2020 in L.A. is already off to a pricey start, at least where real estate is concerned. Last week, billionaire Ivanhoe Mines magnate Robert Friedland and his wife Darlene paid a hair under $26 million — $25.95, to be exact — for a contemporary showpiece in the Hollywood Hills, within the Doheny Estates enclave and near the famed Bird Streets.
Though that sale price is barely half of the profoundly unrealistic $44 million original pricetag, it’s still a surprisingly colossal number. Most real estate onlookers never thought the house — whose style has become all but ubiquitous in the surrounding neighborhoods — would fetch more than $20 million.
Built on speculation by a Beverly Hills-based businessman named Jean Jacques Allouche, the pricey mini-compound was completed in 2017 and features a blocky mansion of roughly 10,000 square feet, plus a detached garage/guesthouse connected to the main house via an underground tunnel.
Like many homes in the hills, the mansion is sited rather hard up on the street, though gates and tall hedges imbue it with some measure of privacy. A surprisingly spacious motorcourt is capable of accommodating ten automobiles, though the property has essentially no landscaped yard.
Glassy and monolithic in nature, the home’s interiors adhere to an austere color palette of blacks, grays and off-whites. A floor-to-ceiling fireplace in the great room will awe guests, as will the various disappearing walls of glass and spectacular westward views to the Century City skyline, the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island.
The home’s lower level packs in lavish recreational amenities like a “European spa” and a massive soundproof theater. There’s also a glass-encased and temperature-controlled wine closet and an adjacent wet bar with thick slabs of dark grey marble ribbed with streaks of gold. Expansive indoor/outdoor living areas include vast stone terraces for entertaining, a firepit and negative-edged swimming pool with inset spa.
Nice as the Hollywood Hills mansion is, it rather pales in comparison to the Friedlands’ former home up in Northern California’s San Francisco Bay Area. In 2015, that historic hilltop property — known as Locksley Hall — was sold for a record-breaking $47.5 million to venture capitalist Matt Cohler, one of Facebook’s first five employees and an early investor in Instagram.
Though Bird Street prices have slumped badly in recent years, with at least one home selling at a $10+ million loss, things may finally be on the upswing once again. In addition to this $26 million deal, it’s been widely rumored that two side-by-side area mansions are in escrow with the same billionaire buyer for a total of approximately $70 million.