The Real Deal Los Angeles

Billionaire Jaime Gilinski Bacal pays $36M for two Woodbridge properties

The bankrupt real estate investment firm once had grand plans to build new homes at the Bel Air and Bird Streets locations
November 29, 2018 08:00AM

Jaime Gilinski and 805 Nimes Place in Bel Air

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