The Real Deal Los Angeles

Cosmetics founder sells penthouse, marking LA’s top condo deal this year

Toni Ko sold the $13M unit in Santa Monica, which because it is ground-leased, owners agree to sublease for 99 years
By Haru Coryne | March 13, 2019 08:00AM

Toni Ko and 1755 Ocean Avenue (Credit: Getty Images and Realtor)

Toni Ko, who founded her own cosmetics company at 25 and eventually left with a quarter-billion-dollar fortune, has sold her penthouse on Santa Monica’s Ocean Avenue.

The $12.5 million condominium sale is Los Angeles County’s biggest this year, records show.

The buyer was two entities controlled by Bob Brisco, who is CEO of Internet Brands, a major website operator. Jennifer Mulberg and Aaron Kirman of Compass had the listing and brought in the buyer.

The two adjoining units comprise 4,950 square feet, and take up half a floor at The Seychelle, at 1755 Ocean Avenue. The deal works out to $2,525 per square foot.

The 10-story luxury tower is part of a master-planned, mixed-income complex that Related built on public land in 2014. The entire project, dubbed Civic Center Village, included affordable rentals, retail, and one other market-rate condominium.

Closing deals in the building has required some additional paperwork. Since it is still ground-leased from Santa Monica, individual units trade hands in the form of sublease agreements that are good for 99 years, with options to extend for another 100 years.

When Ko bought the units in 2016, she agreed not to resell the property for a year as part of an “anti-speculation” contract with Related. On top of that, she agreed to use an arbitration process — rather than the courts — to settle any claims she might have had against the developer.

The ban on flipping expired after Ko’s first year, while the arbitration agreement transferred over to the new owners, according to documents.

Ko founded NYX Cosmetics, which L’Oreal acquired in 2014. Her net worth in 2017 was $270 million, according to Forbes.

—Dennis Lynch contributed reporting.