SELLER: Bruce Makowsky
LOCATION: Beverly Hills (Post Office), CA
SIZE: 12,500 square feet, 8 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms
YOUR MAMA’S NOTES: Married ladies accessories tycoons Bruce Makowsky and Kathy Van Zeeland — they’ve earned a considerable fortune peddling boat loads of mid-priced handbags and shoes on QVC — shack up in a showy, 30,000-square-foot faux-Tuscan pile on more than two gated and fastidiously landscaped acres in the internationally renowned Beverly Park enclave in Beverly Hills, CA, for which they paid $23.5 million in late 2010.
The seller of the Makowsky-Van Zeeland’s Beverly Park estate was letter turner Vanna White’s ex-husband George Santo Pietro who (briefly) leased the 9-bedroom and 15 bathroom mega-manse to both Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs and to His Purple Highness Himself, Prince, for — so the scuttlebutt went — somewhere in the neighborhood of $200,000 per month. Mister Santa Pietro, incidentally, continues to own another, albeit significantly smaller 15,000-ish-square-foot Beverly Park manse that (briefly) popped up for sale last year as an off-market listing with an undisclosed asking price but let’s not digress before we even get started…
As far as this property gossip knows, Prince and Puff Daddy’s former rental was the first mansion the handbag hawkers bought in Beverly Park but it is not the only Beverly Park estate they’ve previously owned or even the only one they currently own. In December 2011 the Makowsky-Van Zeelands shelled out $13.45 million for an architecturally eclectic Beverly Park villa with eight bedrooms and ten bathrooms that they soon put up for lease at $100,000 per month. Your Mama has repeatedly been told by the sorts of people we know who know these things that despite the exorbitant rent, the 1.21-acre estate was rented to Lola Karimova-Tillaeva — the pampered daughter of autocratic Uzbeki president Islam Karimov — and later to professional footballer turned morning chat show host Michael Strahan and his fiancée of five years, model and celebrity ex-wife Nicole Murphy.* The approximately 12,500 square foot, Richard Landry-designed pile — it’s all quoins, stone pillars and archways on the exterior — has come up for sale with an aggressive $25 million price tag.
If the $25 million asking price seems a bit optimistic, think again. In June 2012 the Makowsky-Van Zeelands paid comedian Martin Lawrence $17.2 million for a lavish and luxurious if painfully ordinary, 16,178-square-foot Beverly Park mansion — listing details from the time generously describe the residence as a “French Contemporary” — that they quickly put up for sale for $26.5 million and sold in June 2013 for $24 million to — so our sources suggest — a wealthy Hungarian family.
Those who follow the intricacies of the Platinum Triangle Real Estate game know well that Mister Makowsky does not limit his money-minting mansion flipping just to Beverly Park but also buys and sells high-priced pads in other swanky SoCal locales. In April 2012, just before he acquired Mister Lawrence’s “French Contemporary,” Mister Makowsky paid $11.75 million for a 10,575 square foot faux-Tuscan villa in the guard-gated Beverly Ridge Terrace enclave where other homeowners include Tyler Perry. As is his M.O., Mister Makowsky put the 6-bedroom and six full and two half bathroom property up for lease at $85,000 per month. Shortly thereafter it came up for sale at $19.5 million and sold, as per property records, in March of this year (2014) for $16.75 million to publisher/businessman Eric Weider, the son of late Canadian fitness mogul and Napoleonic history buff Ben Weider.
In the spring of 2013 Mister Makowsky paid $11 million for a 1926 Mediterranean tear down in a particularly plum part of Bel Air where a few of the surrounding estates are owned by action flick filmmaker Michael Bay, financier Steve Mnuchin and French luxury goods tycoon Francois-Henri Pinault and Salma Hayek who bought their 1930s era manse in 2007 for $13.5 million from Kelsey Grammer. Mister Makowsky purchased the Bel Air Road residence from — of all people — Michael Strahan who’d acquired the property less than a year earlier for $7.9 million. The existing house was leveled to make way for a gigantic new house that — knowing Mister Makowsky’s real estate ways — will likely come up for sale at some point in the near future with a sky-high price.
More recently, in February 2013 Mister Makowsky paid $5.3 million for 6,500-square-foot, triple story contemporary high above the Sunset Strip with 270-degree view over L.A. that he gutted, renovated and listed in February 2014 for $25,000,000. Property records show the five bedroom and six bathroom residence sold just three months later for $19 million to a mysterious Netherlands-based corporate entity that one of Your Mama’s better connected informants told us is connected to Swedish family.
And, finally, for the icing on his real estate cake, in August Mister Makowsky paid $12.65 million for a nearly 7,000-square-foot house in the chic, trendy and hideously expensive Trousdale Estates area of the 90210. He razed and replaced with a 22,000-square-foot mansion that Your Mama hears through the gossip grapevine will eventually be listed — or at least shopped off market — with a blistering asking price of $65,000,000. Have mercy, children, Your Mama is so old and we’ve been slinging celebrity-related real estate dirt for so long that we remember when a house listed for twenty-five or $30 million made even the most jaded real estate game players pee with indignation and flabbergast. Those days are clearly long gone, at least in the more rarefied zip codes of Los Angeles where $50+ million is the new $30 million.
Like many Angelenos with big bank accounts Mister Makowsky and Miz Van Zeeland also maintain a home in Malibu, a glassy beach front contemporary in the illustrious, guard gated Colony enclave that they bought out of foreclosure back in August 2010 for $14,950,000.
*Miz Murphy previously owned a 9,200-plus-square-foot house in Calabasas (CA) that she bought when she decamped the Beverly Park mansion she once shared with her ex-husband Eddie Murphy. Da Beebs, who pissed off a lot of his neighbors with his hellion antics, sold the hacienda-style mini-compound a few months ago to reality t.v. staple Khloe Kardashian for $7.2 million. Mister Strahan and Miz Murphy have settled into a newly constructed mansion in Brentwood with nine bedrooms and 11 full and 3 halff bathrooms that they snatched up in December 2013 for $16,000,000 and in case any of the children might be curious, Miz Karimova-Tillaeva is widely rumored to be the $32.75 million buyer of Le Palais, a 48,000-square-foot, mega-mansion shoehorned on to a 1.09-acre lot directly across the street from the currently beleaguered and boycotted Beverly Hills Hotel.