Thursday, February 7, 2013

Your Mama Hears...

Hold on to your britches beotches because Your Mama hears from two separate but equally well-connected snitches that there's budding new real estate baller in Los Angeles and her name is Sybil Robson Orr. Simmer down now, children. Your Mama knows that Miz Orr isn't really a celebrity—or even a "celebrity"—but make no mistake, butter cups, the lady is loaded.

According to the research of our frequent and indefatigable informant Yolanda Yakketyak, Miz Orr's father, Nick, is the brother of Helen Robson Kempner, the now-deceased widow of Wal-Mart co-founder Sam Walton. At the time the Widda Walton went to meet her maker, in April 2007, she was listed at #29 on the Forbes 400 with an astounding net worth estimated to have been worth $16.4 billion.

We don't have any idea how much of the Wal-Mart money has trickled down into Miz Orr's coffers—plenty, it would seem, based on her much whispered about recent real estate activities, which we'll get to in a minute—but all the children know how much money those Walton people have, right?

According to a December (2012) article in/on Forbes the Walton family's total wealth hovers around $100 billion, an amount greater than that of the bottom 30% of Americans...combined. Their unfathomable fortune, built on selling massive amounts of goods and services out of big box stores at prices lower than small locally owned businesses can typically compete with, is equal to .14% of all U.S. Wealth. Whatever anyone may think of the income inequality issue in the good ol' U.S. of A., those are some jaw dropping statistics that could cause a regular, run of the mill free market capitalist to need a damn nerve pill.

In addition to whatever slice of the Wal-Mart money pie Miz Orr has or has access to—and we really don't know an iota about her income or net worth—she's married to a fellow named Matt Orr, a financier turned entrepreneur who we can all probably pretty safely assume has amassed a substantial financial nut of his own. Anyhoo...

Before Your Mama gets to the meat of the real estate part of the story let's first have a wee lesson in Los Angeles real estate geography. At the western end of the famed Sunset Strip a basket weave of winding streets twist and turn their way up into through canyons and along the ridges of the rugged Santa Monica Mountain range. The decidedly affluent neighborhood is usually referred to as "The Birds" because—you got it smarty pants—all the streets are named after birds and has long been favored by rich and famous Angelenos who both appreciate the easy-access central location and covet the exact sorts of jetliner views from which so many Tinseltown real estate dreams are made.

Near the top of The Birds there are a trio of properties that make up what is sometimes referred to in L.A. real estate circles as "the Crown," a mostly flat pie shaped promontory with unimpeded panoramic canyon, city and ocean views. It is this so-called Crown that Your Mama wants to discuss today, especially as it pertains to the aforementioned Wal-Mart heiress—and occasional film producer—Sybil Robson Orr.

In early 2010, international arts and culture maven Daria Zhukova—she's the Russian born but America bred daughter of oil tycoon and arms dealer Alexander Zhukov and the long-time lady-mate/baby momma of Russian billionaire real estate baller Roman Abramovich—dropped $19,500,000 for a bulky, 9,691 square foot ochre-colored Mediterranean mansion that occupies the Crown's 1.05 acre middle parcel.

The existing residence had been custom built in the 2000s by t.v. writer/producer Adam Chase (Friends, Veronica's Closet) who sold the property in the fall of 2006 for $19,150,000 to hedge fund honcho Robert Krail. It was the Greenwich, CT-based Mister Krail who, in turn, sold the 8 bedroom and 10 bathroom mansion in January 2010 to Miss Zhukova.

So the scuttlebutt goes, Miss Zhukova—along with Mister Abramovich, we imagine—hoped to acquire the two flanking parcels that comprise the Crown. Alas, that was not to be and, it seems, if she couldn't have the whole Crown Miss Zhukova wanted no part of the the Crown at all.

On the 15th of November Miss Zhukova's no longer wanted west coast pied-a-terre unexpectedly popped up on the real estate listing aggregator Redfin with an asking price of $16,500,000. Your Mama (dissed and) discussed the property the very next day. Almost immediately we heard from a representative of Miss Zhukova who insisted that the house was not for sale and the listing evaporated from the internets. But, lo, Miss Zhukova did, in fact, want to sell the house and did, in April 2011, for $19,500,000, exactly what she paid for it just over a year earlier. Although the name of the owner of the property is obscured behind a blind trust, according to Yolanda Yakketyak and our very well-connected contact Laurel Canyon, the buyers were none other than Sybil Robson Orr and her hubby Matthew.**

To the north of the Chase/Krail/Zhukova cum Orr mansion is a 1.22 acre lot where Mexican-born actor Ricardo Montalbán lived since the early 1980s in a boxy modern manse designed by accomplished Mexican minimalist architect Ricardo Legoretta. Easily accessible online documentation shows the property was purchased from the estate of Mister Montalbán in November 2010 for $9,000,000 by a investor/developer who spec-built a massive and glassy über-contemporary residence*** that sold to an as yet unidentified buyer in late November 2012 for—brace yourselves—$38,980,000.

