Some folks in the know in Platinum Triangle real estate — people like real estate yenta Yolanda Yakettyyak — might argue there is not currently a more coveted address in all of Los Angeles than one along South Mapleton Drive in the perennially hoity-toity Holmby Hills ’hood. Lined with large, lavish and sometimes preposterously appointed mansions hidden behind high walls and higher hedges, the storied street just west of the Los Angeles Country Club makes a gently sinuous, tree-lined link between Sunset Boulevard and Club View Drive. Once upon a time, properties along S. Mapleton changed hands infrequently and more often than not in hush-hush, off-market deals. A dozen or so years ago, the famously discreet street experienced a resurgence of well-publicized popularity, and properties now change hands much more regularly, at increasingly astronomical prices.
For years, legions of Playboy models and wannabe bunnies were housed in dorm-like conditions in the illustrious “Bunny Hutch,” a shabby, ranch-style residence on 1.3 S. Mapleton acres that sold last year for $10 million to a the same financier who, back in 2008, shelled out $16 million for the Colonial mansion next door. Hugh Hefner and ex-wife Kimberley Conrad owned another S. Mapleton manse they sold in 2009 for $18 million to one of the sons of billionaire C. Dean Metropoulos, owner of the Pabst Brewing Co.
And last year, Gregory Peck’s widow, Veronique, sold her seven-bedroom chateau-style manse for $22 million to Google gajillionaire Eric Schmidt.
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In April, ultra-high-end developer Nile Niami sold a 30,000-square-foot spec-built mansion with 19 bathrooms and — no kidding — a cosmetic upkeep suite for $44 million to an unidentified Saudi. Just a few months later, he peddled another S. Mapleton mansion for $39 million to another unknown buyer. (In May 2012, he paid $13.75 million for the second, nearly 14,000-square-foot manse.) The best example of the street’s dernier cri desirability might well be Brody House, a stunning, 11,500-square-foot, A. Quincy Jones-designed mansion on 2.25 acres that Ellen DeGeneres bought in January for $39.9 million and lucratively flipped in July to Sean Parker for $55 million.
And finally, because no discussion of S. Mapleton’s rapid upward mobility would be complete without at little pie in the sky, in the late ’80s, Aaron and Candy Spelling custom built the Manor, a 55,000-square-foot behemoth on more than four acres at the corner of S. Mapleton and Club View Drive. Ms. Spelling tried for years and in vain to sell the estate for $150 million. It finally went, in 2011, for a much lower but still sky-high $85 million to 20-something Formula One racing heiress Petra Ecclestone Stunt, who gave it a published and ballyhooed $20 million glamification and, lo and behold, recently put the place up for grabs at $150 million. You can’t make this stuff up, children. You just can’t.