C. J. Hughes

  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren

    Just a few months after New York passed historic reforms that infuriated landlords and thrilled tenants — with California following suit — several Congress members and presidential candidates are throwing their weight behind even more aggressive proposals.

    Mostly promoted by Democrats on the far left, those policies include the mid-September doozy from U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders calling for nationwide rent control under his $2.5 trillion housing plan. Despite more than two dozen states prohibiting limits on what landlords can charge, Sanders wants to cap annual rent increases around the country at 3 percent, or 1.5 times the consumer price index, whichever is higher.

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who’s also gunning for the White House, has a slightly less contentious proposal: adding more supply to help lower prices in the rental housing market. But Warren hopes to build millions of new apartments with tax hikes on the wealthy, and her call to relax zoning rules for more construction could rankle rich and poor alike.

    Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the first-term congresswoman who represents parts of the Bronx and Queens, is another high-profile politico with lofty goals.

    Ocasio-Cortez recently took aim at “market-controlling landlords” with her $16.5 billion housing plan and wants to greatly expand tax relief for middle-class home loan borrowers at the expense of tax deductions for the wealthy. Additionally, the sweeping Green New Deal bill, which she and Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts co-sponsored this year, could force landlords to make big energy-efficiency upgrades to their buildings. And with a projected cost of between $50 and $90 trillion, the federal plan would be mostly covered by tax revenue.

    The millennial congresswoman, widely known as AOC, has quickly become a national force with close to 5.5 million Twitter followers. In her rapid rise, she’s also earned the wrath of Republican critics, while other political upstarts have followed in her footsteps.

    Here’s a breakdown of some of the hotly contested real estate agendas coming out of Washington in 2019.

    $1T

    Florida

    An estimate of the total damage to coastal properties and public infrastructure if global temperatures rise 2°C above pre-industrial levels, according to the Green New Deal. The bill calls for no more fossil fuels and the switch to 100 percent clean energy by 2029, while new and existing buildings would need to adopt “maximal energy efficiency.” A similar proposal in New York City became law in May.

    7.4M

    The amount of affordable housing units that would be built or fixed up under Sanders’ proposal, at an estimated cost of $1.48 trillion. The Vermont senator has also vowed to create 2 million new mixed-income apartments and make Section 8 vouchers an entitlement for all Americans, while national public housing would get $70 billion in improvements, including high-speed internet access.

    $4B

    “Emergency funds” to be set aside for middle-class rental housing, outlined in Warren’s American Housing and Economic Mobility Act. For borrowers who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth — a casualty of the last recession — the Massachusetts senator wants to allocate $2 billion. She is also promoting a $500 million investment in rural housing and $2.5 billion in grants for apartments for Native Americans and Native Hawaiians.

    14,000

    The number of families expected to pay higher inheritance taxes under Warren’s proposed housing plan. Lowering the trigger for inheritance taxes to $7 million — where it stood during George W. Bush’s presidency — from $22 million could generate as much as $500 billion over a decade, Warren says. The new revenue would lead to “millions” of new homes and reduce housing costs by 10 percent, she argues.

    1968

    Republican Sen. Mike Lee

    The year Congress passed the Fair Housing Act — which bans discrimination in home sales and rentals. But Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah wants to cut off the funding to enforce the law. His Local Zoning Decisions Protection Act of 2017, co-sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, would prohibit the use of federal money to investigate compliance, which Lee and Rubio call ineffective and wasteful.

    100%

    Presidential candidate and former HUD secretary Julián Castro has vowed to award generous tax credits to renters who earn up to 100 percent of their area median income. The promise is part of his sweeping housing plan, which could cost close to a trillion dollars over a decade. Like several of his peers, Castro wants to cap the max amount renters spend each month on housing costs at 30 percent of their income.

    8M sq. ft.

    The size of Amazon’s proposed Long Island City campus — before the e-commerce giant killed its offer in the face of local opposition. AOC and State Sen. Michael Gianaris came out against the plan to award Amazon $3 billion in subsidies for the creation of up to 25,000 new jobs. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other proponents of the deal argued that those incentives were necessary since Amazon was considering other locations. The company now plans to anchor its “HQ2” in Arlington, Virginia.

