Earlier this year, Southern California played host to the most expensive mansion listing in the country. Now, the region is claiming the throne once again with the world’s richest real estate player.
Donald Bren, chairman of the Irvine Company, came in at No. 28 on the latest Forbes 400 billionaires list and No. 1 on the real estate industry list. The developer was worth an estimated $16.3 billion as of Tuesday (double the net worth of New York billionaire Stephen Ross, the second-richest real estate titan on the list). Bren’s Newport Beach-based company owns over 115 million square feet of real estate, including 500 office buildings, over 40 shopping centers and nearly 60,000 apartments, Forbes reported. Built out over decades, the Irvine Co. owns more than 7 million square feet of office space at the Irvine Spectrum Center alone. The company has been bidding on Amazon’s second headquarters heading to Irvine. Angeleno developer Nelson Rising of Rising Realty Partners serves on the Irvine Co.’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee.
Coming in at 97th in the world and fifth in the real estate industry is Edward Roski Jr., who has an estimated net worth of $5.5 billion. Roski, president and chairman of Majestic Realty Co., owns more than 83 million square feet of commercial real estate. Although based in Los Angeles, Majestic Realty has significant projects in the works across the nation, including a 320-acre business park in Dallas and a 441-acre project in Pennsylvania’s former Bethlehem Steel plant. Roski’s company was instrumental in developing the Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles – home to the L.A. Kings and the L.A. Lakers, two teams of which he is a partial owner.
Brentwood-based Rick Caruso came in at No. 179 with a $3.9 billion net worth. The mega-developer is best known for building retail havens the Grove, which gets an average of 49,000 daily visitors, and the Americana at Brand. As of April, his portfolio consisted of 13 developments with three – Palisades Village, Miramar Beach Resort and 333 La Cienega — currently under construction. In recent years, Caruso’s eponymous company expanded from the luxury retail sector into luxury apartments, resorts and office properties. It acquired the Masonic Temple in Glendale and converted it into a creative office building that now houses CBRE.
Following at No. 212 is Beverly Hills-based Donald Sterling, who has an estimated net worth of $3.5 billion. The landlord built his fortune through buying gritty apartment buildings and some single-family homes in Los Angeles — mostly in poorer areas. A former owner of the L.A. Clippers, the outspoken billionaire’s properties include the Beverly Hills Plaza Hotel and several apartment buildings on L.A.’s Westside and in Koreatown.
Newport Beach developer George Argyros ranked No. 340 with a net worth of $2.4 billion. He leads Arnel & Affiliate, which owns 5,500 apartments in Orange County and nearly 2 million square feet of commercial real estate in the region. Earlier this year, Argyros and his wife pledged $2.5 million to build a leadership center for the Girl Scouts of Orange County. He serves on the Board of Trustees of Chapman University.
While not categorized by Forbes as a real estate investor, Malibu local and Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison ranked No. 5 on the billionaire’s list. The software mogul, worth a whopping $59 billion, has established himself a real estate mogul in his own right throughout the years, acquiring a sizeable portfolio of properties in Malibu’s Carbon Beach. Aside from 12 houses in the area, Ellison, now chairman of Oracle’s board and its chief technology officer, also owns the Malibu Racquet Club, Nobu Ryokan Malibu Hotel, Nobu and Soho House. [Forbes] – Natalie Hoberman