YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Late last night as we we sipped on our pre-bedtime gin & tonic and perused all the new listings in Los Angeles Your Mama came a may-jer estate in Malibu, CA recently heaved on to the market with a back breaking–and probably optimistic–asking price of $75,000,000. Two minutes of research on the interweb revealed that the opulent and extravagant 8+ acre ocean view spread, dubbed La Villa Contenta, belongs to well-known and prolific Malibu-based real estate developer Richard Weintraub and his entrepreneurial and social wife Liane.
Your Mama well recognizes that unless one lives in Malibu, flits amongst wealthy Angelenos, and/or closely follows southern California real estate Mister Richard Weintraub ain’t likely to be a household name. None the less, the 40-something year old property pasha is a big deal around town having instigated, revived or brought to fruition a number of high profile retail, commercial, and residential projects around Los Angeles. He is–at least in part–responsible for getting approval and erecting the dee–luxe and heralded Californian condominium tower on Wilshire Boulevard as well as developing the sleek and green Malibu Lumber Yard, a low-key but very swank outdoor shopping complex with a small number of boo-teeks that include James Perse, Kitson, Tory Burch, Intermix, and the Malibu outpost of avant–garde clothing emporium Maxfield where fashion daredevils can buy brooding, impossibly chic and shockingly expensive togs created by sartorial mavericks such as Paris-based American-born designer Rick Owens.
In 2007 Mister Weintraub purchased and began an ongoing update and revitalization of the Hollywood-historic, renowned, and kinda campy Sportsman’s Lodge Hotel in Studio City. Legend has it that the San Fernando Valley outpost, where many rock and roll road crews still shack up when passing through town, regularly hosted a cavalcade of Old Hollywood stars like Clark Gable, Bette Davis, Tallulah Bankhead, Humphrey Bogart and John Wayne who along with regular folks used to fish for their own dinner in the Lodge’s stocked trout ponds.
While she could probably sit around in couture clothes and eat bon–bons all day, tall, toothy, and well educated Missus Weintraub is committed to saving the environment and children from all that might ail them. As such, she co-founded Tastybaby, a line of organic baby food and snacks popular with and endorsed on the company website by celebrity parents such as Lisa Loeb, Scott Baio, Stella McCartney, Cindy Crawford, Joel McHale and Melissa Joan Hart.
Iffin we’re being truthful, and we always are, property records for Mister and Missus Weintraub’s lavish La Villa Contenta compound have perplexed and driven Your Mama to an early morning Bloody Mary. Although we really aren’t certain, it appears based on the property records we accessed that Mister and Missus Weintraub began to piece parcels together in the mid to late 1990s and completed the erection of their residential monument to their money and success in the early 2000s. (Some of the structures appear to have been completed later than the main house.)
The estate is unquestionably sumptuous, luxurious, well equipped, beautifully maintained, and constructed and decorated with high quality materials. But, butter beans, it all looks to Your Mama jaded aesthetic like a nipped and tucked third wife trying very hard to be a high society doyenne who does not realize–or care to realize–she’s oozing vulgarity and ostentation by wearing far too much jewelry and custom concocted terlit water. Keep in mind, puppies, Mister and Missus Weintraub were child-free and in their late twenties and early thirties when they embarked on building their own version of Hearst Castle on the bluffs of the Bu. Why Mister and Missus Weintraub wanted a mansion of this magnitude is beyond Your Mama’s ability to comprehend. If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it too many times, the real estate machinations of the rich and famous are often, at best, convoluted, intellectually Byzantine, and completely foreign territory to someone like Your Mama whose real estate needs are quite happily sated with far less beastly and braggy accommodations.
Anyhoo, according to listing information, the main mansion of the Weintraub’s gated estate measures 12,045 square feet with 8 full poopers and 4 family bedrooms and 2 staff rooms. Marketing materials and other online photo caches of La Villa Contenta show a large sitting room–that may or may not be the formal living room, we don’t know–swaddled in paneling with mirrored panels and elaborate moldings, fitted with a fireplace and French doors and windows with ocean views, and decorated with various Chinoiserie including a gigantic folding screen that Your Mama would bet cost more than an Ivy League education.
Also in the main house, according to listing information and other online photos, a soaring stone-walled foyer with mosaic tile floor, a formal dining room with red jacquard fabric covered walls and fireplace, a gore-may kitchen complex with family room area, a home theater, fitness center, expansive decks, and at least one loggia with hand-painted groin vaulted ceilings and outdoor fireplace with what appears to be dee–lishus verre églomisé detailing.
Also on the intensely landscaped and manicured property, according to listing information, are a guest house, office space which can be used as a 6 bedroom second home, and a palatial Greek Revival style natatorium/pool house with marble pilasters, walls encrusted with more than 500,000 seashells, six glittery crystal chandeliers, and a glass ceiling. The indoor plunge pool in the sea shelled-out natatorium is, the children may be amused to know, just one of three swimming pools on the property. A second pool with sunken spa and dramatic ocean view sits just just below and adjacent to the natatorium and a third pool, sunk into the flat ocean view lawn area that stretches out behind the main house, saves the Weintraub’s a long trek across the flamboyantly restrained formal garden when they feel the urge to take a quick dip.
