Hot Property

Newsletter: Hot Property: Big digs

There are a lot of points of pride where housing is concerned: a stellar view, a revered architect, the latest amenities. But size is still a big deal for the moneyed and famous.

Here's a look at some of the mega-mansions that made the news last week.

Lauren Beale and Neal J. Leitereg

Pennies on the dollar

Rapper 50 Cent, who may have just that in the bank after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this summer, has discounted his home in Farmington, Conn., to $8.5 million. That's a $10-million reduction in price from when he first listed it for sale in 2007.

The 51,657-square-foot home, with a helicopter pad, a recording studio and 21 bedrooms, was formerly owned by boxer Mike Tyson, who sold the property to 50 Cent in 2003 for $4.1 million.

The rapper spends about $72,000 a month to maintain grounds that include indoor and outdoor pools, a pond, a basketball court, multiple guesthouses and formal gardens, according to court documents.

50 Cent has dropped the price on his 17-acre estate in Farmington, Conn., to $8.5 million. (

Oops, she did it again

Britney Spears may have taken her act to the city that never sleeps, but she’s still a spotlight stealer around these parts. Linked to various rental properties in recent years, the pop music star made a major splash as a home buyer with the purchase of a 21-acre estate in Thousand Oaks for $7.4 million.

Part of an enclave originally developed by Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis, the gated 12,464-square-foot Italian villa counts a dramatic two-story entry, a 3,500-bottle wine cellar and an elevator among its features. A three-green golf course with sand traps, a lighted tennis court, an infinity pool and an orchard complete the hilltop setting.

Britney Spears' new home is set among rolling hills with mountain and panoramic views. (

Off-market intrigue

Following in the footsteps of brother Maurice Marciano, who recently sold his Westside home to billionaire Steve Wynn for nearly $48 million, Guess jeans co-founder Armand Marciano completed a $32.67-million sale of his Beverly Crest home. The deal played out off-market.

Built in 2001, the 25,000-square-foot home sits on about three acres with a mosaic-tiled swimming pool, a pool/guest house, a tennis court, orchards and a fountain. There are 10 bedrooms, 10 full bathrooms and 12 powder rooms across three floors.

Built in 2001, the Beverly Hills-area estate has nearly 25,000 square feet of living space. (Nick Springett)

Vineyard at a discount

The Napa estate of the late actor Robin Williams encompasses 640 acres of vineyards and hiking trails. Centered on 20,000 square feet of living space, the place has been reduced in price to $22.9 million — a 23% drop from early last year.

The asking price of the Napa estate of the late Robin Williams has been reduced by $3 million. (Jacob Elliott | Inset: Ken Hively)

Point and counterpoint

Just so you don’t think everyone in Hollywood has outsize mansions, actress Carla Gallo of “Bones” has listed her 932-square-foot home in L.A.’s Sawtelle area for $885,000.

The tidy Spanish-style bungalow was no doubt average size when built in 1931. The median square footage of a newly built single-family home in the U.S. was 2,385 at the end of last year, according to the National Assn. of Home Builders.

Carla Gallo has listed her home in the Westside's Sawtelle area for $885,000. (Charmaine David; Inset: Getty Images)

Tumbling down the years

Ten years ago, actor and “The Passion of the Christ” director Mel Gibson scooped up a third house in Malibu for $24.5 million. The “Braveheart” Oscar winner would sell the 7,000-square-foot Mediterranean with 155 feet of beachfront for $23 million two years later.

Twenty years ago, “Edward Scissorhands” actor Johnny Depp bought celebrity divorce lawyer Marvin Mitchelson’s former Hollywood Hills home. The 1922 castle-like house, which Mitchelson lost to the bank, was owned in the 1930s by early “Dracula” star Bela Lugosi. Depp still owns this house and four other properties on the same street.

Thirty years ago, actor Gene Hackman sold his 25-acre Santa Barbara estate for $5.5 million. The 15,000-square-foot Mediterranean villa included a screening room he converted from a dining room. “The French Connection” Oscar winner sold because he “wanted to move back to Los Angeles," said agent Jeff Hyland at the time.

What we’re reading

— In an attempt to avoid New York City’s “mansion tax” — a 1% surcharge on properties sold for seven figures or more — sellers are pricing their homes just below that mark at $995,000 or $999,000. Although $1 million could perhaps buy a Manhattan mansion in 1989 when the charge was instituted, the tax has not kept pace with today’s inflated housing prices.

— After recent reports that four of the state’s top five water-guzzling households are in Bel-Air, the L.A. City Council is calling for a crackdown. The Department of Water and Power will report back within a month on measures that can be taken to stop water abuse.

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