SELLER: Richard Melville Hall, better known as Moby
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
YOUR MAMA’S NOTES: A little birdie we’ll call Betty Buttercups was so kind to let Your Mama know via digital missive that 5-time Grammy-nominated electronic musician Moby surreptitiously sold his storied, castle-like compound high above Beachwood Canyon in an off-market deal to anonymous corporate concern for $12.4 million.
UPDATE (11-26-14): We can’t confirm, but so the scuttlebutt goes the buyer of Wolf’s Lair is the much bally-hooed, highly secretive and apparently very rich English graffiti artist known as Banksy. While it’s just a rumor, Richard Melville Hall — aka Moby — ‘liked’ the Instagram post that digitally spilled the real estate rumor beans. Make of the property gossip what you will! Anyways…
Truth be told, butter beans, Your Mama didn’t even know the idiosyncratic architecture aficionado wanted to sell the historic estate he purchased amid much ballyhoo and publicity in March 2010 for $3.925 million from music industry exec Jay Faires who shared Wolf’s Lair for a time with his ex-wife, television presenter Debbie Matenopoulos. Earlier this year it was reported in the L.A. Times that Mister Moby spent in the neighborhood of two million dollars on extensive improvements, restorations, customizations and other fine-tunings so a few quick calculations on Your Mama’s bejeweled abacus shows that lucky Mister Moby hauled in a smidgen more than twice what he laid out in purchase costs and renovations. Not bad work if you can get it, right?
The delightfully peculiar, castle-like compound, originally built in the late 1920s for Hollywoodland developer L. Milton Wolf and — so the scuttlebutt goes — occupied at some point and for a short time by The Rolling Stones, occupies 3.3-acre ridge line acres with knee-buckling canyon, city and reservoir views.
In addition to a turreted gate house — where the original owner is said to have housed his pet monkey that would screech across the canyons — the property includes a stone-quoined Norman-style main house, a poolside guest house plus a very contemporary second guesthouse re-imagined in the early 1960s by maverick architect John Lautner. The original owner installed secret, prohibition era tiki bar the ramparts beneath the gate house and, though we don’t know if it ever came to pass, The New York Times reported in April 2011 Mister Moby planned to revive the campy lounge (shown above pre-renovation) as an invitation-only magic theatre.
It seems that Mister Moby has been in the mood to shake up his portfolio of pedigreed and/or architecturally interesting properties. In June 2013 he sold an historic, Hollywood Regency-style residence in the Hollywood Hills that he co-owned with fashion designer Stacy Bendet Eisner — and which once belonged to high-camp comedian Paul Lynde — and this last May (2014) he unloaded a quite quirky if far less grandiose penthouse crash pad on Manhattan’s Lower East Side for $2.05 million, a full one hundred thousand dollars more than the asking price.
Long-time celebrity real estate watchers will recall that Mister Moby briefly owned a spectacularly unusual and inconveniently vertical quadruplex penthouse at the twin-towered Eldorado building on Central Park West that he bought in 2005 for $4.5 million and, after more than year on and off the market, sold for $6.7 million in August 2008. In October 2012 he took in $5.8 million for a 2,400-square-foot two-unit combination penthouse loft in the NoHo neighborhood he picked up in July 2009 for $3.75 million. He’s also owned at a couple of houses in Upstate New York, one he bought in 2003 for just under a million bucks and sold in 2006 for $2.05 million.