Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Billionaire David Murdock Lists Bel Air Spread

SELLER: David Murdock
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $30,000,000
SIZE: 12,435 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 8.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Its seems to Your Mama that self-made nonagenarian billionaire David Murdock has a strong itch to shrink his property portfolio of personal residences and, in the service of such, listed his 1.5 acre estate in Los Angeles's Bel Air area with an elephantine but hardly rare anymore price of $30,000,000.

The high-school drop out, former gas station attendant, and traveling salesman managed through perseverance and what must have been an extraordinary force of will to turn himself into an international powerhouse businessman with extensive interests in the mining, petroleum, healthcare, and real estate industries. In the mid-1980s he took the reins at the real estate concern Castle & Cooke, a Hawaii-based operation that owned a considerable chuck of the pineapple and banana growing behemoth Dole Foods. He moved the company headquarters to suburban Los Angeles and, in the early 2000s, acquired the sprawling conglomerate, an epic deal that gave him 98% controlling interest in the Hawaiian Island of Lana'i.

In May of 2012, the healthy living billionaire sold a pair of adjacent Bel Air lots on pedigreed North Perugia Way to London-based international property developer Allessandro Crivelli of EST4TE FOUR who is currently building what real estate yenta Yolanda Yakketyyak hissed to Your Mama as "a massive, uber-modern spec beast." The company's website describes the planned residence, nestled into a hillside with views over the Bel-Air Country Club, as a "12,00 square foot dual-aspect villa...with cantilevered external terraces and an infinity pool enjoying the most impressive aspect of the site."

Also in May of 2012, Mister Murdock unloaded a 2,070 square foot New York City pied-a-terre for $4.8 million. Listing details Your Mama dug up on the internets shows the 19th floor of a full-service (but not particularly notable) luxury building on East 85th Street, one block off Fifth Avenue, has three bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, two balconies, and both city and Central Park views.

Last summer (2012), amid much hooting and hollering in the business press and property gossip columns, Mister Murdock sold his 98% interest in the island of Lana'i to high-tech bajillionaire and real estate baller extraordinaire Larry Ellison for somewhere around $300,000,000.*

In May of this year (2013), Mister Murdock re-listed an undeveloped 2.4 acre, two-parcel residential estate property—on Bellagio Road directly across the street from the almost ludicrously high-brow Bel-Air Country Club—with a $20 million asking price. Digital evidence Your Mama turned up shows Mister Murdock has had the undeveloped parcels on and off the market since at least early 2007.

But let's get back to the brick built mansion in Bel Air that Mister Murdock recently heaved on the open market for $30 million and is described in digital marketing materials as an "American Colonial Revival" built in 1927 and designed by esteemed architect Gordon B. Kaufmann, the same fella who designed the Los Angeles Times building, Hoover Dam, and the epic Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills. Frankly in Your Mama's humble and entirely meaningless opinion—and despite the prime lower Bel Air location—this turreted and obviously substantial abode does not rank amongst Mister Kaufmann's more scintillating endeavors but that's, perhaps, a catty alley we'll leave for the the children to drive down and debate about.

Property records (and reports from the time) show Mister Murdock purchased the property in early 2001 for exactly $10,000,000 from Italian fashion designer and lifestyle mogul Mossimo Giannulli and actress Lori Loughlin who had the house done up by nice-gay decorator Michael Smith and photographed for Elle Decor in 2000. Mister Murdock's acquisition of Giannulli/Loughlin house came shortly after he sold the near mythic Casa Encantada estate in Bel Air to telecom tycoon Gary Winnick in a complicated cash and property swap worth a mind jellying $94 million. Some of the children may recall that earlier this year Your Mama heard from plugged in informant Shanahnduh Rotahnda might be available for a ear drum busting $225 million to the right trophy property shopping buyer who knows the right real estate people to contact. But that's just rumor and gossip, kids. Anyways...

The estate occupies 1.6 gated and manicured acres above the exclusive Bel-Air Country Club. The Los Angeles County Tax Man shows the house has 7 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms in 9,657 square feet while current listing details show it encompasses 12,435 square feet with six bedrooms and 8.5 bathrooms. Your Mama doesn't know why all the discrepancies but it may (or may not) have to do with the estate's various outbuildings that include a separate guest house, a pool house, detached garage, and what listing description calls a "tropical greenhouse."

Current online listings are stingy with interior photos. There are exactly none available on publicly accessible listing sites. However, someone Your Mama knows who's been in the house says that, although elegantly proportioned, the day-core veers towards frowsy and "frumpy" with a lot things hauled over from the much, much larger Casa Encantada.