  • Dennis Lynch

  • Nile Niami and his Bel Air spec home (Credit: Getty Images, Juwan Li and Marc Angeles)
    Nile Niami and his Bel Air spec home (Credit: Getty Images, Juwan Li and Marc Angeles)

    A month after boosting the asking price on his “Opus” spec mansion in Beverly Hills to $80 million, developer Nile Niami is bringing another behemoth to the market. No, it’s not his $500 million “The One,” the 20-bedroom off-market monster.

    Niami has listed a 28,000-square-foot home on Bel Air’s Carcassonne Road for $65 million. The home was designed by prolific Los Angeles architect Paul McClean, Niami’s frequent partner who designed Opus and several other homes he’s developed.

    This one remains nameless, but it is imposing nevertheless. The nine-bedroom, 17-bathroom mansion is packed with amenities. Besides the usual features, like a gym, wine cellar and screening room, there’s also a hair salon, a massage studio, meditation room, and smart home tech.

    The backyard has a 30-foot-tall water wall and a 160-foot long swimming pool, a signature in many of Niami and McClean’s projects. Aaron Kirman and Jennie Priel with Compass have the listing.

    Niami’s The One, a 100,000-square-foot compound was set to hit the market earlier this year, but hasn’t yet listed.

    The Opus hit the market in 2017 for $100 million, then was chopped to $60 million before Niami bumped it back up to $80 million last month. He cited several nearby vacant lots that sold for tens of millions of dollars as reason for the increase.

    In January, he listed his private home in West Hollywood for $55 million. In true Niami fashion, he hosted an extravagant open house complete with fire dancers, a camel and 500 guests, at a cost of around $100,000.

  • Dennis Lynch

  • The 5 priciest residential sales
    The 5 priciest residential sales

    A handful of pricey spec mansions and historic homes hit the market in Los Angeles County this past week.

    The five priciest residential sales of the week totaled $38.5 million, each between $7 million and $9.5 million. The total come amid L.A.’s continued luxury market slowdown. The five include two new construction homes — one in the Bird Streets and another in Bel Air.

    The information was compiled from the Multiple Listings Service and Redfin, from Oct. 7-15.

    128 N. Glenroy Avenue | Bel Air | $9.5M
    This “modern farmhouse” spans 8,200 square feet on a half-acre lot tucked off Sunset Boulevard near UCLA. The five-bedroom, 6.5-bathroom home is centered around a family room with retractable doors leading out to a trellis-covered terrace in the backyard. Aram Afshar and Steve Frankel with Coldwell Banker had the listing. The buyer was represented by Sharona Alperin with Sotheby’s International Realty.

    540 S. Rossmore Avenue | Hancock Park | $7.5M
    This 1924-built Tudor-style five-bedroom, seven-bathroom home was recently renovated with custom cabinetry, new wood floors, smart home tech, and other upgrades. The main house spans about 7,100 square feet. There’s also a 960-square-foot guest house and a gym and studio space totaling about 1,100 square feet on nearly an acre of property. Compass’ Aaron Kirman had the listing and Markus Canter with Berkshire Hathaway repped the buyer.

    541 Stassi Lane | Santa Monica | $7.4M
    This newly built five-bedroom, six-bathroom home was designed by noted Bay Area architect Ray Kappe. The modernist home sits on a hillside on Santa Monica’s northwest border with Pacific Palisades. Two second-story bedrooms and the backyard wood deck and pool look toward the northwest. Altogether, the home spans about 5,400 square feet. Todd Baker with Coldwell Banker represented both the buyer and seller in the deal.

    1200 Linda Flora Drive | Bel Air | $7.1M
    This 6,000-square-foot home has five bedrooms and seven bathrooms, as well as amenities that include a wine cellar, screening room, and a zero-edge swimming pool. The three-story home sits on the ridgetop that Linda Flora Drive follows and has a rooftop deck to maximize views of the city and the Pacific Ocean. It’s next to at least two homes destroyed in the 2017 Skirball Fire. Sally Forster Jones represented Compass’ buyer and seller. Her colleague Kevin Pane had the listing with her.

