Most folks can’t afford a $27 million house, so it may seem odd that those who can often see the house not as a home but rather a canvas ripe for extensive customizations. Or, in some cases, a total teardown. And in Bel Air, where properties have sold for $70 million and up, such cases are merely routine.
Last month, ultra-wealthy beverage entrepreneur Ben Weiss shelled out $27 million — in cash, apparently — for a 1.28-acre estate on a prime Bel Air promontory. Though the lot currently contains a rambling, nearly 8,000 sq. ft. house, it would seem that 99% of those property’s value lies in the land itself. From the hilltop perch, there are jetliner views stretching from the Downtown L.A. and Century City skylines to the Pacific Ocean.
And it’s something of a miracle how rapidly that land has gained in value. Ten years ago, the same house fetched $9.2 million from billionaire Jerry Perenchio, the late multibillionaire founder of Univision Television. Perenchio — who long owned the far larger Chartwell estate nearby — reportedly used this place as little more than an extra parking lot for his multitude of household staff.
In late 2018, following Perenchio’s death, the estate was sold for exactly $16 million to Newport Coast, Calif.-based investor Mark Moshayedi, who only held onto the property for a year before flipping it to Weiss at an $11 million profit before taxes, closing costs and always-hefty realtor fees.
The U-shaped residence has a distinctive stone front entryway that lends the property a decidedly John Elgin Woolf-style vibe, and there are floor-to-ceiling walls of glass that drink in the spectacular views. Originally built in 1951, the low-slung structure includes five bedrooms, six baths, a gated driveway and generous motorcourt.
Weiss, who founded the beverage company Bai Brands a decade ago in his New Jersey basement, became an overnight billionaire — or something close to it — in 2016, when he sold his company to Dr. Pepper in an all-cash $1.7 billion deal. Following the acquisition, Weiss remained as CEO for a short while but ultimately departed Bai under unclear circumstances.