but he's opted instead to put the somewhat historic estate up for lease at $99,000 per month.

The house was built in the late 1930s and—so the story goes—was owned by gangster Bugsy Seigel who housed his wife and kids here but never properly lived there himself. It should not be mistaken with his mistress's house where he was shot dead. We've read that make-up mogul Max Factor once owned spread but we don't now anything about that. We're not exactly sure when they bought it or for how much they paid but we do know Mister and Missus Yorkin owned the estate since at least the mid-1990s.

The Yorkins first heaved the estate on the open market in early 2010 with a skin-chapping $49,500,000 price tag. After almost a year on the market the price plummeted in one melodramatic tumble to $29,500,000. It took another two years before Mister and Missus Yorkin had an honest to goodness real estate come to Jesus moment and accepted a final sale price that represents a 70% markdown from their original, sky high asking price.

Listing details from the time of the sale show the walled and gated two-story traditional mansion measures 10,528 square feet with five bedrooms and 7.5 bathrooms. Guests are impressed in the double-height foyer with its wood inlaid marble floor and curvaceous staircase. In addition to the ballroom-sized 60 foot long formal living room the mansion include a spacious formal dining room, a dark-paneled library, a roomy eat-in kitchen and a 35mm screening room. The expansive master suite was designed with dual closets and bathrooms plus a separate fitness suite with steam shower.

Deep terraces connect to rolling lawns that hill and dale down to a nearly hidden lighted tennis court with viewing pavilion, a gazebo set amid a flourishing formal garden, and a swimming pool area with half-moon shaped spa, an outdoor kitchen/barbecue set-up, and plenty of room for sunbathing and dangerous poolside horseplay.

A quick spin through various property record data bases reveals the 2012 property taxes came to a healthy $87,534.60 but, again, since California property taxes are tied directly to the most recent purchase price it would not surprise Your Mama in the least if the property taxes for the Siegel/Yorkin/Factor cm Brooks estate exceeded $175,000 in 2013. Of course, we don't know shit from shinola so we'd be very careful quoting that number like it actually means something.

Maybe we shouldn't have but Your Mama employed a digital abacus to tabulate the total amount of estimated—and likely not anywhere near accurate—property tax bill Mister Brooks might face for the above discussed properties in 2013. A conservative calculation brings the sum to a pocketbook brutalizing $726,000.

That amount, children, would take a California minimum wage worker more than 2,269 forty hour work weeks to earn.**** That's a huge number by any standard but a financial liability easily wiped by the $1,728,000 rent roll that will pour into his coffers if Mister Brooks and his team of real estates succeed at installing asking price rental tenants into the two mansions he currently has up for lease.

We don't know if Mister Brooks property portfolio includes any vacation homes in any high-priced luxury resort areas like, say, Lake Tahoe, Aspen or the Hamptons, but a cursory search turns up evidence in property records that in September 2010 he purchased a New York City pied a terre.

In a move that doesn't even really qualify for baby real estate baller states, records show Mister Brooks paid $255,000 for a 1/12 fractional ownership of what listing details from the time of the sale called the Empire Suite, a 1,445 square foot space at the St. Regis Residence Club in Midtown Manhattan with two bedrooms, three bathrooms and a nearly non-existent kitchenette located—for all intents and purposes—in the foyer. Meh. We really have zero idea if he does or not or if he even thinks in such terms if Mister Brooks wants to achieve actual real estate baller status he better dump this timeshare crap and snatch up a more permanent pied a terre in a posh full-service building on or around Park or Fifth Avenue. Just a suggestion

*As noted in marketing materials the L.A. County Tax Man shows the house has two bedrooms and three bathrooms. Make of those discrepancies what you will.

**This figure is, of course, a complete estimation based on a taxable rate of 1% fo the sale price of the property. In most cases in California the rate is actually a bit higher depending on what additional tax sliver the city may levy on the property.

***Most media reports of the transaction say the sale price was $19.5 million but at least two property record databases show the sale price at $17.5 million.

