Friday, May 25, 2012
End of Week Pick Up: Georges Marciano
LOCATION: Beverly Hills, CA
SIZE: 19,590 square feet, 7 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: This one's for all the children out there who relish in a tetch of schadenfreude with their high-cost real estate scuttlebutt.
All the international property gossips' tongues have been wagging this week over the Beverly Hills (CA) estate of legally and financially embattled businessman Georges Marciano popping up on the open market as part of a bankruptcy sale with an asking price of $24,500,000.
Mister Marciano made the bulk of fortune as one of the co-founding brothers of the wildly successful Guess clothing company. He's the man most often credited with creating the company's iconic—and still-relevant if not fully fresh—boobs-and-bombshell-meets-noir-film advertising aesthetic that successfully branded the company in the 1980s with glamazon supermodels like Claudia Schiffer and Anna Nicole Smith.
He cashed out his nearly quarter-billion dollar stake in the company in 1993 and invested in various (commercial) real estate enterprises including the Bank of America tower in downtown Beverly Hills, sold in 2005 for about $135,000,000. He lived large and spent big. He shelled out more than sixteen million bucks on a 84-plus carat diamond (now called The Chloe Diamond after his daughter) and amassed a vast collection of contemporary art. The ubiquitous, roofless tour vans that put-put around the Platinum Triangle on every day of the week would frequently pause out front of the gates so gawkers could catch a glimpse through the gates of the fleet of Ferraris maintained by Mister Marciano and frequently lined up in an orderly row in the driveway in the front of his big ol' beast of a house in Beverly Hills he bought in October 1988 for an unknown (but no doubt substantial) amount of moolah.
Alas, the mighty sometimes fall. Sometimes they cut the noses off their own faces and sometimes, depending on one's point of view, they have their proverbial legs chopped off at the knees.
Several years ago, in the aftermath of a bitter 2004 divorce, an increasingly erratic Mister Marciano filed suit against a group of former employees whom he accused of looting money, wines and artwork. The suit back fired big time. Not only did forensic accounting not show any financial misconduct on the part of the former employees, the accused group counter sued for libel and won a staggering $425,000,000 judgement against Mister Marciano who shockingly and inexplicably made a silly run for the California governorship while all this was going down.
Mister Marciano, legally on the hook for nearly half a billion dollars, went on the lamb for a little bit. In a 2009 article in the L.A. Times Mister Marciano's spokeswoman claimed she herself did not know where he was living. He eventually popped up in Montreal where he opened a LHotel, a boutique hotel in Old Montreal filled to the rafters with the blue chip artwork that used to fill his Beverly Hills mansion.
Even before his ruinously costly legal imbroglio, Mister Marciano wanted to sell his grand, Italian-style pile in Beverly Hills. It was listed for six months in 2005 and again in January 2007 when it appeared on the open market with an asking price of $28,000,000.
In the early days of 2012 Your Mama heard through the Platinum Triangle real estate gossip grapevine the estate was being shopped off-market with a $32,000,000 price tag. With no takers at that sky-high price the property was officially put on the open market last week with a much lower price tag of $24,500,000. Listing information and previous reports on the matter reveal the property is being sold on behalf of Mister Marciano as part of involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings related to the aforementioned, nearly half billion dollar judgement.
Designed and built in 1927 by Robert D. Farquhar, the palatial palazzo has been home to a number of Hollywood hot shots including Showbiz pioneer Harry Cohn, the famously tyrannical co-founder of Columbia Pictures. Mister Cohn reportedly sold the estate to powerful Tinseltown talent agent Johnny Hyde who, while in his mid-70s, took a Svengali-like personal and professional interest in Marilyn Monroe.
In the late 1970s and 1980s, we were recently told by a Britnni Britannica, a gal pal with an encyclopedic knowledge of historical homes in Los Angeles, the grand mansion was owned by 1960s and 70s ears talk show host Mike Douglas who allowed the house to be photographed for Architectural Digest. Miss Britannica and another historically-minded gal pal Helen A. Hightower told also us the house itself—not the finishes and day-core but the architecture and layout—are almost identical to that of Owlwood, the legendary Holmby Hills mansion formerly owned by Tony Curtis and Cher and now owned by the widow of mortgage industry billionaire and diplomat Roland Arnall.
Current listing information shows Mister Marciano's estate spans 2.05 high-profile acres in an especially desirable pocket of Beverly Hills where, should one choose, it's just a short one (long) block walk to Your Mama's favorite (if hideously expensive) luncheon spot in Los Angeles, The Beverly Hills Hotel.
A very few minutes research on the interweb turned up easily accessible public records that indicate Mister Marciano's currently for sale estate may not be the only Beverly Hills mansion he owns. In June 2005 a limited liability company directly linked to (but not necessarily controlled by) Mister Marciano paid $7,475,000 to acquire a gated, 1.19 acre Sunset Boulevard estate with an 8,000-plus square foot mansion, swimming pool, tennis court and extensive gardens.
Just about two years before that a limited liability company also directly linked to (but not necessarily controlled by) Mister Marciano paid $6,500,000 for the 1.44 acre, triple-gated Sunset Boulevard estate immediately next door. That property has an even bigger 11,000-plus square foot, L-shaped residence with 9 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms, a swimming pool, pool cabana, and tennis court. Your Mama has been told a bazillion times that rapper turned mogul Fifty Cent used to lease the estate but we can't really vouch for the truth of that rumor.
Mister Marciano remains in a pitched legal battle to hang on to whatever assets he can, including property and possessions seized in Canada as a result of the California court order. We're not sure what constitutes winning or losing in a situation like this but in February of this year a Canadian court ruled to hold a number of his assets seized in Canada for "safekeeping" until "the high court rules on the validity of a massive seizure of Marciano assets in Montreal to conform to a California court order."
With the number of high-priced residential real estate sales in high gear it's probably a good time to sell the property at a decent price. Then again, Your Mama don't know a this from a that so we'll leave the sale price speculations to the professionals and the otherwise opinioned.
listing photos: Nick Springett for Coldwell Banker / Beverly Hills North