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Real Estate Tale: William J. Chadwick

There are a lucky handful of folks, mainly hedge hogs and financial industry fat cats, who have come out of the recent (and ongoing) economic woes smelling like stinking rich roses with seemingly unlimited mountains of money to burn on trophy real estate in Los Angeles, CA.

Just look at Goldman Sachs honcho Gene Sykes who recently plunked down $40,000,000–in cash–for a palatial pile in Bel Air and Mutual Fund Manager Bill Gross who shelled out around $35,000,000 this summer for Jennifer Aniston’s Ohana in Beverly Hills.

Then, of course, there’s 22-year old Formula One racing heiress and residential real estate size queen Petra Ecclestone who sees herself as “privileged” not “spoilt,” a self-characterization illustrated, perhaps, by her reportedly borrowing $82,400,000 from her mother in order to cough up $85,000,000 in cold hard cash for The Manor, showbiz widda Candy Spelling’s (in)famously huge Holmby Hills mega-mansion. The slender but curvy British blond bombshell plans to relocate to Tinseltown after her August (2011) wedding to a 26-year old businessman named Jamie Stunt. Miss Ecclestone, about to pull a Nicky Hilton with the upcoming launch of a handbag line, also owns a massive mansion in London she bought last year for around $90,000,000. Privileged and not spoilt? You decide.

Not every mogul and multi-millionaire, of course, has weathered the sub-prime mortgage meltdown and ensuing global economic malaise with as much aplomb and money as Misters Gross and Sykes, particularly those who dabbled and gambled in the real estate game. One of those not so fortunate, it seems, is William J. Chadwick, a managing director of the L.A.-based real estate investment banking and capital management firm Chadwick Saylor & Co.

Mister Chadwick became juicy fodder for all the real estate gossip columns back in June 2008 when he heaved his 10,480 square foot nearly new ocean front mansion in Malibu, CA on the market with a tummy-twisting $65,000,000 price tag.

The 6 bedroom and 9.5 pile, a hulking quasi-Cape Cod beast of a house, sits on more than half an acre of prime beachfront property on Malibu’s premier stretch of sand, Carbon Beach. It also sits hard up on about 150 feet of frontage on frequently traffic chocked Pacific Coast Highway.

Carbon Beach often gets called “Billionaire’s Beach” due to the thick crush of big-living billionaires (and near billionaires) who own posh cottages and cushy compounds along that particular section of the beach in the Bu. Some of Mister Chadwick’s Carbon Beach neighbors include entertainment industry gazillionaire David Geffen, former Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, software magnate Larry Ellison, restauteur and hotelier Peter Morton, real estate developer Eli Broad, media mogul Haim Saban, and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

Mister Chadwick’s Lester Tobias-designed beach house, built in 2005, no doubt at great expense, features a 90-foot long “Great Room,” 40-foot long kitchen/family room, a 4,500 square foot ocean side entertainment terrace with outdoor kitchen and 75-foot long lap-lane swimming pool cantilevered over the sand, about 150-feet of beach frontage, an 8-seat movie theater, and, as per the architect’s website, a tequila tasting room with shark tank.

In October 2009, after more than a year on the market with no deep-pocketed buyers willing to sign the deed’s dotted line, Mister Chadwick took his colossal Carbon Beach house off the market. The ocean front white elephant was re-listed almost a year later with a significantly and shockingly lower asking price of $35,000,000. The price tag held steady at thirty-five million until earlier this week when the listing was withdrawn only to reappear the very next day with a dramatically slashed asking price of $22,000,000. Even more stunning to Your Mama than the $11,000,000 price chop was the gigantic yellow word “*auction*” emblazoned across the opening image on the listing.

A quick perusal of public property records and other easily available online information does not turn up any recorded Notices of Default on the property, meaning Mister Chadwick has thus far been making the elephantine mortgage payments on the property. It’s impossible for Your Mama to say if the planned auction indicates Mister Chadwick is having money troubles and just wants a quick sale to get out from underneath the pocketbook punishing mortgage(s) or, if after nearly three years of unsuccessfully trying to unload his behemoth beach house his real estate patience and worn paper thin and he simply wants to sell the property as soon as possible to anyone willing to come up with more than $22,000,000.

Twenty two million bucks more than qualifies, by any standard, as a vast sum of money for a single family house but it’s certainly not an unheard of amount for a monumentally-scaled ocean front house on Carbon Beach even in today’s still mostly lackluster market in Malibu. Last fall, por ejemplo, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen paid clothing manufacturing mogul Charles Perez just over $25,000,000 for a glassy Carbon Beach contemporary with an ocean side swimming pool.

The auction of Mister Chadwick’s Carbon Beach albatross is set, as per a source deep inside the Platinum Triangle real estate game, for September 18 with a minimum opening bid set at $22,000,000. Obviously, Mister Chadwick hopes multiple bids will run that number up by several if not many millions more.
Although Mister Chadwick seems to be making the mortgage on his Carbon Beach crib a deeper drill down into property records reveals that was not the case with another Malibu property he owned until early in 2011 when it fell into the gaping maw of foreclosure.

Records show that in June 2004 Mister Chadwick acquired an oddly-shaped nearly three acre spread (above) equipped with equestrian facilities in Malibu’s rustic but deluxe and guard-gated Serra Retreat enclave for an undisclosed amount of money. As best as we can suss out, Mister Chadwick first listed the horsey spread in April 2008 with an optimistic asking price of $7,250,000. By March 2009 the price had plummeted to $5,950,000 and by the following March the price had been reduced five more times to its last asking price of $3,100,000.

Listing information from when the property was listed for just under five million clams shows the fully landscaped property includes a dated but well-maintained two story house with 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a 7-stall stable with tack room, riding arena, corrals, and a rock-lined stream bed. Listing information indicates that Mister Chadwick had architect Lester Tobias–the same man who designed his Carbon Beach mansion–draw up designs for an expansion of the house.

Your Mama ain’t privy to the details of Mister Chadwick’s financials, of course, but a few minutes surfing around on the interweb turned up a nasty Notice of Default on the Serra Retreat estate recorded in September of 2010. In early January 2011 an even nastier Notice of Sale was filed with a Trustee’s Sale scheduled on the 27th of January at 10:30 a.m. at the county courthouse in Pomona, CA. The minimum bid was set, as per the records we peeped, at $4,311,399. We’re not sure if the property was sold out of foreclosure or if the auction was staved off but what is clear as per property records is that the property was sold in late May (2011) for $2,900,000, a fraction of the seven and a quarter million he first wanted and substantially less then the 4.3 million the minimum bid set for the Trustee’s Sale suggests he owed on the place.

A cursory stroll the property records did not turn up any other Los Angeles area properties in Mister Chadwick’s portfolio but it did reveal that way back in August of 1989 Mister Chadwick spent $300,000 to buy a modest house on affluent Country Club Drive in the quaint and quiet community of Cutchogue on the North Fork of Long Island. The 1.08 acre-spread was sold last November for $550,000, representing a quarter of a million dollar gain over 22 years of ownership.

listing photos (Carbon Beach): Westside Estate Agency
listing photos (Serra Retreat) Berlyn Photography for Coldwell Banker Malibu

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