Real Estate newsletter: Lavish mansions and hidden ADUs

Welcome back to the real estate newsletter. As the summer gets hotter, the deals get bigger, and this week’s headlines have been dominated by some of the largest, most expensive mansions on the market in Southern California.

Two of the most intriguing entries were linked to two big names. The more expensive of the couple arrived at the Beverly Hills Post Office, where the lavish estate of late Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen went on sale for a cool $ 55.5 million. The house itself is fine and all, but the amenities are the selling point; It has a separate cinema building, a 9,200 square meter recording studio and a glass funicular that takes guests from the picturesque swimming pool to the tennis court.

A few miles east in Hancock Park, Shonda Rhimes is hoping to keep the momentum going. Fresh from her lucrative Netflix deal, the prolific producer listed her century-old home for $ 25 million, which she remodeled with the help of Barack Obama’s interior designer Michael Smith.

Hidden Hills also saw some action when Sixers star Ben Simmons bought a bold black farmhouse for $ 17.5 million. There’s no basketball court, but there is a guest house, two pools, and a floating staircase that winds around a bonsai tree.

If villas aren’t your thing, check out something smaller: a 740-square-foot unit tucked away behind an Echo Park house that blends artisan and Scandinavian styles. A lively mixture of glass and green, the ADU somehow saves enough space for the owner’s peloton.

Good news on the commercial front: LA County’s office rental market is slowly stabilizing after the pandemic left the market in its worst condition since the Great Recession. Companies are still losing space, but more slowly than a year ago.

While you catch up on the latest, visit and like our Facebook page, where you can find property stories and updates all week.

There are tons of toys in the billionaire’s house

The 3 hectare property includes a main house from the 1920s, a guest house, a recording studio, a cinema and a glass funicular.

The 3 hectare complex includes a main house from the 1920s, a guest house, a recording studio, a cinema and a glass funicular that leads from the pool to the tennis court.

(Anthony Barcelo)

When Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen died in 2018, he left behind a statewide collection of valuable real estate, including a sprawling ranch in Idaho, a penthouse in Manhattan, a mansion in the Bay Area, and an abundance of waterfront homes nearby his hometown of Seattle. His newest home was up for sale in the Beverly Hills Post Office: a magnificent hilltop residence available for $ 55.5 million.

The dramatic Spanish style retreat is Allen’s second lot currently available at 90210. A few miles to the west is his legendary piece of land known as Enchanted Hill – a 150-acre vacant lot overlooking the city – at $ 95 million.

The $ 55.5 million offer is more likely to move in, as five buildings occupy a leafy, gated site spanning more than 3 acres. There is a 9,500 m² hacienda from the 1920s, a 1,900 m² cinema building, a 1,700 m² guest house, 1,100 m² staff quarters and an almost spanning 9,200 m² sound studio made of steel and glass.

Another highlight is the funicular, an enamelled box that leads from the pool deck to the tennis court at the bottom of the property.

Rhimes sees another blockbuster deal

Built in 1923 by Elmer Gray, the villa has a guest house, pool, spa, cabana and secret garden.

The impressive villa was built by Elmer Gray in 1923 and has a guest house, pool, spa, cabana and secret garden on over one hectare.

(Cameron Carothers / Carothers Photo)

Days after Shonda Rhimes hit a massive deal with Netflix that puts her on the streaming service for five more years, Shonda Rhimes plans to sign another one in Hancock Park. The prolific producer behind “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” listed their 12,000-square-foot mansion for $ 25 million.

If it gets its price, it will be the most expensive sale in the affluent neighborhood to date this year.

Records show that Rhimes acquired the historic property in 2014 for $ 8.8 million. She’s not the only notable name associated with the property: it was built almost a century ago by Elmer Gray, the Pasadena architect behind the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Huntington Art Gallery. More recently, it has belonged to actress Patricia Heaton, who starred in the sitcoms “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “The Middle”.

During her stay, Rhimes completely rebuilt the Mediterranean-style mansion with the help of Michael Smith, the interior designer that President Obama hired for the Oval Office in 2010.

Another NBA player lands in Hidden Hills

The bold black farmhouse was built in 2021 and includes a swimming pool and guest house.

The bold black farmhouse was built in 2021 and has a swimming pool and guest house attached to its own pool.

(Christopher Amitrano / CS8 Photo / Nobel Design)

Sixers star Ben Simmons plays basketball in Philadelphia but recently took over a West Coast outpost and quietly dumped $ 17.5 million on a brand new farmhouse in Hidden Hills, the Times has confirmed. The deal closed the market.

The Australian point guard joins a number of NBA stars who have flocked to the gated community outside of LA, including Paul George, Tyson Chandler and Dwyane Wade who bought $ 17.9 million last year for a 17,000-square-foot space Villa in Hidden Hills paid for.

Simmons’ Place is 12,000 square feet and joins the trend of all-black farmhouses with a dramatic exterior made of charcoal-gray brick along with glass and rustic wood. Located at the end of a cul-de-sac, the 1.5 hectare site includes two parking spaces and a backyard with a swimming pool, spa, wooden terrace, terrace and cabana – as well as a similarly designed guest house with a pool of its own.

A hidden ADU in Echo Park

Gail Otters ADU, which is behind their two bedroom artisan home.

The additional residential unit from Gail Otter or ADU blends in with the other craftsmen’s houses in the neighborhood.

(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

When Gail Otter bought a charming Echo Park Craftsman on a property with two apartments in 2001, she knew that she wanted to add a second home to the 5,000 square meter property at some point, writes Lisa Boone.

In 2018, Otter reached out to Amy Shock, a residential office designer who had experience designing and building small spaces, including her own modernist RV in Ojai. It took several years for the ADU standard plan program to be unveiled to the city to streamline the permitting process for additional housing units or ancillary units in a larger property as part of the housing emergency plans.

Many ADUs are built as short-term rentals or as offices and guest rooms. However, Shock designed the second home to do exactly what the new program intends to do: expand the much-needed housing stock.

To preserve the courtyard, Shock designed a 740 square foot ADU that left 460 square feet of living space between the two houses.

The LA offices are slowly returning

Two masked people walk past diners eating at umbrella-covered tables in Grand Central Market in downtown LA

The vacancy rate for office rentals in Los Angeles County reached 17.6% in the second quarter, little changed from the first quarter, CBRE said.

(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County’s office rental market is beginning to show signs of stabilization as companies slow down as companies run out of space as better times appear ahead of us, writes commercial real estate reporter Roger Vincent.

Faced with a shaky economy during the worst months of the pandemic, many companies withdrew their office rents by taking up less space than their leases were due to renew or trying to sublet unused space. Office letting in Los Angeles County fell to its lowest level since the Great Recession in the April-June quarter of last year.

Vacancies rose again in the second quarter of 2021 compared to the same period last year, but at a slower pace as the number of leases increased as the economy began to recover, real estate agents said.

What we read (and hear)

In the LA Times’ latest episode of “Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Podcast,” Liam Dillon talks about the status of California’s eviction agency, which expires on September 30, and how officials are trying to expedite the distribution of leases in aid dollars. His guest is Rep. David Chiu (D-San Francisco), chairman of the Congregation’s Housing and Community Development Committee and one of the leading lawmakers involved in the housing protection debate.

In crime thriller readings, the drama of a $ 1.3 billion real estate Ponzi program stolen from thousands of investors to fund the defendants’ luxurious lifestyles continues to unfold years later, according to the Associated Press reports that two other California men, Dane Roseman and Ivan Acevedo pleaded guilty to federal court in Miami for orchestrating the plot. The whole story is quite a web.