A $90 million patch of dirt: A look at Jeff Bezos’ other record LA deal this week

Paul Allen estate hammering out details to sell Beverly Hills property to Amazon chief

TRD LOS ANGELES TRD ARCHIVE /
May.May 25, 2020 12:00 PM
Lauren Sanchez and Jeff Bezos with the property at 1441 Angelo Drive (Credit: Getty Images and Redfin)
Lauren Sanchez and Jeff Bezos with the property at 1441 Angelo Drive (Credit: Getty Images and Redfin)

Jeff Bezos’ $165 million purchase of David Geffen’s fabled Beverly Hills estate was a shot in the arm for the country’s ultra-luxury market and set a new high-water mark for Los Angeles real estate. But it also ended up making the Amazon chief’s other megadeal this week – $90 million for a patch of Beverly Hills land owned by the estate of the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen — something of an afterthought.

Paul Allen (Credit: Getty Images)
Paul Allen (Credit: Getty Images)

The anticipated Allen estate buy, though, is historic in its own right. Upon closing, it is expected to be the most expensive purchase of a vacant, single-family zoned piece of land in L.A. County history. The home that will rise on the lot will likely serve as the primary residence of Bezos and girlfriend Lauren Sanchez, according to a source close to the deal. Meanwhile, the Geffen estate, with its expansive gardens, guest houses and its own golf course, will be used primarily to entertain.

Unlike Geffen’s Warner Estate, which was marketed as a pocket listing, the 20-acre hilltop land at 1441 Angelo Drive was on the open market, first listed in October at $110 million with Hilton & Hyland’s Jesse Lally, Zach Goldsmith, Jeff Hyland, and Rick Hilton.

And the land is still listed. Reached Friday, Lally declined to answer questions on the property citing confidentiality agreements, but he did confirm the listing remains active.

Multiple sources told The Real Deal that Bezos and the Allen estate — which is managed by Allen’s sister Jody Allen and Allen company Vulcan Inc. — are still hammering out a contract on the deal, and it might not be finalized for another three weeks. The sources, though, are confident the buy will stay at or near the initially reported $90 million.

That would make the sale the sixth-largest in L.A. County within the past 12 months, trailing just the Geffen deal, Lachlan Murdoch’s $150 million purchase of the Chartwell Estate, Petra Ecclestone’s $120 million sale of the Spelling Manor, NBCUniversal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer’s $100 million sale of his Malibu home reportedly to Whatsapp co-founder Jan Koum, and Bruce Makowksy sale of his Bel Air spec mansion to an unidentified buyer for $94 million.

There are no precedents in the county, though, for that sale price of vacant land to be turned into a single-family abode. Another hillside property, dubbed The Mountain, has gone on and off the market the last couple of years — with Compass’ Aaron Kirman once listing it for $1 billion. But the property is not really comparable to the Allen estate since it was “riddled with litigation” that eventually led to its foreclosure, noted David Parnes of the Agency.

The Allen property, meanwhile, has been uncontroversial, only growing in value since Allen bought the parcel in 1997 and proceeded to tear down the mansion built there by architect Wallace Neff in the 1920s.

“It’s a spectacular piece of real estate,” Parnes said. “They are few true trophy assets, and it’s one of them.”

The co-founder of Microsoft, Allen died in 2018, and left behind trophy properties in Hawaii, Idaho, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Utah, Washington state, Wyoming, Northern and Southern California, and France, residential real estate whose worth the Wall Street Journal pegged at more than $800 million.

Besides the hilltop land, the Allen estate also owns an 8,000-square-foot home in Beverly Hills that Allen bought from “Animal House” director John Landis for $10 million, also in 1997. That property is not currently on the market.


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