Owlwood Estate, owned by famous and notorious, sells for $88M

Tony Curtis once lived at Holmby Hills property; Ponzi schemer Robert Shapiro bought it in '16

Robert Shapiro, Tony Curtis and Sonny & Cher with Owlwood Estate (Getty, The Viewpoint Collection)
Robert Shapiro, Tony Curtis and Sonny & Cher with Owlwood Estate (Getty, The Viewpoint Collection)

A Holmby Hills estate that asked $180 million when Ponzi schemer Robert Shapiro owned it has sold for about half that amount.

Owlwood Estate, a 10-acre property that includes a 12,000-square-foot mansion, sold for $88 million to Calch Urban Investments, a Chicago-based LLC, Variety reported. The publication did not identify the true buyer, except to say it was a billionaire.

The off-market deal for the three-parcel property at 141 South Carolwood Drive closed just before the new year, according to the report. Compass’ Tomer Fridman, Sally Forster Jones and Tyrone McKillen along with Hilton & Hyland’s Drew Fenton had been marketing the palatial property on behalf of the Viewpoint Collection . Viewpoint, headed by Frederick Chin, took control of Shapiro’s portfolio on behalf of his defrauded investors.

The sale ranks as the third priciest residential deal in Los Angeles in 2020.

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Built in 1936, Owlwood includes an Italianate main house with nine bedrooms and 10 bathrooms, along with a guesthouse. The entire property — off of Sunset Boulevard — is landscaped and features a pool and tennis court. Among its past notable residents were singers Sonny and Cher and actor Tony Curtis. A young Marilyn Monroe was reported to have stayed in the guesthouse for a time, according to Variety.

A more recent — and infamous — owner was Shapiro. The former head of Woodbridge Group of Companies, Shapiro bought the estate for $90 million in 2016. By September 2018, Woodbridge was bankrupt and an embattled Shapiro slashed the price on Owlwood to $115 million.

In October 2019, Shapiro was sentenced to 25 years in prison for a massive Ponzi scheme in which federal authorities said he misappropriated $36 million in investor money, lavishing family and friends with luxury travel, cars and homes. The scheme eventually collapsed when his web of companies couldn’t repay interest payments to investors.

By the time he was sentenced, Shapiro had already agreed to pay the Security and Exchange Commission $120 million as part of a civil settlement, and his many Los Angeles residential properties have been sold off in the past couple of years to help pay back investors. [Variety] — Alexi Friedman