SELLER: Gary Wilson
BUYER: Nicolas Berggruen
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
SIZE: (approx.) 20,000 square feet with 11 bedrooms
YOUR MAMA’S NOTES: Two tattletales, including always impeccably in-the-know Platinum Triangle real estate mover and shaker Tina Tynee, snitched that billionaire investor and big-time philanthropist Nicolas Berggruen shelled out $40.8 million for the legendary former estate of Hollywood socialite Edie Goetz, daughter of movie mogul Louis B. Mayer, and producer William “Bill” Goetz, one of the founders of Twentieth Century Pictures.
Tucked behind imposing gates on an elegantly arcadian 2.16-acre parcel in a super-prime section of L.A.’s spectacularly tony Holmby Hills ‘hood, the stately Georgian Revival mansion was designed for the well-heeled and art savvy Goetzes in the 1930s by Gordon B. Kaufmann, the architect responsible for the paradigmatic Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills. The interior spaces, later revamped for the Goetzes by decorator-to-the-stars Billy Haines, showcased the couple’s world-class collection of blue chip artworks. Celebrated for their glittery, star-studded dinner parties the Goetze’s frequently hosted a who’s who of Hollywood and a short list of the entertainment industry luminaries who came to dine, drink and dish included Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Billy Wilder and Frank Sinatra, whose wedding reception was hosted on the Goetz estate when he married Mia Farrow in 1966.
Bill Goetz died in 1969 but it wasn’t until shortly after Edie Goetz passed in 1988 that the estate was sold, in 1990, for $7.4 million to Gary L. Wilson, ex-Disney CFO and former chairman of Northwest Airlines. Mister Wilson later acquired the 2.23-acre property next door and merged the two into an epic compound of 4.39 acres that, in addition to the main residence, encompassed three guesthouses, two greenhouses, two swimming pools, a tennis court and a funicular that links the upper and lower levels of the vast and lavishly manicured gardens. Mister Wilson listed the compound amid much publicity and fanfare in the fall of 2016 with an asking price of $79 million but shortly after the first of the year the listing was split. The original Goetz estate, which includes the main house and one guesthouse, was listed at $45 million and the adjoining parcel, which was not acquired by Mister Berggruen and encompasses two houses, a second swimming pool and a tennis court, remains available at $37 million.
According to reports from when the property first came for sale, the baronial mansion measures in at more than 20,000-square-feet with eleven bedrooms. Grandly proportioned public rooms include a center hall entry with curved floating staircase, comfortably spacious formal living and dining rooms, an oak-paneled Art Deco-style den/library, and a breakfast room with classically aristocratic black and white checkerboard marble floor. The backside of the residence opens to a broad terrace that overlooks an immense sweep of lawn that makes a gentle slope down to a circular swimming pool, spa and poolside guesthouse. The estate’s gardens and grounds provide have an “arboretum-like feel” per marketing materials with a uniquely varied assortment of specimen trees that include dwarf palms, Arizona cypresses and Japanese maples.
Once upon a time, Mister Berggruen, who presides over a fortune of more than $1.8 billion according to the bean counters at Forbes, was referred to in the press as “the homeless billionaire” because he lived in hotels didn’t own or maintain a permanent residence. However, according to well-informed informant Harvey Wallbanger, since 2012 Mister Berggruen has shelled out more than $17 million to acquire at least half of a dozen units at the renowned Sierra Towers building on the border between West Hollywood and Beverly Hills that he’s combined into several sprawling although not contiguous units with panoramic mountain and city views.