YOUR MAMA’S NOTES: Although it’s just some juicilicious real estate rumor and gossip at this point, Your Mama recently heard word from an impeccably placed informant — let’s call him Ben Arnold — that one of L.A.’s most prominent property brokers has quietly told a number of Platinum Triangle real estate power players that he’s able to discreetly show David Geffen’s beachfront compound on Malibu’s Carbon Beach to pre-screened clients who can afford and stomach a sky-high asking price of — according to Ben Arnold — around $100 million. So the scuttlebutt goes, the multibillionaire music and media mogul’s need — or, rather, “need” — for his longtime Malibu compound has diminished as he spends an increasing amount of time on the East Coast, where he owns a couple of fairly recently acquired residences of pretty epic proportions, and/or aboard one or other of his ship-sized boats. Geffen, now in his early 70s with an elephantine fortune of around $6 billion, reportedly owns both the 376-foot long Pelorus as well as the Rising Sun, which he originally co-owned with Larry Ellison and, at 473 feet, is more than 1.5 times the length of a football field. Thank about that for a minute, children, because it’s really a rather astonishing thing. Anyhoodles, poodles….
The Carbon Beach compound encompasses two oversized parcels that were originally five, at least one of which was once owned by Doris Day. As best as we can tell from a careful parsing of property records, the properties were purchased by Mister Geffen in two transactions two decades apart. The first came in the mid-1970s for an unknown amount and the second in June 1999, also for an unknown amount, from Larry Welk, polka-loving bandleader Lawrence Welk’s son. The fearsomely fortified and always guarded compound currently comprises several grey-shingled structures — we’ve been told by someone in a position to know that one of the buildings houses a professional-quality screening room — as well as a lily pond and a beachside swimming pool and spa. There’s a fair amount of lawn and a variety of shaded verandas and open terraces with direct ocean and peripheral coastline views. Nine garage bays face Pacific Coast Highway, but at least one report suggests four of them are merely façades, complete with curb cuts and slate-tiled driveway apron. So the story goes, the faux garage doors were installed by Mister Geffen several years ago as a decoy to keep the beach-going hoi polloi from parking in front of his house after a three-year court battle resulted in him legally having to keep open an easement on the western edge of his compound that allows the flip-flop shod masses access to the sand and surf during daylight hours.
Malibu in general and Carbon Beach specifically are renowned for their high prices and high concentration of high-net-worth homeowners. Canadian media mogul Gerry Schwartz, Hard Rock Café co-founder Peter Morton and home building tycoon and art world heavyweight Eli Broad all maintain minimalist-minded contemporary compounds designed by name-brand architects on multiparcel properties. Carbon Beach’s Tinseltown contingent includes power players Jerry Bruckheimer, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Les Moonves, the last of whom bought his glassy contemporary for a smidgen more than $25 million from Microsoft bajillionaire Paul Allen. And, of course, no full or partial list of Carbon Beach homeowners would be complete without Larry Ellison. The preposterously wealthy software tycoon, a two-time college dropout with a net worth that exceeds $50 billion, owns more than $150 million in Malibu real estate, and the half of a dozen or so properties he owns along Carbon Beach include an iconic Michael Graves-designed compound he snatched up in the fall of 2012 for $36,943,890 from former Yahoo CEO Terry Semel. Frankly, children, Mister Ellison’s property portfolio, which includes a 250-acre spread in Rancho Mirage, Calif., with a private 18-hole golf course and pretty much the entire Hawaiian island of Lanai, makes Mister Geffen’s collection of private residences, impressive and pricey as they might be, look like little more than real estate child’s play. But we digress….
Despite being outdone in spades in the property department by Mister Ellison — who is, after all, 10 times richer — Mister Geffen, like many of the globe’s most financially fortunate citizens who preside over all-but-bottomless bank accounts, more than qualifies as a hardcore real estate baller who maintains an eye-popping property portfolio of insanely expensive trophy homes. In addition to the Carbon Beach compound, he owns a second and much smaller cottage just half a dozen houses down the sand that he picked up in February 2008 for $9.8 million from none other than Peter Morton. Interestingly enough, Mister G. previously owned the cottage in the mid-1990s and paid just $1.23 million for it the first time. He still hangs on to a modestly sized if hardly inexpensive house in the Beverly Crest area of Beverly Hills that he’s owned since the early 1970s, but his primary residence in Los Angeles is the former Jack L. Warner estate, a lavishly landscaped spread of nearly 10 acres in a particularly plum pocket of Beverly Hills that he bought in 1990 for a reported $47.5 million. The stately neoclassical mansion — the L.A. County Tax Man pegs it at a 13,612 square feet — was designed for the Warner Bros. Studio honcho by noted architect Roland E. Coate and completed in 1937 with interior day-core by the legendary Billy Haines. (In case any of y’all are curious, Architectural Digest has a small but magnificent cache of photographs of the property from the time it was owned by Mister Warner.) Naturally, every inch of the residence and property have been refurbished and updated by Mister Geffen who, at least as of the mid-1990s according to this report, retained some of the imposing mansion’s original features, including an imported wood floor on which Napoleon is said to have stood when he proposed to his first wife, Joséphine de Beauharnais, and paneling believed to be carved by vaunted 18th-century cabinet-maker Thomas Chippendale.
Not surprisingly, the profligate bicoastal billionaire’s real estate holdings are not limited to the West Coast. Last spring he paid philanthropist Courtney Sale Ross $52.1 million for an almost six-acre compound with almost 500 feet of hotly coveted frontage along East Hampton’s Georgica Pond, and in New York City he owns two contiguous multi-unit combination apartments in the same posh if not exactly A-List building on Fifth Avenue. In February 2010 he paid Robert Daly and Carole Bayer Sager $14.17 million in an off-market deal for a two-unit combination unit of approximately 5,000 square feet and, not quite three years later, in November 2012, he dropped $54 million for a titanic, 12,000-square-foot duplex penthouse directly upstairs that he acquired from songwriter and international socialite Denise Rich. Of course, we have it on good authority that Mister Geffen immediately brought in an army of architects, contractors, designers, decorators and consultants to give the penthouse a complete makeover, but at the time of his purchase the suburban macmansion-sized aerie had a 4-7 bedrooms depending on use, 9 full and 2 half bathrooms, a 1,200 square foot “grand salon,” three kitchens, and half a dozen narrow balconies, many with unimpeded Central Park views, plus a roof terrace of more than 3,000 square feet.
aerial photo: Bing