SELLER: David Murdock
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
SIZE: 12,435 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 8.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Its seems to Your Mama that self-made nonagenarian billionaire David Murdock has a strong itch to shrink his property portfolio of personal residences and, in the service of such, listed his 1.5 acre estate in Los Angeles’s Bel Air area with an elephantine but hardly rare anymore price of $30,000,000.
The high-school drop out, former gas station attendant, and traveling salesman managed through perseverance and what must have been an extraordinary force of will to turn himself into an international powerhouse businessman with extensive interests in the mining, petroleum, healthcare, and real estate industries. In the mid-1980s he took the reins at the real estate concern Castle & Cooke, a Hawaii-based operation that owned a considerable chuck of the pineapple and banana growing behemoth Dole Foods. He moved the company headquarters to suburban Los Angeles and, in the early 2000s, acquired the sprawling conglomerate, an epic deal that gave him 98% controlling interest in the Hawaiian Island of Lana’i.
In May of 2012, the healthy living billionaire sold a pair of adjacent Bel Air lots on pedigreed North Perugia Way to London-based international property developer Allessandro Crivelli of EST4TE FOUR who is currently building what real estate yenta Yolanda Yakketyyak hissed to Your Mama as “a massive, uber-modern spec beast.” The company’s website describes the planned residence, nestled into a hillside with views over the Bel-Air Country Club, as a “12,00 square foot dual-aspect villa…with cantilevered external terraces and an infinity pool enjoying the most impressive aspect of the site.”
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Also in May of 2012, Mister Murdock unloaded a 2,070 square foot New York City pied-a-terre for $4.8 million. Listing details Your Mama dug up on the internets shows the 19th floor of a full-service (but not particularly notable) luxury building on East 85th Street, one block off Fifth Avenue, has three bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, two balconies, and both city and Central Park views.
Last summer (2012), amid much hooting and hollering in the business press and property gossip columns, Mister Murdock sold his 98% interest in the island of Lana’i to high-tech bajillionaire and real estate baller extraordinaire Larry Ellison for somewhere around $300,000,000.*
In May of this year (2013), Mister Murdock re-listed an undeveloped 2.4 acre, two-parcel residential estate property—on Bellagio Road directly across the street from the almost ludicrously high-brow Bel-Air Country Club—with a $20 million asking price. Digital evidence Your Mama turned up shows Mister Murdock has had the undeveloped parcels on and off the market since at least early 2007.
But let’s get back to the brick built mansion in Bel Air that Mister Murdock recently heaved on the open market for $30 million and is described in digital marketing materials as an “American Colonial Revival” built in 1927 and designed by esteemed architect Gordon B. Kaufmann, the same fella who designed the Los Angeles Times building, Hoover Dam, and the epic Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills. Frankly in Your Mama’s humble and entirely meaningless opinion—and despite the prime lower Bel Air location—this turreted and obviously substantial abode does not rank amongst Mister Kaufmann’s more scintillating endeavors but that’s, perhaps, a catty alley we’ll leave for the the children to drive down and debate about.
Property records (and reports from the time) show Mister Murdock purchased the property in early 2001 for exactly $10,000,000 from Italian fashion designer and lifestyle mogul Mossimo Giannulli and actress Lori Loughlin who had the house done up by nice-gay decorator Michael Smith and photographed for Elle Decor in 2000. Mister Murdock’s acquisition of Giannulli/Loughlin house came shortly after he sold the near mythic Casa Encantada estate in Bel Air to telecom tycoon Gary Winnick in a complicated cash and property swap worth a mind jellying $94 million. Some of the children may recall that earlier this year Your Mama heard from plugged in informant Shanahnduh Rotahnda might be available for a ear drum busting $225 million to the right trophy property shopping buyer who knows the right real estate people to contact. But that’s just rumor and gossip, kids. Anyways…
The estate occupies 1.6 gated and manicured acres above the exclusive Bel-Air Country Club. The Los Angeles County Tax Man shows the house has 7 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms in 9,657 square feet while current listing details show it encompasses 12,435 square feet with six bedrooms and 8.5 bathrooms. Your Mama doesn’t know why all the discrepancies but it may (or may not) have to do with the estate’s various outbuildings that include a separate guest house, a pool house, detached garage, and what listing description calls a “tropical greenhouse.”
Current online listings are stingy with interior photos. There are exactly none available on publicly accessible listing sites. However, someone Your Mama knows who’s been in the house says that, although elegantly proportioned, the day-core veers towards frowsy and “frumpy” with a lot things hauled over from the much, much larger Casa Encantada.
Listing details do, however, give a few tantalizing specifics about the interior spaces that include a “freestanding staircase,” a gallery with 14 foot ceilings and “softly lit arched ceilings,” and “exquisite parquet and walnut plank floors.” In addition to the formal living, dining, and powder rooms, public and semi-public reception and entertaining spaces include an office, a sun room that opens onto a grassy terrace that overlooks the swimming pool and, attached to the formal dining room, a “gentleman’s bar.” A gentleman’s bar? Your Mama wonders, of course, where all the booze imbibing females are meant to partake of the ever-so-delicious devil’s water? Hello? Less formal family spaces include a kitchen and breakfast room with adjoining family room.
We’re not sure exactly how many bedrooms there are in the main house but we can determine from listing descriptions that there are “maid’s quarters” of unspecified size and location and, upstairs, in addition to a second office and a fitness room there are two guest/family suites with private sitting rooms as well as a master suite with dual dressing rooms and bathrooms.
Brick pathways meander along the rolling lawns and mature landscaping and an unexpected and unusually roomy second floor roof terrace at the rear of the residence has a chunky, free-standing outdoor fireplace and over the tree tops views of Beverly Hills and Century City. A second, semi-circular terrace that extends off the second floor at the southern side of the house also has—we imagine—lovely city views and creates a columned portico off the main floor.
Given that he’s got a net worth estimated to be somewhere close to $2.5 billion Mister Murdock can afford live where and however he wants and Your Mama has no idea at all where Mister Murdock intends to live when his big ol’ house in Bel Air is sold off to someone who will, undoubtedly, alter it substantially or knock it down entirely because that’s how the world’s super rich roll nowadays. A quick, unscientific, and most assuredly incomplete perusal of property records indicates the elderly but still vigorous Mister Murdock owns a handful of homes in the L.A. that seem way too modest for a man of his means and he does own a larger (and luxurious) but much less lavish 4.25-ish acre spread in Bev Hills’ Stone Canyon. A more likely a locale to spend his sunset years might might be—we speculate on exactly zero inside intelligence—his 2,000 acre Arabian horse ranch, organic lavender farm, and residential estate near Thousand Oaks—Ventura Farms—that he picked up way back in the late 1970s.
*Early reports of the island sale suggested the deal went down for $500-600,00,000 but more recent reported use the $300 million figure.
listing photos: Hilton & Hyland