    1479 Blue Jay Way | Bird Streets | $7M
    This five-bedroom, eight-bathroom home is a blast from L.A.’s swanky past. The single-story home was built in 1964 in the era’s trademark Hollywood Regency style. Despite its seemingly well-kept condition, the 6,200-square-foot home was advertised as a redevelopment opportunity.

  • Dennis Lynch

  • Robert Shapiro pleaded guilty to leading a $1.3 billion fraud that defrauded over 7,000 real estate investors (Credit: iStock)
    Robert Shapiro, along with two of Woodbridge Group’s former luxury properties, and at right, a federal prison. (Credit: iStock)

    UPDATED, Oct. 15, 11:04 a.m.: When developer Robert Shapiro pleaded guilty in August to leading a $1.3 billion real estate Ponzi scheme, he faced up to 25 years in prison.

    On Tuesday, a federal court judge sentenced Shapiro to that maximum, closing the criminal chapter on what has been a two-year-long saga surrounding the massive fraud perpetrated by Shapiro’s now-defunct Sherman Oaks-based investment firm, Woodbridge Group of Companies.

    In all, more than 7,000 property investors were defrauded over five years until Woodbridge went under in late 2017 amid a wide-reaching federal investigation into the scheme, the government said in a release announcing the sentencing.

    The majority of the prison sentence — 20 years — is for defrauding those investors, and for committing wire and mail fraud. The 61-year-old was sentenced to an additional five years for failing to pay $6 million in taxes owed between 2000 and 2005.

    To raise money for the fraud, Woodbridge Group promised investors — many of them elderly — that the cash would go toward building and buying luxury properties that would yield high returns. Instead, Shapiro and the company bought those properties themselves through a web of legal entities to obscure ownership.

    Woodbridge bought hundreds of millions of dollars worth of properties and development sites in Los Angeles and across the country. It paid out investors using cash from new investors in a classic Ponzi scheme arrangement. Shapiro himself siphoned off between $25 million and $95 million to fuel his glitzy lifestyle, prosecutors said. The case against him took place in Miami, as did the sentencing.

    Lavish lifestyle
    At least 2,600 Woodbridge investors put their retirement savings into the firm, totaling $400 million, according prosecutors. Shapiro personally spent at least $3.1 million of that money on travel and charter planes, $6.7 million on a home and another $2.6 million on renovations, $1.8 million paying off personal income taxes, and $672,000 on vehicles., the government said.

    Shapiro and his wife agreed to forfeit a massive trove of luxury items they purchased with misappropriated funds, including artworks by Picasso and other artists, a 603-bottle wine collection, and several pieces of diamond jewelry.

    While the criminal case against Shapiro is over, independent managers are in charge of selling off the rest of Woodbridge’s assets to recoup money for defrauded investors.

    Shapiro is also on the hook to pay the Security and Exchange Commission $120 million as part of a civil settlement with the agency.

    Federal law enforcement continues to pursue claims against other Woodbridge executives. Investors have sued for compensation from at least one bank, Comerica Bank, that held Woodbridge accounts.

  • Pat Maio

  • James Wan and the building at 600 North Sepulveda Boulevard (Credit: Getty Images and Google Maps)
    James Wan and the building at 600 North Sepulveda Boulevard (Credit: Getty Images and Google Maps)

    A film and television production company has acquired a distinctive clock tower office building in Bel Air, a modest deal that still represents the highest price-per-square-foot paid for a commercial property in the residential enclave.

    Atomic Monster Productions paid $5.4 million for the nearly 6,000-square-foot building at 600 N. Sepulveda Boulevard.

    Atomic Monster, founded by James Wan in 2014, produces horror and science fiction films, including “The Conjuring 2.”

