BUYER: Neil Moffitt, allegedly…
LOCATION: Beverly Hills, CA
SIZE: 11,200 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 8 full and 3 half bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: A few weeks ago the wily property gossips at the New York Post fingered British-born and Las Vegas-based restaurant and nightlife mogul Neil Moffitt as the previously unidentified, all cash buyer of the $50.9 million penthouse at Walker Tower, the newly converted 1929 Art Deco stunner on West 18th Street in New York City’s Chelsea nabe. So the scuttlebutt went Mister Moffitt spent a scant five minutes in the 6,000 square foot simplex penthouse before he declared, “I’ll take it.” Maybe it happened that way and maybe it didn’t. We don’t know. It seems utterly implausible that a fifty million dollar residential real estate deal could go down in such a brutally expeditious fashion but, then again, if Your Mama has said it once we’ve said it 49,000 times (too many): Who are we to understand the the wacky, head-scratching real estate ways of the world’s super rich?
Anyhoodles, poodles, yesterday we received a covert communique from a well-connected snitch—let’s call her Angel N. Shallah—who told us that one of her impeccably credentialed contact told her that Mister Moffitt is also the fella who, back in early February, before the Walker Tower acquisition, quietly paid an eye-poppin’ $31,000,000 for an newly constructed über-contemporary mansion in Beverly Hills.*
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Here’s where things get a little murky and interesting for property gossips like Your Mama. Mister Moffitt may be rich—and rich he most certainly is—but nobody we talked to can fathom that the Las Vegas nightlife impresario has the dinero to drop almost $82 million—in cash—on a couple of high-maintenance residences, one in New York City and the other in Beverly Hills. Maybe he does and maybe he doesn’t. We don’t really know. There is, natch, unsubstantiated speculation amongst people who care about such meaningless and trivial real estate matters that Mister Moffitt might actually be acting as a front for an investment group making large investments in trophy real estate. We’ve also heard uncorroborated rumors he may be a stand in for the stupid-rich Mansour bin Zayed Al Nayhan, a man otherwise known around the globe as Sheikh Mansour, deputy prime minister of the Unite Arab Emirates (UAE), minister of presidential affairs and member of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family. (His half-brother, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is the current president of UAE.)
The Sheikh, heading towards his middle 40s with two wives and five children, heads up a multi-pronged conglomerate with significant investments in petroleum, media and sport. He owns a 32% stake in Virgin Galactic, a healthy chunk of Daimler, controlling interest in the Manchester City Football Club and, so the reportage goes, he’s the primary backer of Mister Moffitt’s huge and hugely successful Hakkassan restaurant and nightclub complex in Las Vegas. His net worth was estimated in 2011 to be well in excess of $30 billion** so he can absolutely afford to spend $80 million like it was $800.
The Beverly Hills house in question, designed by Palumbo Design Group, was built on speculation by real estate investor and developer Richard Papalian who acquired the nearly one acre promontory parcel in convenient lower Beverly Hills between Coldwater and Benedict canyons in 2006 for $5,600,000. He proceeded to all but raze the existing residence, re-engineer and painstakingly terrace the hillsides that slope precipitously on three sides of the peninsula-shaped property, and build a sensationally sybaritic, 11,000 square foot glass-walled mansion with views that sweep across Beverly Hills and beyond, from downtown to the ocean.
In October, 2013, the freshly completed property popped up on the open market to much publicity and hullaballo with a $36 million price tag. The modern manse, with a total of six bedroom and—by our count—eight full and three half bathrooms, was offered fully furnished down to the bathroom towels according to the Wall Street Journal.
The architectural (melo)drama starts immediately as the gates open and the driveway passes underneath the house to a compact, central motor court with—are you ready for this, kids?—a five- to six-car glass-walled museum garage. (Sure, it’s impressive as all get out but it’s also sorta silly in its pecuniary flagrancy. Imagine for a moment how much the home owners’ minimum wage house cleaners must hate them for having a glass-walled damn garage. But, Anyways…)
The open-plan living/dining room opens to a spacious, center-island eat-in kitchen with luminescent lacquered white cabinetry, Euro-style appliances, and a separate beverage bar with built-in espresso making machine. A wide bank of floor-to-ceiling glass slips into the walls to merge the kitchen with an outdoor dining terrace with free-standing stacked stone fireplace and, on a clear day, multi-million dollar views.
Like the kitchen, there are wide expanses of floor-to-ceiling glass in the interconnected living/dining/family room areas that open to a multi-purpose, marble-paved terrace. Dining and sunbathing areas are surrounded by a built-in barbecue station, a negative edge swimming pool and adjoining (also negative edge) six-person spa, and a sunken fire pit with built-in cushioned seating. Most notably and strangely, an infinity-edged, moat-like channel with intermittent glass panels sinuously wraps around the house. We’re not sure of the moat’s actual purpose since it’s way to curvy to swim laps in but it’s certainly—uhm—momentous and remarkably impressive and probably all by itself cost a small fortune to engineer and build.
In addtion to the main living spaces, which include a small library/office with en suite facility, there are three guest/family bedrooms, each with small seating area, walk-in closet and attached private bathroom.
The master suite privately occupies all (or, at least, most) of the uppermost level and provides a self-contained oasis with glass walls, fireplace, spa-style facilities, boutique-style clothing storage, and a wet bar. The bedroom and bathroom both open to a private, 2,200 square foot, wrap-around roof top deck with another fire feature and another six-person spa tub, this one one of those molded plastic numbers that the middle class hoi polloi sometimes set on the lawn in their backyards or tuck into a lattice lean-to up against the back of the house.
A lower level offers and 11-seat, state-of-the-art screening room and a temperature controlled 1,000 bottle wine cellar visible from the upper floor through a glass floor. A glass floor may reek of fat bank account but it also means that anyone in the wine cellar can look right up into the hoo-ha area of any one wearing a skirt who skitters across or—heaven forfend—stands on the glass floor. Have mercy. The lower level is completed by a bedroom with attached private bathroom, half bathroom in the hall, and a good-sized laundry room,
A detached guest house around and atop the glass-walled garage offers a living room/lounge/office, a guest bedroom with Jack ‘n’ Jill style bathroom that connects through to a fitness room with kitchenette. Sliding glass walls in the lounge and bedroom open to a spacious balcony with fire feature and glass-railed spiral stair that links to yard below. Tucked up into an otherwise useless sliver of space behind the garage there’s a puny putting green for anybody who thinks putting practice is a worthwhile endeavor.
Whomever the real buyer for this property may be—Mister Moffitt, Sheikh Mansour or some investment collective—it seems highly unlikely it’ll be used as a full time residence. Would anyone be surprised if next month this house popped up for lease at fifty grand a month and/or came up for sale again in 18 months with a $44 or $47 million price tag? No, we wouldn’t be surprised either.
For those of y’all who might like to see more of this grand gesture to haute residential luxury take a digital stroll over to see the kids at Curbed…
*For the record, children, property records we peeped and perused show the buyer of said Beverly Hills mansion is a blandly named corporate entity that it took less than two minutes of clicking and clacking around the interweb for Your Mama to link to a nondescript office park in Las Vegas that—you got it—houses Mister Mister Moffitt’s Angel Management Group. Ya’ll can make of that circumstantial evidence whatever suits your conspiritorial real estate fancy, okay? Okay.
**The sheikh’s powerful family is sometimes reported to control a fortune that tallies to a trillion dollars. No, babies, Your Mama did not make a boozy typing mistake. We really meant a trillion goddamn dollars even though we have to imagine that’s a slightly inflated figure.
listing photos: The Agency