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A Beverly Park Land Deal

SELLER: Robert Bisno
BUYER: Mark Wahlberg
LOCATION: Beverly Park Terrace, Beverly Hills, CA
PRICE: $8,250,000
SIZE: 6+ acres
DESCRIPTION: One of the last lots available!!! In prestigious Beverly Park, this huge lot, just over 6 acres (per owner) with approximately 2 level acres. Plans available for a 30,000 sq. ft. Mediterranean Villa. This is an absolutely incredible opportunity to build your own masterpiece. Easy to show, Fantastic!!!

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Just like many of the financiers and Wall Street wizards on the East Coast, West Coast based real estate developer Robert Bisno has real estate woes. Not only is beleaguered Mister Bisno reviled by many who might be at the mercy of his (alleged) slash and burn development tactics, he’s had a devil of a time trying to sell a couple of properties in the guard gated land of mega-mansions known as Beverly Park where, poor lamb, he didn’t seem to make many friends either.

See puppies, in 2002 a lawsuit was filed against Mister Bisno and the Missus by the North Beverly Park Home Owners Association regarding a sizable sculpture they mounted in the motor court of their massive mansion that some of the other Bev Park residents thought was sexually suggestive–even lewd–and in violation of the community’s strict bylaws about how you can trim trees and silly crap like that. Before the suit was settled in a court of law–the Bisnos lost–there was, according to the Missus Bisno, some alleged harassment by other Bev Parkers and even, bizarrely, a mysterious terlit papering of the Bisno property. Imagine that children, a band of terlit paper tossing marauders slinking around Beverly Park in the middle of the damn night!

Anyhoo, in late November of 2008 and amid a flurry of rumors about financial difficulties, Mister and Missus Bisno heaved their 5+ acre estate on Beverly Park Terrace onto the open market with an asking price of $29,500,000. The asking price for the 16,800 square foot house with 5 bedrooms and 9 poopers has since been chopped to a still knee buckling $22,500,000.

For what it’s worth, public records reveal that the Bisnos borrowed heavily against the property, including as recently as March of 2009. Although it appears to Your Mama’s untrained eye that all of the several loans and mortgages on the property are currently in good standing, the records also show that two Notices of Default were filed on the property, one in 2007 and another 2008. In fact, in February of 2008 the property was scheduled to be auctioned off to the highest bidder but, somehow, Mister Bisno pulled a pecuniary hare out of a hat because he and the Missus continue to own the estate.

Going back to April of 2006, when real estate developers were still living fat on ever escalating property values, Mister and Missus Bisno purchased a 6+ acre vacant lot across the street. It’s unclear what the Bisnos paid for the vacant lot, but based on listing information we’ve seen, we’d say it was somewhere between 8 and 10 million smackers. A fascinating New York Times article from that time reports that Mister and Missus Bisno bought the land in order to build a new, bigger and better Beverly Park Dream House for themselves because, apparently, 17,000 square feet was simply not large enough for a couple of fifty-something year old empty nesters.

But alas, in January of 2008, after never breaking ground on the new lot and having borrowed vast sums of money against it–including an unknown amount of cash from fellow Beverly Park resident George Santopietro who happens to be the ex-huzband of letter turner Vanna White–Mister Bisno flipped the 6+ acre parcel on the market with an outlandishly optimistic asking price of $18,000,000. That’s right, eighteen million dollars. Eventually, after more than a year on the market and several swings of the price cutting machete, the asking price, not surprisingly, stood at $9,950,000.

About the time Mister Bisno was putting his big ol‘ Beverly Park manse on the market in late 2008, rapper/underwear model turned Oscar nominated actor (The Departed, Boogie Nights, The Basketball Diaries) and tee-vee producer Mark Wahlberg (Entourage and the magnificent In Treatment) also hoisted his Oak Pass Road estate in the Beverly Hills Post Office on to the market with an asking price of $15,900,000. (The children will note the Wahlberg spread is no longer on the open market although it does not appear to have been sold.)

Soon after 2008 turned to 2009, rumors started sliding down the gossip grapevine and into Your Mama’s big bucket of scuttlebutt that the wildly rich Mister Wahlberg and his baby momma Rhea Durham were poking around Beverly Park for new über-deluxe digs. We first heard from Babbling Babette who whispered that she heard Mister Wahlberg was interested in the Bev Park palace everyone thought British pop start Robbie Williams was going to–but did not–buy and, although we don’t know this for sure, another of Your Mama’s bean spillers whispered in our greedy ear that Mister Wahlberg made a (low ball) offer on Mister and Missus Bisno’s estate, which was rejected.

Then the lines went silent until mid-April of 2009 when Your Mama received covert communiques from Our Fairy Godmother in Beverly Hills and the above mentioned bean spiller whom we’ll call Whispering Willie who both passed along the 411 that the Bisno’s Bev Park parcel was in escrow. Then, early in the days of May, we received additional covert communiques from O.F.G.I.B.H. and Whispering Willie who informed Your Mama that the Bisno lot closed and sold for just $8,250,000.

Of course, eight and a quarter million clams is a sensational sum of money by any standard. However, a few flicks of the well worn beads of Your Mama’s bejeweled abacus shows that purchase price is a humbling (and maybe even humiliating) 45% of the original asking price. Naturally, upon receiving word of a sale, Your Mama fired up the interweb in order to peer into the property records which indicate the buyer of the bare land is–you got it–none other than Mister Mark Wahlberg. Of course, the prop records are somewhat obscured so Your Mama can’t say with 100% certainty that the buyer is Mister Wahlberg, but all signs point towards him so we’ll say we’re 98.9% sure.

Whether the buyer is Marky Mark and his funky bunch family or some other entertainment tycoon, a gigantic house needs to be erected and a couple of acres of over-manicured landscaping will need to be installed before anyone has their mail forwarded to their new addy in Beverly Park. By that time, perhaps the topsy-turvy real estate world will have stabilized and the new owner will be able to flip the property at a profit, because let’s face, rich people are fickle when it comes to real estate and prone to selling houses shortly after they spend millions building them.

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