    The 68-year-old complex, which had been vacant, sold for slightly under its $5.6 million asking, and was acquired as an investment, according to a company spokesperson. Jason Froelich of Douglas Elliman represented the buyer.

    The seller, Evolve Commercial I LLC — an arm of Evolve Treatment Centers — bought the property in late 2014 for $3.45 million.

    At $917 per square foot, the most recent sale was the highest per square foot deal in the Bel Air commercial market, eclipsing the $757 a foot sale that went to 662 N. Sepulveda a decade ago, according to Trevor Nelson of Newmontis Real Estate Investment Management. Nelson and Katherine Weaver of Pegasus Investments marketed the building, and announced the sale.

    Better known for its massive mansions, Bel Air is within the larger Westside office market, which remained steady in the third quarter, thanks to strong leasing activity, particularly from Netflix, according to a recent CBRE report.

  • Sylvia Varnham O’Regan and Mary Diduch

  • Crowdfunding was once touted as the next big thing — a way for average investors to get into the lucrative world of real estate and a way for platforms to tap a new spigot of funding.

    The space took off around 2013, when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced new rules allowing private companies to sell securities to the general public.

    That one small change — which was tucked into the 2012 federal JOBS Act — instantly increased awareness around crowdfunding and spawned a host of platforms. That was even as many (including Prodigy Network, the platform launched by Rodrigo Niño) targeted accredited investors.

    See related story — Panic at Prodigy — here 

    In 2014, Scott Whaley, president of the National Real Estate Investors Association in Cincinnati, told the Wall Street Journal that there was “massive demand, both from entrepreneurs who want to get access to capital, and from people who want to invest capital.”

    But the field has thinned since those early days, and venture capital money has retreated from the space. Globally, venture capital for crowdfunding peaked in 2015 at about $76.4 million and plummeted to $25.7 million in 2017, according to real estate tech research firm CREtech. This year, it’s bounced back to $72.2 million year-to-date.

    So far this year in the U.S., four firms — Groundfloor, RealtyMogul, Vairt and Wealth Migrate — cumulatively attracted a paltry $9.8 million.

    Zach Aarons, co-founder and partner of MetaProp, a venture capital proptech firm, said many of the crowdfunding platforms that emerged in the early days were overcapitalized and going after the same users.

    “That does not sustain itself forever,” Aarons said. “When the venture capital money runs out, the music stops.”

    Last year, industry leader RealtyShares shuttered its crowdfunding operations. The company, which had raised $870 million-plus for more than 1,160 projects over five years, failed to drum up additional capital. Meanwhile, Fundrise, which had raised $60 million, ended its crowdfunding program in 2015.

    Ben Miller, CEO and co-founder of Fundrise, said the firm shifted into raising capital for funds with lower fees in order to “mitigate risk for investors.” By switching its business model, Fundrise, like other fund managers, can raise capital before deploying it into deals and maintain control over its investments, Miller said.

    Some crowdfunding companies pool money from investors for deals that they sponsor but don’t execute. Prodigy co-develops all of its properties. And unlike many of its rivals, it has never raised venture money, though it did just recently sell stakes in its company to investors.

    Despite some high-profile issues, several sources said they are confident in the sector and that investor demand for crowdfunding is strong.

    Many of those who’ve invested through crowdfunding portals, including via Prodigy, have, in fact, made money. One investor told TRD he invested in Prodigy’s AKA Wall Street early and exited a year or two later, with no issue.

    Darren Powderly, an executive at CrowdStreet — which recently topped $800 million in equity raised — said “the interest level is exploding.”

    “The growth is just tremendous, and that is because both sides of the marketplace are hitting this network effect,” Powderly said.

    Adam Kaufman, co-founder of the Manhattan-based crowdfunding platform ArborCrowd, said the space is bifurcated and that many of the remaining players are thriving.

    “We’re starting to see some companies … experience difficulties. But at the same time, we see a lot of companies in the space who are really flourishing,” he said. “What it comes down to at the end of the day are the fundamentals.”

