By Sid Lipsey
Supermodel and entrepreneur Tyra Banks is known for her business savvy, with a net worth estimated at $90 million. Her latest financial target: She aims to make a tidy profit on her nearly century-old Beverly Hills mansion.
It’s a goal that would surely get a nod of approval from one former resident: William Randolph Hearst’s longtime paramour, and Banks’ sister-in-fierceness, the actress and businesswoman Marion Davies.
Banks bought the home in 2004 for about $3 million, Yahoo Real Estate learned from property records. That was the year after the debut of “America’s Next Top Model,” the hit reality TV show she hosts and executive-produces – now in its 22nd “cycle.” (She’s also host of a new daytime talk show called “FABLife,” co-starring Yahoo’s own Joe Zee.)
She said in a statement provided to Yahoo Real Estate by her listing agency, Sotheby’s International Realty, that Davies’ tenure in the home was a definite selling point:
“I loved living in this house. The stunning Spanish architecture spoke to me the minute I walked in the door. And then, when I discovered that the movie star, and companion to William Randolph Hearst, Marion Davies, was a previous owner, I was ecstatic. Why? Because she was financially savvy. She listened to the recommendations of Hearst’s financial advisors and, while her peers were putting themselves into debt, she invested wisely in real estate. As a businesswoman myself, starting my own self-funded cosmetics company, I was impressed.”
Hearst used his vast media holdings to promote Davies’ acting career, but she wasn’t some rich guy’s arm candy. She reportedly was a millionaire several times over when she died in 1961, having owned mansions and castles, the Desert Inn in Palm Springs, and several New York City office buildings.
Banks has renovated the 1926 Spanish Colonial – “without compromising its original architectural elements,” the listing assures – and is now asking $7,750,000 for it. She spent about $2 million on renovations, listing agent Heidi Lake told the Wall Street Journal, so she stands to make about double her money if it sells at that price. The home has four bedrooms and seven bathrooms in its 6,000 square feet.
The master bedroom has a sitting room, a walk-in closet, and city views when you feel like gazing out at the world (and a safe room, in case you don’t). There are two additional bedroom suites, a media room, library, sun room, formal dining room, chef’s kitchen, gym and maid’s quarters. Outside, the 11,000-square-foot lot includes a casita, a kitchen with seating for 12, and a fire pit near the heated swimming pool.
So why is Tyra parting with this home once occupied by a kindred spirit? Simply put, she found something better. “I did not expect to move, and was not looking for another home. until I discovered a property in the Malibu Hills through a friend,” she said.
But she admits she’ll miss the “breezy afternoons with friends lounging by the pool, where we waxed poetic about how we imagined Davies and Hearst wined and dined in the many rooms we spent so many memorable moments in.”
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