Thursday, April 18, 2013

Your Mama Hears...

...from Peter Propertypurveyor that influential L.A.-based philanthropist and high culture power player Wallis Annenberg has engaged the services of a well-known and very discreet real estate agent to quietly float her very contemporary ocean front home in Malibu's guard-gated Colony enclave as an off-market listing with an astronomic $49,000,000 price tag.

In case you don't know, Miz Annenberg is the only surviving child of the late multi-billionaire publishing and media magnate, art collector, philanthropist, former ambassador to Britain, and Ronald Reagan b.f.f. Walter Annenberg. After her step-mother Leonore "Lee" Annenberg passed on to the other side in 2009 Wallis Annenberg became the head honcho of The Annenberg Foundation, the family's eponymous $1.6-plus billion charitable juggernaut that has given away well over $4 billion since it was established by Walter Annenberg in the late 1980s.

Nonagenarian Los Angeles socialite Betsy Bloomingdale—her husband Alfred was an heir to the Bloomingdales department store fortune—quipped in a 2009  in Vanity Fair that Miz Annenberg "is becoming the Brooke Astor of Los Angeles." That, children, is high praise in the rarefied and increasingly microscopic milieu of well born, well married and/or well divorced helmet-haired senior citizen socialites who have—or, in some cases, had—deep pockets for their chosen charitable causes. Anyhoo...

Property records reveal Miz Annenberg, now in her seventies, long-divorced and the mother of four grown children, acquired the Malibu beach house in October 2006 through an ambiguously named trust that shelled out $22,750,000 for the extra-wide ocean front parcel and existing house, then an architecturally out-moded cedar-shingled 1970s-ish contemporary once owned by the late actor Michael Landon.

Miz Annenberg hired accomplished and esteemed Santa Monica-based architect Frederick Fisher* who transformed the old girl into a new-fangled study of slate gray stucco, shimmering glass and horizontally applied Ipe wood cladding. Rancho Mirage-based decorator Sam Cardella added the modern organic interior finishings, fittings and furnishings including a monolithic hot rolled steel fireplace in the living room. The results may not be to one's particular taste by they are none-the-less spectacular and have been published in at least two upper-end lifestyle and shelter publications (Town and Country via Curbed, C California Style).

The Los Angeles County Tax Man's records and various other articles about the house found on the interweb shows the house has five bedrooms and seven bathrooms in 6,913 square feet. When the sometimes fickle coastal weather permits numerous decks allow for easy indoor-outdoor living and a heated lap pool means Miz Annenberg and her house guests can swim year round regardless of wind and fog.

As it turns out, Miz Annenberg's portfolio of private residences includes a second house in the Malibu Colony. Property records show that in March 2010 Miz Annenberg, again through the ambiguously named trust, paid $6,000,000 for the house directly across the street from the one she already owned and now—allegedly—wants to sell. The L.A. Tax Man's records show the small, single-story hip roof ranch-style bungalow sits on just over a quarter acre lot and has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a detached two car garage and a pill-shaped swimming pool.

The civic-minded Miz Annenberg also maintains a 6,736 square foot townhouse-type condo at the guard-gated Century Woods community in Century City. A quick peek into property records shows Miz Annenberg has owned the four bedroom and five bathroom townhouse since at least the late 1990s.

Fun real estate factoid #1: Although she doesn't live in either one of them—remember all the recent brouhaha about not being able to extend the lease on her rental apartment until construction and decoration of her $47 million penthouse at The Century was complete—Candy Spelling owns two of the townhouse condo residences at Century Woods.

Fun real estate factoid #2: In the 1970s Miz Annenberg's father paid around $2 million for a 22-room Tudor mansion on in Beverly Hills. The stately and dignified Wallace Neff-designed residence, originally built in the 1930s, was once owned by an heir to the great Vanderbilt fortune and was later owned for a few years by long ago divorced Tinseltowners Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. The house—and the one next door—are currently owned by hedge hog Jon Brooks.

*A spin through Mister Fisher's website reveals that Wallis Annenberg has kept Mister Fisher and his eponymous firm very busy over the years. In addition to doing over her beach house residence in Malibu, Mister Fisher also transformed the remains of the old William Randolph Hearst/Marion Davies beach side estate in Santa Monica into what's now known as The Annenberg Community Beach House, a magnificent, wildly popular and free public swimming and beach-going facility on five very prime ocean front acres in Santa Monica. Additionally Mister Fisher designed the building that houses the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Center for Information Science and Technology at CalTech as well as the newly built Sunnylands Center & Garden at the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands, the 200-plus acre Rancho Mirage (CA) winter home of Walter and Lee Annenberg.

photos: Lisa Romerein for C (California Style)