“The sky is not falling”: Bel Air mansion sells for $43M

Price for Paul Williams-designed estate is highest in LA County since statewide lockdown began

Christopher H. Cole and the property (Credit: JADE MILLS/COLDWELL BANKER)
Christopher H. Cole and the property (Credit: JADE MILLS/COLDWELL BANKER)

A Paul Williams-designed Bel Air mansion became the highest-priced Los Angeles County home to sell since the coronavirus statewide lockdown began nearly a month ago.

But the $43 million sale price was also a 37-percent discount from the Spanish-style Bellagio Estate’s listing.

The seller was Hillside Pueblo, an LLC managed by real estate investor Christopher Cole, according to Redfin and county property records. The buyer of the 20,000-square foot home at 10410 Bellagio Road was undisclosed.

Hillside Pueblo bought the estate in 2015 for $38 million, and a three-year renovation followed, with Oz Architects’s Don Ziebell leading the remodeling.

The listing brokers were Jeff Hyland, Drew Fenton, and Linda May of Hilton & Hyland, and Jade Mills of Coldwell Banker. Bob Safai of Madison Capital Partners represented the buyer. Agents declined to provide the buyer’s name, and a message left with Cole’s investment firm, Cole Strategic Partners, was not returned.

The brokers on the deal said the sale is an auspicious sign for a residential market partly shut down since Gov. Gavin Newsom’s March 19 stay-at-home order closed all nonessential businesses. That also ended most in-person home showings.

“The sky is not falling,” Hyland said. “I have lived through multiple recessions, and the residential market does not take the hit of other parts of the economy.”
But Mills also acknowledged the deal’s mechanics were unusual. “The buyer and seller never met. The brokers worked together to make it happen,” she said. The buyer visited the house just once, and sources said Cole did not live in the home.

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Safai said it was “the perfect time for buyer and seller to make a deal.”

The sale dwarfed other L.A. County deals recorded in the Multiple Listings Service this past month. Lee Iacoca’s former Bel Air estate sold for $19.5 million last week, placing it second on the list.

But the current market is a far cry from the multiple $90 million-plus sales from a few months ago, which may have accounted for the 1.7-acre Bellagio Road’s final sale price.

The mansion was listed for $75 million in October, one of a handful of homes that hit the market around that amount. In January, the price was trimmed to $68 million.

Cole is also founder of Cole Real Estate Investments, a company purchased by American Realty Capital Partners in 2013 for $7 billion. His residential property history includes selling a Manhattan townhouse for $19 million in 2016, after acquiring the home for $31 million.

Built in 1931, the Bel Air home includes a 2,500-square-foot master suite and once belonged to the late Georgia Frontiere. The former majority owner of the Los Angeles Rams — who moved the team to St. Louis — Frontiere sold the home for $9 million in 2005. The home has had myriad owners, and has been sold five times in the last 13 years, according to Redfin.