Bernard Arnault, world’s fourth-richest person, dives into L.A. spec mansion game

Purchase of 2.8-acre lot in Trousdale Estates follows similar moves in Bird Streets and Beverly Hills Post Office

Bernard Arnault is making moves in Beverly Hills
Bernard Arnault is making moves in Beverly Hills

Buying nearly a half-billion-dollars worth of Rodeo Drive retail properties apparently isn’t Bernard Arnault’s only real estate ambition in Beverly Hills.

Arnault, the fourth-richest person in the world, has added to his sizeable portfolio of prime Los Angeles real estate with a $30 million purchase in the Trousdale Estates neighborhood. The chairman of luxury goods conglomerate LVMH picked up a 6,400-square-foot home there last month, according to Yolanda’s Little Black Book.

It’s not the home itself that makes the purchase interesting. The move appears to be part of a wider spec-home development strategy.

The Trousdale house neighbors another home that Arnault bought in 2016 for $32.5 million that he quickly demolished and is replacing with a home currently under construction. Last month’s purchase suggests he’ll combine the properties into single 2.84-acre spread, like he’s currently doing with two neighboring properties in the Bird Streets neighborhood of the Hollywood Hills.

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Arnault is also building what looks like a spec home on a massive 3.64-acre property in Beverly Hills Post Office that he bought vacant last year for $33.9 million.

The French-born billionaire is not a stranger to the real estate game. Before building the luxury empire that is LVMH ­— whose brands include Louis Vuitton, Moet Hennessy, Dior, and Bulgari ­— Arnault built a vacation-property real estate empire out of his father’s company.

High-end residential properties aren’t the only real estate investments Arnault is making in L.A. Over the last two years, he’s spent a total of $482 million on three prime retail properties on Rodeo Drive. He broke a per-square-foot record with his purchase of the Bijan storefront in 2016, followed it in March with a $110 million purchase of 456 N. Rodeo Drive, and then scooped up a corner property for $250 million in September. [Yolanda’s Little Black Book] – Dennis Lynch