****Our rudimentary and wholly unscientific calculations show it would take said California minimum wage worker who earns $8.00 per hour about 44 years to earn $726,000. That's 40 hours a week for 44 years uninterrupted by a vacation or any other otherwise unpaid absences.

listing photos (Beverly Hills): Hilton & Hyland
listing photos (Malibu): Hilton & Hyland
listing photos (Holmby Hills): Westside Estate Agency
floor plan (New York): Corcoran via Street Easy


Anonymous said...

Mama you are extra-sassy today! I lurve it!

West Bourne said...

Many hedge funds are investing in individual single family residences as the return on investment is lucrative between rental income and write-offs. They are also confident that prices will rise and they will be able to sell at a capital profit as well. I read of one fund that is bidding on 200 houses per day - and they are paying all cash. They have armies of abacus wielding people to figure out the best properties for maximum return.

I have no idea if Mr. Brooks' fund is among those making these types of investments. However, considering only the two properties he has for rent, he will see a gross return of ~7% if he paid all cash which will factor up or down after expenses and tax write-offs are figured for his particular situation. Given that T-Bills offer a far less return, these properties aren't a bad option for a well rounded personal investment portfolio.

Anonymous said...

For the record, the former Aniston-Pitt house already had the tennis court on the adjacent lot when they owned it (I remember it distinctly because they had a kinda blacklit pathway/staircase leading down to it that looked very cool when photographed at night onthe property's website when it was for sale...

Petra's said...

Seems to have a taste for expensive but mundane homes. Not one of them interests me (except maybe the former Pitt-Aniston, I don't remember what it's like).

Anonymous said...

"Settle down children and other butter beans, Your Mama already knows only about six of y'all probably know who ..."

i think many of your readers are interested to hear what Hedge Fund Managers are doing with our money Mama :)

and let's not forget they are type of people helping to majorly drive up the price of real estate in places like NYC and other watering h0les

Anonymous said...

Is his main residence the Fredric March house?

You can see some older photos of that house here:

I cannot quite decide what style this is.

Some say it is Tudor, some French Normandy. Does anybody know?

Anonymous said...

The houses 10 (!; Man, is it that long since Brad and Jennifer lived here?! Whoa...) years ago:

Somebody re-did the roof on that Paul Williams house.

lil' gay boy said...

Overall, a rather beige portfolio -- so the timeshare comes as no surprise...

Anonymous said...

Even the March residence, Lil’?

Anonymous said...

The Holmby Hills estate is gorgeous but seriously needs an appointment with a good decorator to update the place. Looks stuck in the 80s.

Anonymous said...

And one wonders what is that contemporary piece of sculpture doing in the backyard.

Sabdpiper said...

Upon reading this multi-property post, I froze, admitted to myself and others that I had problem, and contacted Mama’s Flummoxed Children Hotline. She summoned an emergency intervention by ace team LGB, Snowman, Bentley, and shockingly Mama herself. I was then unanimously certified as within range on her Childrens Anti-Cognitive Index. The good Dr. Cooter entered from behind a two-way mirror, Rx’ed to quickly knock down a strong pitcher of G&Ts, and slam out any comment that comes to mind.

Where are my car keys? Where’s my car?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Mrs. Shanna Brooks is one of the trophy wives aka "ladies who lunch" set in Beverly Hills. Used to serve her often when I worked at Il Pastaio.

Anonymous said...

What is she like?

Anonymous said...

Mama I swear I've seen the interior of the Malibu house in a shelter mag a couple years ago. Veranda, maybe?

Rosco Mare said...

@ Anon 5/9 2:47

Thanks for the link. Great photos of March house.

Thanks for covering the BH (B. March) and HH (B. Siegel) estates, Mama Dearest. They are beautiful, classic movie star quality houses. I'm going to slowly re-read this post over the weekend when I can really enjoy reading about all of the Brooks properties, including the strangely configured NY apartment.

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Anonymous said...

was on the neff property just about a yr ago and they had major israeli-style special forces types lurking about.
had a good long chat with the landscape designer
about how they incorporated the rear property which makes for a stunning vista looking down towards angelo.
reading this reminds of the contrast back when you had brad and jen living nxt door to danny and rhea...

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Michelle said...

Love those multi million dollar properties. Especially the older ones. The estates are gorgeous and they have generations of history.

Michelle said...

What lovely homes. Just stunning.