Nearly a year after filing for bankruptcy, residential real estate investment firm Woodbridge Group of Companies continues to shed properties from its once massive portfolio.
Billionaire Jaime Gilinski Bacal, a banker and real estate developer, is in escrow to pay $36 million for two properties — a land parcel and a home — held in the Woodbridge portfolio. That’s about $12 million less than what the company paid for them.
The Colombian businessman is spending $25.1 million for a vacant 1.2-acre parcel in Bel Air, plus another $11 million for a home in the exclusive Bird Streets, Yolanda’s Little Black Book reported.
Like other Woodbridge-owned properties, the Bel Air land comes with elaborate plans for a 41,000-square-foot mansion that was never built. Marketing documents claim the home has all the necessary permits for construction.
The modest home in the Bird Streets, meanwhile, sits on a half-acre of property. But Woodbridge had bigger plans for that, too. Architect Paul McClean conceived a 15,000-square-foot residence with a swimming pool on the upper floor.
Gilinski’s purchase still requires approval from the bankruptcy court to proceed.
Gilinski is best known for building a banking empire in Latin America alongside his father. He is building the mixed-use Panama Pacifico in Panama, a massive project said to be valued at $10 billion when completed.
The government accused Woodbridge founder and former CEO Robert Shapiro of orchestrating a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme, in which he duped investors by promising high returns on their investments that never materialized. Meanwhile, much of their money went into a web of different companies Shapiro controlled.
Earlier this month, Shapiro agreed to pay $120 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission as part of his settlement. He and other defendants named in the SEC lawsuit are paying a combined $892 million, which will be used to compensate victims. [Yolanda] — Natalie Hoberman