  • Pat Maio

  • Meridian Vice President of Acquisitions R.J. Sommerdyke, Healthcare Realty President & CEO Todd Meredith and Cotton Medical Center
    Meridian Vice President of Acquisitions R.J. Sommerdyke, Healthcare Realty President & CEO Todd Meredith and Cotton Medical Center

    A unit of Marcus & Millichap that focuses on developing and investing in medical offices has sold the Cotton Medical Center in Pasadena, nabbing a tidy profit nearly four years after buying it.

    San Ramon-based Meridian offloaded the 115,000-square foot complex near Huntington Memorial Hospital, it said Monday. Cotton Medical Center is located at 50 Bellefontaine Street and 50 Alessandro Place.

    The buyer was Healthcare Realty Trust, a Tennessee-based real estate investment trust. Terms were not disclosed but an industry pro estimated the purchase price at above $60 million. The buyer and seller were self-represented in the off-market purchase.

    That deal would be a significant increase from the $37.5 million that Meridian acquired the complex for in January 2016. At the time, it marked the firm’s biggest transaction.

    Meridian did plow over $10 million into renovations, and brought occupancy up to 86 percent, from 71 percent. Healthcare Partners and Quest Diagnostics are among the largest tenants.

    The 2.8-acre office complex consists of a four-story, 52,000-square-foot building; plus a five-story, 62,750-square-foot building and an adjacent, underground garage.

    This is only the second time in 43 years that the medical complex has traded hands in a city that is seeing a steady flow of office and residential development, and leasing deals.

  • Katherine Kallergis

  • Marcelo Claure and Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son (left) (Credit: Linkedin, iStock, Pixabay)
    Marcelo Claure and Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son (left) (Credit: Linkedin, iStock, Pixabay)

    In late September, SoftBank Group’s Marcelo Claure took to Twitter to share his goals for the upcoming month. He wanted to beat his best running time, try a dish he had never had before, watch more soccer games, and figure out his daughter’s Halloween costume.

    A Twitter follower responded: Fix WeWork.

    With a track record of creating billion-dollar companies from scratch and also turning around sinking ships, the 48-year-old billionaire Bolivian native is now tasked with his biggest challenge yet: restoring order and a path to profitability to the office startup that his boss Masayoshi Son staked his reputation on, a firm that many believe is the poster child for all that’s wrong with venture-capital-fueled startups.

    Claure, handpicked by Son, is taking on WeWork at a crucial time. It has a new executive team with little real estate experience, $45 billion in U.S. debt obligations, and only enough cash on-hand to fund operations for a few months. Because of the failed IPO and cash-crunch, thousands of layoffs are expected.

    Claure declined to comment.

    With WeWork, Claure is expected to cut costs and boost revenue — much as he did at Sprint Corp. In 2014, when he stepped in as CEO of the telecommunications company, it was losing nearly 8,000 customers a day. Three years later, it was adding nearly 14,000 customers a day.

    Claure went to “dramatic extremes to improve Sprint’s network and gain customers,” said Mike Dano, who covered the wireless industry as a reporter and editor. That included offering steep promotions and discounts in an effort to bring in more customers.

    While the company’s financials improved under Claure’s watch, the perception of its core product — cell phone reception— did not, he said.

    “It might be better than before but it’s certainly not great,” said Dano, editorial director of Light Reading’s 5G & Mobile Strategies. “He slowed the bleeding but he did not reverse the [damage].”

    “You don’t have to do what people tell you”

    Claure’s rise to the top is the stuff of lore. A serial entrepreneur as a child who was a mediocre student at American international schools, Claure completed his degree in economics and finance at Bentley College in 1993. He got his big break when he sat next to the newly-appointed Bolivian Football Federation president on a flight. By the time he landed in Quito, he had a job as general manager. After a World Cup tournament in 1994, he struck out on his own and moved back to Boston. Needing cash, he sold his frequent-flyer miles for $2,000. But when he needed to fly back to Bolivia a week later, he was told the same miles were worth $8,000 — a 400 percent markup. It’s how he got into the shady business of selling frequent flyer miles, and made an enemy of the airlines.