The smallest of the three lots that make up the Crown lies to the east of Chase/Krail/Zhukova cum Orr property. The .66 acre spread was owned, for a short time, in the latter 1990s by music industry icon Lionel Richie In 2003 the Crown estate was acquired for $7.5 million by motivational speaker Grant Cardone who teaches sales people how to sell stuff in a hard charging yet non-confrontational manner that has become his well-honed signature style.

Real estate watchers in Los Angeles may recall that Mister Cardone wanted to unload his Bird Streets aerie since as far back as 2005. Your Mama can recall the house being listed as low as $14,900,000 and last year when Mister Cardone appeared on Selling LA he actually said on national t.v. that he'd take $16 million for the mini-estate. However, being the salesman he his, he must have sniffed out some serious real estate desire because property records reveal that Mister Cardone figured out how to get someone to quietly pay $17,000,000 for the property in an off-market deal in August 2012.

The Cardone property, according to listing details still accessible online, includes a single story villa (of indeterminate architectural style) with five bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms in 6,099 square feet. Listing details go on to show the .67 acre spread is also jam-packed with a separate guest house, a shaded loggia, party-sized terraces, a negative edge salt water swimming pool and spa plus a tennis court.

Now here's where things get really interesting, children. The identity of the buyer of Mister Cardone's house is obscured behind a blind trust but according to both Yolanda Yakkety Yak and Laurel Canyon, the buyers were—didja already guess it?—the Wal-Mart heiress and her financier husband.

Those of you that have made it this far may wonder why Mister and Missus Orr would spend $17 million to buy the house next door the the $19.5 million house they bought just a couple years ago. Well, sit tight 'cause we're gonna tell you. Yolanda Yakkeyak told Your Mama that word on the Bird Street real estate gossip grapevine is that the Orrs—who also maintain a residence in London—purchased the old Richie/Cardone property because "they feel a bit crowded up there." Their plan, according to Yolanda, is to raze the existing residence, remove the swimming pool and tennis court, re-route the driveway and add a guesthouse.

As if the Orrs spending $17 million for a property that they just want to tear down so they can have a guest house and more impressive driveway isn't enough to make the children pee their property panties wait until you hear what Laurel Canyon later told Your Mama Mister and Missus Orr want to do up there on the Bird Streets Crown. According to Miz Canyon, not only do Mister and Missus Orr plan to level the old Richie/Cardone they also plan to tear down the Chase/Krail/Zhukova cum Orr mansion so they can start completely fresh.

Did you gasp? We did when we first heard it too. Take a minute to think about that, hunties. If there is any veracity to these whispers and rumors, Mister and Missus Orr coughed up a hair raising $36,500,000 for a pair of parcels that combined come to just 1.73 acres. Sure, they are two prime pieces of land and 1.73 acres does provide some room to roam right in the middle of one of the world's largest urban centers but, people, that's nearly forty million for the land.

The ever-knowledgeable Miz Canyon thinks that it'll probably take another $20-25million to custom build a house and install grounds worthy of a piece of land for which someone has paid $36,500,000. This is not the sort of spot where somebody throws up some 3,500 square foot pre-fab thing. No, babies, this is where someone inordinately rich builds a serious residential monument to their wealth, power and privilege. And that, children, is exactly what Your Mama, Yolanda and Laurel Canyon all expect Mister and Missus Orr will do.

Yolanda tattled to Your Mama that she knows of a couple other Wal-Mart heiresses who own homes in the Bird Streets 'hood but that's really another story for another day.

*Christy Walton, the widow of Sam Walton's second oldest son John, may in fact be the richest woman in the world.  She comes in at #6 on the Forbes 400 list, as of September 2012, with has an estimated net worth of $27.9 billion; Jim Walton, the youngest of Sam Walton's progeny, ranked #7 with an estimated net worth of $26.8 billion; Alice Walton, Sam's only daughter, came in at #8 with an estimated net worth of $26.3 billion; With an estimated net worth of $26.1 billion, S. Robson Walton, Sam's oldest, slotted in at #9.

The other side of the Walton family, the descendants of Sam Walton's (deceased) brother Bud, doesn't seem to have nearly as much money as their spectacularly rich cousins but they're hardly hurting. Ann (Walton) Kroenke, Bud's oldest, came in at #79 on the Forbes 400 list as of September 2012 with a net worth of $4.5 billion. Ann's younger and only sibling, Nancy (Walton) Laurie—bless her heart—has the least amount of money of all her Walton cousins. She ranked #100 and—ahem—makes do with an estimated $3.9 billion.

**Use yer noggins now, chickens. Your Mama can't prove Mister and/or Missus Orr own the house with property records. We're going on information provided to Your Mama by two oft-proven very reliable sources with deep connections to the high end real estate whirl in Los Angeles and as reliable as these two are it's all just some high end real estate rumor and least until one of the property  gossips in one of the more respectable media outlets reports it.

***Thanks to one of the children for the link to the link to photos of the new house built where Montalbán's Legoretta once stood.