La Villa Contenta also includes a tennis court with proper north-south orientation, a massive glass greenhouse, formal gardens, several parking areas plus covered parking for up to 10 automobiles, and acres of unnaturally green grass. What the estate does not have, the children might find interesting, is an inch of beach frontage or direct ocean access. The property sits on a high bluff that tumbles down to the strip of ocean front homes on exclusive and pricey Malibu Cove Colony Road. It appears that the homes on Malibu Cove Colony Road don’t interfere with the wide and panoramic vistas of the Pacific, it would seem that stand in the way of being able to see the beach itself.
Mister and Missus Weintraub, in addition to hosting numerous charity events, have over the years leased La Villa Contenta for several movies including Adam Sandler’s Funny People and Paul Rudd comedy I Love Your Man.
In May of 2010, according to the Wall Street Journal, the Weintraubs put their La Villa Contenta compound up for short term lease of $87,500 per month for the main house only and $250,000 per month for the entire estate. They also, according to listing information Your Mama teased out of the interweb, made the estate available as a summer rental in 2010 with asking priced of $150-175,000 per month. We’re not sure if those figures were just for the main manse or the entire estate nor do we know if any Richie Rich with a Versailles complex forked over the rent money. Back in May, Mister Weintraub told the Wall Street Journal that he and the Missus were wanting to lease the property because they wanted to take the family traveling for several months and, besides he said, they are building another house nearby. We know nada-zip-zilch of this other house they are–or were–allegedly building nearby.
La Villa Contenta, in addition to being available to lease, is available to purchase at equally treacherous and breathtaking sums. The main house, which sits on 1.52 acre parcel that includes the tennis court and one of the outdoor swimming pools, is currently on the market at $34,500,000 while the entire 8-ish acre spread is up on the block with an astronomical $75,000,000 price tag.
Your Mama really can’t say whether this property is worth anything near seventy five million clams or if there’s anyone who wants a home in Malibu willing to pay that fat price for an estate with annual upkeep costs that could easily be 2 or even three hundred times what the average person earns in a year.
What we do know is that the highest recorded sales in Malibu in the last year or so are the $40,000,000+ sale of deceased philanthropist Nancy Daly’s beach front beast on Carbon Beach that was first listed at $57,000,000, and the as yet unreported off-market sale of the totally overhauled and stuh–ning former Don Rickles residence on Malibu Road that Your Mama heard from Harry Hasthenews went for around $30,000,000 in mid-September.
Your Mama heard through the Malibu gossip grapevine–but can not confirm–that the former Rickles residence was purchased by cantankerous New York City-based real estate tycoon Sam Minskoff and his much younger wife Julie who once brought her pet pig to a dinner party at Vera Wang’s Park Avenue apartment. The couple gad about between residences in Palm Beach, Southampton, and New York City where they bed-down at the high-toned 730 Park Avenue.
In addition to the recent real estate news that the new owners of Nancy Daly’s Carbon Beach abode leased the fully furnished at $200,00o per month on a 1-year minimum lease, Your Mama has also had a couple of bits of speculation about the identity of the forty-plus million dollar buyer come slip sliding down the real estate gossip grapevine. First, Our Fairy Godmother in Malibu whispered in our ear that she heard the buyer might be Oracle honcho Larry Ellison. This makes a certain amount of sense given that he has a penchant for buying up property in Malibu. But then again, Mister Ellison, who owns a dozen or more residential investment properties in Malibu many on Carbon Beach, needs another property in Malibu like he needs a damn hole in his head. Then we heard from another, also very reliable source, that the buyer might actually be a b.f.f. of junk bond billionaire and philanthropist Michael Milken who bought the place “direct from the estate with no brokers involved.”
Whatever the actual purchase prices and whomever the buyers of the former Daly and Rickles residences actually are, it seems that there’s a limit to what someone will pay for homes in Malibu no matter how nice, how large, and how extravagant. Perhaps the Weintraubs will get lucky and sell their La Villa Contenta for more than fifty million clams. Or maybe they’ll need to take a real estate reality check. We’ll just have to wait and see, butter beans, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Unfortunately Your Mama does not have much information on the other private real estate holdings of Mister and Missus Weintraub. Property records reveal that the couple have bought and sold a fair number of expensive homes in Malibu over the years as well as a couple of condos on Wilshire Boulevard including a 19th floor pad at the Californian.
What we did find that Your Mama found most interesting is that, in March of 2005, Mister and Missus Weintraub laid out $1,900,000 for a low floor New York City pied a terre in the very same Fifth Avenue building where domestic diva Martha Stewart keeps a city crib, which happens to be the same building where much in the news recluse multi-millionairess Huguette Clark maintains buts does not occupy two massive spreads–one that encompasses the entire 8th floor and another half of the 12th floor–that comprise a staggering 42 rooms. Mister and Missus Weintraub no longer own that small apartment having sold it in July of 2008 to a well known Austrian blue-chip art dealer for $4,950,000. Given that Missus Weintraub was raised and educated in New York City Your Mama would be powerful surprised iffin they did not replace their Fifth Avenue pied a terre with another one, but a rudimentary search did not turn up ownership of another condo or cooperative apartment.
listing photos: Coldwell Banker Previews International