    “They told us it was illegal, but we found a way to do it legally,” he told Inc. Magazine in 2004. “It taught me that you don’t have to do what people tell you, no matter how powerful they are. A lot of times, we live by the limits that are given to us, and it stunts our potential.”

    Because his customers tended to impulse-call, Claure made certain his staff was available 24-7, which required lots of cell phones. He famously walked into a retail store to purchase a cell phone, and wound up buying the retail business instead. Before long, Claure was the biggest cell phone distributor in New England. In 1997, he set his sights on the international market and founded Brightstar, a Latin American cell phone distributor based in Miami.

    At the time, Latin America was in chaos — uprisings, drug wars, kidnappings, economic crashes were common — and the telecoms were retreating. Despite the risk and tight margins, Claure smelled opportunity. It was a hugely underserved market. Brightstar would do all the dirty work carriers didn’t want to do — Claure figured out all the logistics of operating with different currencies, government regulations, tariffs across South America. He built warehouses and operations teams to tackle problems as they emerged in real-time.

    Claure, known as a hands-on operator who takes risks, soon dominated the South American market and expanded globally. By 2014, Brightstar was pulling in $10.5 billion a year in revenue, pitting carriers against one another and branching into new business lines. It caught the attention of Silicon Valley’s biggest whale — Masayoshi Son.

    “King of the world”

    Claure, who cuts an imposing figure at 6 foot 6 inches and lives in a bayfront mansion in Miami Beach, was introduced to Son in Tokyo in 2012. The meeting was supposed to be quick, but Son convinced Claure to delay his return flight, and the two businessmen worked out a deal to launch a used phone buyback program in Japan, according to Forbes. The following year, when Claure was planning to sell a portion or all of his company Brightstar, Son said he would buy it. Claure was handpicked by Son to run Sprint, the nation’s third-largest carrier, in 2014, and to shepherd a controversial merger with T-Mobile, the fourth-biggest carrier.

    It’s not yet clear how much time Claure will be able to dedicate to WeWork. In addition to his role as COO of SoftBank Group, Claure leads its international operations and remains executive chairman of Sprint. Claure is also part owner and chairman of Inter Miami CF, the Major League Soccer team that is expected to start playing in March, as well as the chairman of Club Bolivar, Bolivia’s top soccer team. He also oversees the Miami-based SoftBank Innovation Fund, which plans to invest $5 billion in tech startups in Latin America.

    “Marcelo wants to be king of the world,” Clay Parker, a lawyer who has represented Brightstar and Claure, told the Miami Herald in 2018. “I think Marcelo views that everything is a stepping stone to somewhere else, [and his] view [is] if he works hard, he can accomplish it.”

    On Sunday, the Wall Street Journal reported that SoftBank, which owns one-third of WeWork, is aiming to invest several billion dollars in new equity and debt into the office startup, which would give it full control of the company. If SoftBank is successful, it would further reduce former CEO Adam Neumann’s voting power and give more operational control to Claure.

    Claure has a vested interest in turning around the company. He controls 1.025 million shares of SoftBank as of March 31, according to his SoftBank bio. The shares are currently valued at about $19.9 million, based on a per-share price of $19.49 on Friday afternoon. That value has fallen from an all-time peak of $27.93 per share in early May, partly because of WeWork’s meltdown. That’s a 30 percent drop — or $8.7 million decline — in six months.

    Having already invested $10 billion into WeWork, SoftBank needs stem the bleeding, or its stock will fall further and its Son’s upcoming Vision Fund II could suffer.

    “The results still have a long way to go,” Son said of WeWork in an interview with Nikkei Business. “And that makes me embarrassed and impatient.”

  • TRD Staff

  • E.B. Solomont (Photo by Anuja Shakya)
    E.B. Solomont (Photo by Anuja Shakya)

    The Real Deal senior reporter E.B. Solomont has won a Front Page Award from the Newswomen’s Club of New York.

