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Jeff Bezos shatters California record with $165-million purchase of Geffen mansion

Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos has gone on a spending spree in the L.A. luxury real estate market.
(Cliff Owen / Associated Press)

Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos just obliterated California’s home sale price record, paying $165 million for David Geffen’s famed Warner estate in Beverly Hills, according to real estate sources with knowledge of the deal. The mammoth sale was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The purchase of the Warner estate is the most ever paid for a home in California, topping Lachlan Murdoch’s $150-million purchase late last year of Bel-Air’s “Beverly Hillbillies” mansion.

Spanning nine acres, Bezos’ new showplace was originally designed in Spanish Colonial Revival style but was reimagined as a grand Georgian mansion in the 1930s by architect Roland Coate for movie mogul Jack Warner, according to the book “Master Architects of Southern California 1920–1940: Roland E. Coate.” Geffen had owned the home since 1990, when he paid $47.5 million for it in an all-cash deal, the Los Angeles Times previously reported.

“It looks like Versailles,” Geffen said at the time.

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The Jack Warner estate in Beverly Hills
Media mogul David Geffen paid $47.5 million in cash for the Beverly Hills estate of movie mogul Jack Warner in 1990. He’s sold the property to Jeff Bezos for a record $165 million.
(NearMap)

At the time of Geffen’s purchase, the property featured eight bedrooms, a card room, a screening room and a domed bar. Geffen was particularly interested in Warner’s office, which had been left intact, according to the book “David Geffen Builds, Buys and Sells the New Hollywood.”

Outside, the property holds a golf course, a series of fern gardens, fountains and sculptures. A 300-foot, tree-lined drive ends at a circular motor court. Elsewhere on the grounds are a pool and tennis court.

“David has the best taste of anybody, so you have the richest guy in the world buying the best of the best,” said Stephen Shapiro of Westside Estate Agency. “Why would he settle for anything less?”

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Bezos is currently ranked by Forbes and Bloomberg as the world’s richest man, with a net worth of $131 billion.

It’s not his only purchase in the 90210 ZIP Code. In 2007, he shelled out $24.45 million for a Spanish-style estate on two acres in Beverly Hills. A decade later, he bought a 1950s house right next to it for $12.9 million.

Bezos also owns homes in Seattle, Texas and Washington, D.C. Last year, he reportedly dropped about $80 million on a trio of adjoining apartments in New York City. The 2019 Land Report, which identifies the country’s 100 largest landowners, ranked him 25th.

For Geffen, it’s the most high-profile sale on record, but over the years, the movie and music mogul has bought and sold prized properties at the same rate that people change their oil.

One of his biggest splashes came in 2017, when he sold his Malibu compound on Carbon Beach for $85 million. The property had been an ongoing issue for the 76-year-old, who fought with the California Coastal Commission to block people from accessing the beach near the home. At one point, he even installed fake garage doors to discourage drivers from parking on the curb out front.

A few months later, he unloaded another home in the beach community for a relatively modest $8 million. The following year, he made a move on the East Coast, selling his Manhattan apartment for $24.5 million.

He switched into buy mode in 2019, picking up a Beverly Hills Midcentury for $4.65 million and an empty acre nearby for $30 million. Many assume Geffen has big plans in store for the undeveloped land.

Found in the ultra-exclusive enclave of Billionaire’s Row, it came with blueprints for a 24,500-square-foot mansion with seven bedrooms, 14 bathrooms and a 140-foot swimming pool. It’s surrounded by some of the most valuable homes in the area, including Minecraft creator Markus Persson’s $70-million spec mansion and businessman Evan Metropoulos’s $65-million trophy home.

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The $165-million sale marks the fifth time since 2016 that a fresh L.A. County price record has been set. The record once belonged to Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Mansion, which traded hands for $100 million four years ago.

The record held until 2018, when Hard Rock Café co-founder Peter Morton sold his oceanfront Malibu compound to natural gas billionaire Michael S. Smith for $110 million. Found on Billionaire’s Beach, the prized two-parcel property includes two contemporary homes with 100 feet of beach frontage.

The year after, the record fell once more when Petra Ecclestone, daughter of Formula One billionaire Bernie Ecclestone, sold the Manor in Holmby Hills for $119.75 million. The sale broke the record not only for L.A. County but also for all of California.

Bigger than the White House at 56,500 square feet, the W-shaped chateau was built in 1991 for late producer Aaron Spelling and his widow, Candy Spelling. Among its 123 rooms are 14 bedrooms, 27 bathrooms, a barbershop, bowling alley, nightclub and French wine and cheese room with sidewalk-café-style tables and chairs.

A few months later, a new mark was set in Bel-Air when Murdoch, son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, dropped the aforementioned $150 million on Chartwell — otherwise known as the “Beverly Hillbillies” mansion.

Featured in the opening credits of the beloved sitcom, the recognizable home spans 25,000 square feet on 10 acres. French neoclassical in style, the limestone-clad mansion boasts a Gatsby-esque ballroom, a vaulted foyer and custom wine cellar with room for 12,000 bottles. Also thrown in was the former home of President Reagan, which sits behind the main estate.


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