Every day during Whale Week, Curbed will pull back the curtain on one of the most voracious real estate spenders on the planet, an individual (or group of individuals) who catapult the simple act of buying and selling homes into the realm of the absurd. Care to suggest the next Whale of the Day? Hit up the tipline.Background photo: leonid_tit/Shutterstock. Ellison: Helga Esteb/Shutterstock.
At a spry 26 years of age, movie producer Megan Ellison might have been forgiven for moving back into one of her billionaire father's many homes and whiling away her days on the beaches of his $500M private Hawaiian island or in a temple on his $100M Japanese-inspired Bay Area estate. Instead, she has carved out a professional niche as a backer of high-brow films, using—unsurprisingly—seed money from dad. While she was accumulating producer credits on films like The Master, True Grit, and Zero Dark Thirty, Ellison was also busy buying up prime property.
↑ Shortly after deciding to settle in Los Angeles, Ellison fell in love with a neighborhood known as The Birds—after the area's avian-named streets—and spent close to $36M on three adjacent properties on a prime stretch of Nightingale Drive. The first of her acquisitions was this sleek modern number renovated by modernist architect Steve Hermann. Ellison spent a then-neighborhood-record $12.6M on the three-bed, four-bath spread, which boasts stunning views of city lights and what must be one of the country's coolest closets. After snapping up the other two properties, she apparently got a case of cold feet about the first purchase, and listed the place for $15.5M. After it failed to find a buyer, Ellison pulled it from the market, keeping the compound intact.
↑ Next, Ellison set her sights on the house next door, previously owned by back-room media mogul Byron Allen, and paid Allen $6.5M for the low-slung home. The 3,500-square-foot modernist pile was also touched by the hand of Steve Hermann, who added the grain-matched marble walls and, presumably, much of the glass. The facade isn't much to look at, but make it to the backyard and all is forgotten, as the whole city unfolds in front of the sizable swimming pool.
↑ The final piece of the puzzle is also the least architecturally impressive—or at least was before Ellison undoubtedly revamped the interiors to her taste. Thankfully, given the astronomical price she paid for it, this is also the largest of the three, with a four-bedroom main house and a two-story guest house, separated by a lawn and swimming pool. The mansion, which once served as the party-happy "Esquire House," was originally listed for $18.9M, but Ellison snapped it up for just $13.75M. Just.
To put all of these high-dollar transactions into the context of Megan's father's massive wealth, consider this: Larry Ellison spending $500M on a Hawaiian island was the equivalent of a family with a $1M net worth buying a used Chevy Impala, according to Forbes. That makes Megan's $36M outlay the equivalent of the change one might find in the cupholders of said Chevy.
· Curbed's Biggest Real Estate Spender of 2012: Larry Ellison [Curbed National]
· Billionaire Software Heiress Lists One of her Excess Estates [Curbed National]
· Is Byron Allen Flipping Out? [The Real Estalker]
· Oracle Heiress and Producer Megan Ellison Expands Bird Street Compound [The Real Estalker]
· At Estimated 16 Cents PSF, Larry Ellison's Hawaiian Island Purchase Is A Steal [Forbes]
· All Whale Week 2013 posts [Curbed National]