    The organization, founded in 1937, recognizes the best journalism by women working in print, wire, broadcast and online media. Solomont won for her breaking-news story “Dottie Herman sells stake in Douglas Elliman for $40M.”

    Although Herman had already stepped back from the day-to-day operations at residential brokerage Douglas Elliman, the sale marked the end of an era for the residential brokerage industry. Herman partnered with Howard Lorber to buy New York City’s largest residential brokerage more than 15 years ago.

    In an interview, Herman told Solomont that selling her share was the “hardest decision” she’s ever made.

    It’s the fourth Front Page Award for Solomont. Last year she received two — for her November 2017 magazine feature “Macklowe vs. Macklowe” and the May 2018 online edition of “The death of the brokerage.” In 2015 Solomont won for her cover package “The Year of the Chinese Investor.”

    TRD senior reporter Kathryn Brenzel also nabbed a Front Page Award with former editor Elizabeth Kim for their January 2017 cover story “Real estate’s diversity problem.”

    Other recipients of this year’s Front Page Awards include the New York Times’ Nikole Hannah-Jones, the Daily Beast’s Emily Shugerman and Vice’s Isobel Yeung.

    Solomont joined The Real Deal in 2014 after stints with the St. Louis Business Journal, Jerusalem Post and New York Sun. A Boston native, she graduated from Tufts University and earned a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

  • Dennis Lynch

  • Four of the top residential listings in LA this week
    Four of the top residential listings in LA this week

    The five priciest homes to hit the market in Los Angeles County included a Beverly Hills Flats mansion from Larry King and his soon-to-be ex-wife, a spec home and a massive listing in Bel Air.

    The total added up to $147.7 million, roughly $15 million more than the prior week.

    The data and information was from the Multiple Listings Service and Redfin from Oct. 8-14.

    10410 Bellagio Road | Bel Air | $75M
    The Bellagio Estate is one of the biggest and oldest designed by pioneering architect Paul Williams to hit the market recently. The 17,700-square-foot Spanish-style mansion was built in 1931 on 1.7 acres. It has sold five times since 2005, most recently in 2015 for $38 million. The owner gave the seven-bedroom, nine-bathroom property a complete overhaul, directed by Don Ziebel of Oz Architects. The home has a large interior courtyard, two pools and spas, a tennis court, and an outdoor cabana area. Jeff Hyland and Linda May of Hilton & Hyland have the listing.

    926 N. Beverly Drive | Beverly Hills | $20M
    This 12,000-square-foot mansion packs quite a bit into its less than 17,000-square-foot lot, including a 10-car garage, screening room, gym, library, staff quarters, and a panic room. The backyard has a swimming pool and a barbecue area. The home was built in 2012 and last sold in 2015 for $13.6 million. Christopher Choo with Coldwell Banker has the listing.

    1307 Sierra Alta Way | Hollywood Hills West | $18.5M
    This 13,800-square-foot modern home has five bedrooms and 10-bathrooms. It’s also just two houses down from the former home of late musician Prince. The interiors have high ceilings and moveable glass walls that open to a landscaped backyard with a large swimming pool. Other luxe features include the screening room and a motorized wine rack that delivers bottles directly to the master suite. Qiang Zhang and Lidan Dong of Harvest Realty Development have the listing.

    2710 Bowmont Drive | Beverly Hills Post Office | $17.3M
    The only new spec home to make the top five this week is this hillside home off Mulholland Drive. It’s replete with the usual spec amenities, including movable walls, a wine room, top-grade appliances, and a game room. The home’s position in the Santa Monica mountains also give it views of both the San Fernando Valley and the city. Joyce Rey and Stephen Apelian of Coldwell Banker have the listing.

    707 N. Hillcrest Road | Beverly Hills Flats | $17M
    The home once shared by Larry King and his estranged wife Shawn Southwick hit the market as part of the couple’s divorce. The Tuscan-style home spans 10,800 square feet and features imported Italian limestone and ornate interiors keeping with its Italian-inspired design. The backyard has a pool and a guest house to add to the seven bedrooms and nine bathrooms in the main house.