Biggest Real Estate Deal of 2020: Jeff Bezos Buys LA Mansion for $165 Million

From a Wall Street Journal story by Katherine Clarke about “The Biggest Real Estate Deals of 2020”:

Many U.S. billionaires got richer during the pandemic, thanks in part to the recovery of global stock markets. It’s perhaps unsurprising then that, while individual markets were impacted to dramatically different degrees, the ultra-high end of the real-estate market didn’t crash in 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.

While the New York City market took a gut punch as wealthy Manhattanites fled the city, markets such as the Hamptons, Greenwich, Conn., Palm Beach and Los Angeles boomed. Local realtors attributed that uptick in part to the increasing fortunes of the wealthiest Americans, a desire by the rich to get out of densely populated environments and a rise in the number of people who wanted to upsize to larger homes with space for work-from-home friendly amenities like offices and gyms. . . .

1. The Warner Estate in Los Angeles, Calif. | $165 million

In many ways, Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos [owner of the Washington Post] has been a key figure during the pandemic, as his company’s stock price skyrocketed amid increased demand for online shopping. In April, he closed on a deal to buy the Warner Estate, the glamorous 1930s-era mansion designed for the late Warner Bros. president Jack Warner, from David Geffen for $165 million, setting a price record for a Los Angeles home. It was a direct, off-market deal with no agents involved, The Wall Street Journal reported. Neither Mr. Bezos nor Mr. Geffen commented on the deal.

Sitting on 9 acres, the property, located in the Benedict Canyon area, has its own 9-hole golf course, several guest houses, a tennis court and sprawling gardens. “No studio czar’s residence, before or since, has ever surpassed in size, grandeur, or sheer glamour the Jack Warner Estate on Angelo Drive in Benedict Canyon,” wrote veteran Los Angeles real-estate agent Jeff Hyland in his book, “The Legendary Estates of Beverly Hills.”

Jade Mills of Coldwell Banker Global Luxury, who was not involved with the deal, said the gargantuan transaction inspired others to get out their checkbooks. “It helps our market to have those very high sales,” she said. “People feel if the billionaires are buying then it’s a good time.”

8. Kennedy Winter White House in Palm Beach, Fla. | $70 million

A Palm Beach mansion formerly owned by the Kennedy family, and used by President John F. Kennedy as a winter retreat, sold for $70 million in June to a real estate developer, who filed plans to upgrade it.

The seller was the New York real estate billionaire Jane Goldman, who bought the property in 2015 for $31 million, records show. The Kennedys owned the property starting in the 1930s when it was purchased by John F. Kennedy’s father, Joseph P. Kennedy, according to the book “The Kennedy Curse: Why Tragedy Has Haunted America’s First Family for 150 Years,” by Edward Klein. The family sold it in the 1990s, records show.

The property, a sprawling Mediterranean-style estate spanning more than 15,000 square feet, is located on North Ocean Boulevard. Neither Mr. Panattoni nor Ms. Goldman could be reached for comment.

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