Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Philanthropist Barbara Davis Lists L.A. Condo at a Loss

SELLER: Barbara Davis
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $1,885,000
SIZE: 2 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Last week a little birdie whispered to Your Mama that Los Angeles doyenne Barbara Davis–octogenarian widow of oil and entertainment tycoon Marvin Davis–wants to move house. Sho enuf, puppies, her condo crib in a Wilshire Corridor high-rise near Century City in Los Angeles was just listed with an asking price of $1,885,000.

Helmet-haired charity types know the formidable but friendly Miz Davis as the she-rah behind the long-running bi-annual Carousel of Hope Ball, a lavish fundraiser for childhood diabetes that the L.A. Times once described as the "biggest, richest, puttin’-on-the-ritziest, arguably most successful and longest-running good-deed society event in town."

Tabloid and gossip glossy readers best know Miz Davis as the wealthy grand-muhmaw of a Tinseltown club hoppers and frequent trouble makers Jason and Brandon Davis. And, of course, the real estate fiends out there recognize Miz Davis as the gem-encrusted former chatelaine of The Knoll, a hulking Roland Coate-designed mansion perched on a gated 10-plus acre promontory above Beverly Hills, CA. The 25,437 square foot Georgian mansion was originally built for wildly wealthy widow Lucy Doheny Battson who moved from the legendary and even larger Greystone estate next door. The Knoll has had a succession of high-profile owners since the Doheny-Battsons including Oscar-winning producer Dino De Laurentis and country king Kenny Rogers who sold the high-maintenance estate in 1984 for $20,250,000 Mister and Missus Davis.

The Davis fortune was was once estimated to be as high as five or more billion bucks but the financial gossips have more recently pegged their shrinking fortune to somewhere in the neighborhood of half a billion clams, still wildly rich by any standard except that of someone who used to be worth five billion big ones.

After Mister Davis went to meet The Great Speculator in the Sky in 2004, The Knoll was put up for sale with an elephantine asking price of $59,000,000. It was sold in early 2005, according to property records, for $39,352,500 to tool and die tycoon Eric Smidt. Mister and Missus Smidt, who own one of the largest multi-parcel spreads in the steroidal Beverly Park community, hired mega-mansion specialists Hablinski + Manion to transform the white-brick Georgian into a Regency-style residence of epic proportions. The children may find it interesting to note that the 2008 taxes on The Knoll–which may or may not still be called The Knoll–ran a staggering $436,505.71 according to public records.

Anyhoo, in perfect west coast style, after Miz Davis sold The Knoll in 2005 she reportedly moved into a bungalow at the casually elegant (and sort of campy) but always fashionable Beverly Hills Hotel, which her husband, dontcha know, once owned. Eventually Miz Davis tired of hotel living and moved to The Wilshire apartment tower along the Wilshire Corridor near Century City. Title records show Miz Davis purchased the pad in May 2006 for $2,295,000, a number that means that even with a full-price sale Miz Davis faces a significant $410,000 loss.

This is not the first time Miz Davis has donned her silver lamé cowboy boots and rode the mechanical bull at this particular honky tonky; She's had her condo at The Wilshire on and off the market since March 2010. Current listing information shows the mid-floor unit measures 2,257 square feet–probably smaller than her bedroom at The Knoll–and includes 2 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms.

A private elevator landing furnished with a rococo console–or maybe it's baroque, what do we know?–matching mirror and a framed photograph of Mister and Missus Davis sets the stage for the black and white marble floored foyer and main living spaces that include a "formal" living room with floor to ceiling windows, white wall to wall carpeting, flat-screen tee-vee mounted above the fireplace, built-in bookshelves and glass doors to the balcony. The day-core, somewhat particular to agéd west coast society matrons , mixes "modern" things such as the white roll-armed sofas and glass and chrome coffee table with fussy and stuffy 18th- and 19th-century antiques (and antique reproductions).

The black and white marble floor in the foyer continues down the long thin corridor that leads to the bedrooms as well as into Miz Davis's dining room furnished with a blackamoor or two, florid giltwood mirror and gilt-accented dining room chairs. Glass doors open the room to a small planted terrace with panoramic views. The dining room connects to the perfectly serviceable and well-equipped if out-dated galley-style kitchen with adjoining service entrance and laundry room.

It appears to Your Mama that Miz Davis uses the second bedroom–with private en suite facility–as an office which would be a far better place for the gigantic treadmill she has sitting right up next to her bed in the the master suite. Listen, children, Miz Davis is an old woman and we applaud her for getting herself some goddam exercise instead of just sitting around letting her bones go brittle. However, we just don't know how a person–particularly one who fancies herself a refined lady of dignity and elevated social stature–can close their eyes and drift off to a peaceful slumber with that body torture device looming over them in the most menacing of manners. In addition to the treadmill–which we imagine Miz Davis will take with her–the master bedroom includes built in bookcases, two walk-in closets and a beige marble and mirrored bathroom with two sinks and separate shower and jetted tub.

The Wilshire building, 27 stories tall and built in 1990, offers its well-heeled residents the ease and convenience of condo living in a city where high-maintenance landscaping is de rigueur and white-glove services that include doormen, on-site parking with valet services, 24-hour concierge and fitness facilities that include a swimming pool. Former famous residents of the building include Farrah Fawcett and Charlie Sheen.

Miz Davis and her Real Estate face some stiff condo competition right in her own building where a 2,084 square foot unit with 2 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms carries a price tag of $1,999,000. Another unit with 2,776 square feet, 3 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms is currently listed at $1,885,000.

We hear through the high-society gossip grapevine that Miz Davis is considering a move two blocks down the road to The Carlyle Residences where–we're told by a snitch we'll call Willie Wilshireboolayvard–showbiz widda Candy Spelling recently leased temporary digs. Miz Spelling, currently in the process of selling her white elephant in the Holmby Hills for somewhere around eighty million clams, needed a place to camp out while the interior fittings of her new 16,000-ish square foot penthouse at The Century are completed.

listing photos: Unlimited Style Real Estate for Sotheby's International Realty