Listing details do, however, give a few tantalizing specifics about the interior spaces that include a "freestanding staircase," a gallery with 14 foot ceilings and "softly lit arched ceilings," and "exquisite parquet and walnut plank floors." In addition to the formal living, dining, and powder rooms, public and semi-public reception and entertaining spaces include an office, a sun room that opens onto a grassy terrace that overlooks the swimming pool and, attached to the formal dining room, a "gentleman's bar." A gentleman's bar? Your Mama wonders, of course, where all the booze imbibing females are meant to partake of the ever-so-delicious devil's water? Hello? Less formal family spaces include a kitchen and breakfast room with adjoining family room.

We're not sure exactly how many bedrooms there are in the main house but we can determine from listing descriptions that there are "maid's quarters" of unspecified size and location and, upstairs, in addition to a second office and a fitness room there are two guest/family suites with private sitting rooms as well as a master suite with dual dressing rooms and bathrooms.

Brick pathways meander along the rolling lawns and mature landscaping and an unexpected and unusually roomy second floor roof terrace at the rear of the residence has a chunky, free-standing outdoor fireplace and over the tree tops views of Beverly Hills and Century City. A second, semi-circular terrace that extends off the second floor at the southern side of the house also has—we imagine—lovely city views and creates a columned portico off the main floor.

Given that he's got a net worth estimated to be somewhere close to $2.5 billion Mister Murdock can afford live where and however he wants and Your Mama has no idea at all where Mister Murdock intends to live when his big ol' house in Bel Air is sold off to someone who will, undoubtedly, alter it substantially or knock it down entirely because that's how the world's super rich roll nowadays. A quick, unscientific, and most assuredly incomplete perusal of property records indicates the elderly but still vigorous Mister Murdock owns a handful of homes in the L.A. that seem way too modest for a man of his means and he does own a larger (and luxurious) but much less lavish 4.25-ish acre spread in Bev Hills' Stone Canyon. A more likely a locale to spend his sunset years might might be—we speculate on exactly zero inside intelligence—his 2,000 acre Arabian horse ranch, organic lavender farm, and residential estate near Thousand Oaks—Ventura Farms—that he picked up way back in the late 1970s.

*Early reports of the island sale suggested the deal went down for $500-600,00,000 but more recent reported use the $300 million figure.

listing photos: Hilton & Hyland


Anonymous said...

It's ugly. Knock it down.

lil' gay boy said...

Agreed; an incoherent hot mess -- it appears that little of the original building's fabric (from exterior & aerial photos) remains.

An obvious teardown.

Anonymous said...

The house that also George Getty II owned had a pill overdose and died in 1973

Town Girl said...

NEW BOOK! BEVERLY PARK oodles. I am sooo happy to field questions about Casa Encantada and everything Beverly Park real estate (and shocking history!). I’m a towny. My tell releases next week titled “Everything Beverly Park”. Autographed copies available if you ask pretty please. It’s just everywhere online. Orders by 12/22 overnighted. I’m so excited.

It begins with Brian Adler buying the land in 1990 to the present day. It’s full of chatty little antidotes about fires started accidentally, $200,000 Bentleys driven off cliffs, toilet-papering backyards, and all this juiciness going on with three guard gates and top notch security private police patrolling the premises at all hours. Can you imagine? I got so carried away that I even talk about what kind of internet service is available. Isn’t that adorable.

I’m taking questions here for a couple of hours. Hugs.

Anonymous said...

Town Girl send me a link to where I can buy the book.

Questions I have
1) Who owns the house that has been under construction for 12 years.
2) Whats going on with Barry Bonds house?
3) I heard the new owners of the Maloof house are undergoing a major renovation is this true?
4) Whats going on at 76 Beverly Park? Heard some rich Saudi's bought it and are spending millionnnnss

Anonymous said...

How do I make it past the guard station for. A quick look see?

Drive a truck with a lawn mower in back?

Anonymous said...

The house is actually at 10778 Chalon Rd.

Town Girl said...

So many astute questions!

You must be on a registered guest list. Picture ID is a required formality.

Town Girl will continue question responses.

One moment please.

Anonymous said...

Here is a little insight as to how most dirt ass broke people like him end up super rich, they were criminals who laundered/converted their money into legal businesses. I am not saying he is, I am just saying a lot of them did. They always have some similar BS story too about how they came to this country with $5 in their pockets or they had a loan for only $500 or some crap like that. People love those stories though and totally buy them and eat them up.

Town Girl said...

@ 6:24
Your questions are beyond my contract strangleholds, or so my lawyer keeps saying even though they're cuties. I'd love to spill the juicy bits right now. So delicious and I got it all here from a posters.

Anonymous said...

Tell us something juicy you old coot. Who's playing patty cake with the neighbors wife? Does Madame maloof's tinsel haired ghost still haunt the premises? Is it true that sly Stallone goes nude jogging on Mondays and Thursdays?

Town Girl said...

