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Terry Semel Lists Malibu Compound for Fifty Million

SELLERS: Terry and Jane Semel
LOCATION: Malibu, CA
PRICE: $50,000,000
SIZE: 10,317 square feet, 9 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: A little weekend birdie came chirp-chirpin’ along late last night to tell us former chairman/co-CEO of Warner Bros. and exceedingly well-compensated former Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel and his wife Jane have heaved and hoed their oceanfront compound in Malibu, CA on the market with an elephantine $50,000,000 price tag.

We’re not quite sure exactly when or for how much Mister and Missus Semel bought their beach properties. What we do know is the multi-structure, post-modernist compound was designed and built in the early-1990s for the Showbiz bigwig turned tech industry tycoon by East Coast-based architect Michael Graves. The Semel compound comprises three separate but architecturally-related structures: a bulky, two story main house; a tall and thin, barrel-vaulted screening room; and a somewhat low-slung, two-story guest/pool house.

Listing information shows the two-parcel property encompasses .73 very valuable acres with 151 bulk-headed feet of frontage on Carbon Beach, colloquially called Billionaire’s Beach for the number of billionaires who maintain homes on what is arguably Malibu’s most desirable and expensive stretch of sand. The three post-modern pavilions combined measure 10,317 square feet, as per listing information, and between them contain a total of 9 bedrooms and an unlucky 13 bathrooms.When we mentioned to our highly superstitious house gurl Svetlana that Mister and Missus Semel’s Malibu compound has 13 bathrooms she let out a screech that curled our toes and self-assuredly said, “Well no wonder those people are selling!” Anyhoo….

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Parking can be an major issue in Malibu—there’s just not enough of it really—and Mister and Missus Semel’s spread offers an unusual and coveted amount of off-street parking for up to 9 cars, according to listing information. In addition to a narrow strip wedged between the guest house and often traffic-clogged Pacific Coast Highway, a pair of discreet gates set into a tall, concrete privacy wall swing open to a compact, tree-shaded motor court in front of the main house with an attached two-car garage.

Mister Graves—the architect—made a decidedly (melo)dramatic statement with a voluminous, rotunda entry (above, top left and right) that soars three stories high with a sky light overhead and inlaid wood flooring under foot. A series of port hole-like openings with wavy metal railings run around the second floor gallery and provide a no-so-subtle nautical nod property’s the sea-side location.

A glimpsed ocean view pulls residents and visitors through the show-stopping rotunda entry to an especially spacious (if decoratively ho-hum) living/dining room (above, bottom left and right) that grandly spans the full width of the main pavilion. There’s a fireplace in the living area, very pale blond wood floors throughout, a shallow coffered ceiling and two wall lined with banks of French doors that open on one side to an ocean view veranda.

The adjoining, tile-floored eat-in kitchen (above) looks to be equipped all the necessary appliances (including a pair of dishwashers) but looks to Your Mama a bit wee for a house of this magnitude. Listing information indicates the compound contains a staff suite and we’d bet both our long bodied bitches it’s just steps from the kitchen.

The impossibly pale blond wood floors in the living room show up again in the second floor master suite that has an over-scale circular window and French doors that connect to a covered veranda that runs the full-length of the main house. The attached bathroom has his and her sinks, a party-sized jetted tub, and glass and steel shower cubicle with ocean view and multiple shower heads.

As best as Your Mama can tell from listing information and photographs the free-standing middle pavilion—which may or may not have interior access to the main pavilion—contains only a den/screening room topped with a soaring, copper-roofed barrel-vaulted ceiling punctuated with a series of very post-modern circular windows. The wide-screen drops from a soffit in the ceiling at the touch of a button and half a dozen (or more) French doors open the slender but airy, bi-level room to the grassy beach-side backyard. We’d be shocked if the screening room pavilion did not have a wet bar/kitchenette and/or a bathroom but we have no specific knowledge of such.

Beyond the screening room, a two story guest/pool house has a spacious sitting area with wet bar (and pool table) and three bedrooms each with attached bathroom. One of the two downstairs bedrooms is used by Mister and Missus Semel as a half-assed fitness room with only a paltry few pieces of exercise equipment and the lone upstairs bedroom open through a long row of windows to a private sunbathing terrace tucked up behind the cornice.

Just outside the guest/pool house a heated, rectangular pool with inset spa and stone coping was simply sunk into a broad swathe of well-watered and bright green lawn that stretches out toward a low hedge atop the bulkhead that sets the house slightly above sand-level and thwarts the prying eyes of looky-looing beach goers.

Some of Mister and Missus Semel’s nearest neighbors in Malibu include hotelier/restaurateur Peter Morton (who has a Richard Meier-designed compound) and entertainment industry mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg (who has a Gwathmey Siegel-designed compound). Some of y’all may think fifty million is a bold and optimistic asking price but immediately next door is the traditional (but architecturally insignificant) 12,785 square foot beach-manse formerly owned by now-deceased philanthropist Nancy Riorden Daly and sold in October 2010 to an unknown buyer for $36,969,000.

Other Richie Riches and Richettes who own property on Carbon Beach include filmmaker Jerry Bruckheimer; Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen; media billionaire David Geffen; media investor Haim Saban; home builder and art world kingpin Eli Broad, Canadian media baron Gerry Schwartz who knocked down two ocean front houses to build his Malibu Barbie Dreamhouse; and bitterly divorced Jamie McCourt who owns a John Lautner-designed place she and her ex bought from Courtney Cox in July 2007 for $27,250,000 and the itty-bitty beach shack next door she and ex-hubby Frank bought the following year for $18,975,000. Then, of course, there’s real estate baller Larry Ellison who owns at least $150,000,000 worth of Malibu real estate including at least half a dozen houses on Carbon Beach.

Like many of the most well-heeled homeowners on Carbon Beach, Mister and Missus Semel maintain primary residences in the Platinum Triangle (Bel Air, Holmby Hills and Beverly Hills). Between July 1982 and October 2003 Mister and Missus Semel assembled a 2.75 acre three-parcel estate in prime lower East Gate Bel Air. Sometime in the mid-Aughts they began a full-scale renovation/expansion that appears to have been recently completed.

Like in Malibu, in Bel Air Mister and Missus Semel are surrounded by show business bigwigs and other high profile types who include, just to name a few: divorcing actress Debra Messing; producer and music executive Freddy DeMann; real estate executive David P. Margulies; philanthropist Lynn Booth, widow of L.A. Times muckety-muck Franklin Otis Booth Jr.; and entertainment industry power player Michael Eisner.

In December 2011 the Semels sold a nearly 9,000 square foot mansion in Beverly Hills they bought in June 2005 for $8,300,000 in which to live during the renovation/construction of their big new crib in Bel Air.

listing photos: Hilton & Hyland and Partners Trust

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