I will show you how it works in my tell all, “Everything Beverly Park”. Come to my Beverly Hills signing on Saturday,am. We'll find a nearby coffee shop. Maybe we'll bump into B. Bonds. You like?

Anonymous said...

Hey Town Girl, why don't you just buy a fucking ad to promote your book rather than sell it though the comments section on the back of Mama's hard work?

Carla Ridge said...

I've always wondered what goes on behind those gates. Are the stories true, Town Girl? I admire you're inside knowledge. If I buy your book can we meet for lunch, my treat? Then maybe a quiet drive through? I won't tell.

Town Girl said...

Please stop by a weekend LA signing. We'll see how it feels. I will rely on my spiritual adviser. She's sensing animosity surrounding you and seeks to detach you from negative karma. Let us proceed cautiously for the moment.

doug-g said...

"former gas station attendant"

I was wondering what happened to these guys once most of the country went self-serve.

The house? Let me change hats:

One of the ugliest houses
i ever saw.
This damned brick pile
just screams "OMAHA"!

He wants 30 million,
what hole is it on?
Them damned rich golfers
better stay OFF MY LAWN!

Petra's said...

Does anyone have a link to that commercial with him washing imaginary dishes? Having trouble finding it and need a good laugh!

Anonymous said...

^ Ummm... that's not me. If you're going to steal my username, at least post something mildly amusing or snarky. Dishes? Really?


Anonymous said...

With modest pride, the Rabbi announces the imminent release of her new book:

101 Feng Shui Wrongs Made Right

Coming soon to your Hadassah gift shop!

Rabbi Hedda LaCasa

lil' gay boy said...

Oooo, Rebbe! I'll take a dozen! Sounds like a great stocking stuffer...

Everything Beverly Park? No so much.

Keep your eyes open for my new tome, The Care & Feeding of Trolls...

Anonymous said...

"starting with Brian Adler buying the land in the 90s"
Um, girl, that ain't how it goes..

Anonymous said...

Mr Murdoch is a class act, and his late wife Gabrielle was also. This was probably the guest house for Encantada.

Sandpiper said...

I don't see the appeal. Perhaps began as some combination of monochromatic brick and stucco. Dunno. The lonely door and sparse windows seem to align with a few other still remaining structures of that era, including the staircase tower.

Right, Mama, the interior's a mystery so it must be dynamite for $30m (along with land value). He designed this -- and -- the Hoover Dam? Talk about radical skill sets.

This troll is derailing a nice site with a dozen or more comments per post for a damned year or more. Glad the freak doesn't live next door -- or have a gun. Go away. Two commenters now remain, plus the many voice (with pseudonyms/anons)inside one of their heads. Rock on.

Sandpiper said...

One is the troll, incl AKAs. The other is definitely not a troll nor has he ever been one. Not in his dna.

Anonymous said...

Here is my bet!
I have decorated some houses by Gordon Kaufmann (there is a real beauty up here near Montecito)!!!

I'll just bet that that house was originally painted brick!

All these idiots in Los Angeles and environs have sandblasted painted brick houses! DREADFUL!! Kaufmann did classic houses and that yucky whitewashed brick just no way!

A gorgeous Wallace Neff house in Pasadena suffered the same ignominious fate! Sandblasting the brick ruins the proportions.....another gorgeous one in South Pasadena.....oh....MAKE THEM STOP!


Anonymous said...

It also has been substantially , and poorly, "added on to and 'remuddeled'!!!

Kaufmann is rolling in his grave over all those misplaced chimneys! Good Lordy!!


Anonymous said...

Penelope -
Thanks for your explanation, I couldn't figure out what had happened to this house because the brick looked so off.

Sandpiper said...

I like penelopebianchi's hunch about the brick having once been painted.

But I kept wondering why this brick looks so erroded as well. Combined with the fascination that at one time it could have served as a substrate for stucco, I landed here:

It says:

When stuccoing over a stone or brick substrate, it was customary to cut back or rake out the mortar joints if they were not already recessed by natural weathering or erosion, and sometimes the bricks themselves were gouged to provide a key for the stucco.

A stucco coating over a less finished and less costly substrate such as rubblestone, fieldstone, brick, log or wood frame, gave the building the appearance of being a more expensive and important structure.

Not to get even more far fetched, but Neff's designs of this era echoed Kaufmann's or vis versa. OMG -- further firing up my neurons. One similar design example. As for this stucco's substrate, who knows.

Now it's time for me to get real and try to find a parking spot at the mall.

Rosco Mare said...

This estate was also the home of actor Brian Keith.

Anonymous said...

Hello from Ewing & Associates Sotheby's International Realty. Those interested are welcome to call the Listing Brokers, Nicki and Karen, for additional information and feel free to view the listing video at, click on Listings, and then select the 10778 Chalon video for your viewing pleasure!