The Hearst Estate, One of Los Angeles’s Most Historic Homes, Sells at Auction for $63.1 Million
The 3.5-acre estate features a 29,000-square-foot main home and once asked $195 million
By V.L. Hendrickson | Mansion Global
The California estate that was once home to newspaper scion William Randolph Hearst sold for $63.1 million to billionaire investor Nicolas Berggruen in an auction on Tuesday.
Mr. Berggruen beat out five other bidders in a bankruptcy auction at a courthouse in Los Angeles, winning the 29,000-square-foot Beverly Hills mansion for about $15 million more than its current asking price of $48 million, according to listing agent Anthony Marguleas of Amalfi Estates.
“It’s one of the most historically significant properties in Los Angeles,” he said, noting not only the Hearst connection, but also the fact that in 1953, future president John F. Kennedy honeymooned there with Jacqueline Kennedy.
The 3.5-acre estate has been on and off the market since 2007, according to listing records. In 2016, it was asking $195 million. But in 2019, the owner of the property, attorney Leonard Ross, put it into Chapter 11 bankruptcy to avoid foreclosure, The Wall Street Journal reported at the time. It was then listed for $125 million and taken off the market in March of this year.
It was relisted again in April for $89.75 million, with another slash to the price—this time to just under $70 million—coming in June, Mansion Global previously reported. There was yet another price cut in August, and the property was most recently listed at $48 million by Mr. Marguleas, Gary Gold of Hilton & Hyland, Zizi Pak of Rodeo Realty and John Gould of Rodeo Realty.
Once known as the “homeless billionaire,” Mr. Berggruen, 60, made an offer of $47 million in August, which triggered a court auction to approve the bankruptcy sale, according to a statement on the sale. The founder of the private investment company Berggruen Holdings and the nonprofit think tank, the Berggruen Institute, won the auction with his final bid of $63.1 million.
The Hearst Estate, previously known as Beverly House, dates to 1926. Architect Gordon Kaufmann, whose work includes the Los Angeles Times building and the Hoover Dam, designed the mansion, where Hearst lived with actress Marion Davies. She stayed in the estate after the 1951 death of the newspaper publisher, who founded the media giant Hearst Communications.
Amenities of the estate include a nine-bedroom main house with a 22-foot, hand-painted ceiling, a two-story, wood-clad library, an art-deco nightclub and entertaining areas for up to 1,000 guests, according to the listing. There’s also a five-bedroom guest house, staff apartments and a tennis pavilion.
“It hasn’t been updated in a while, and Nicolas will fix it up,” Mr. Marguleas said. “He cares about the property and can restore it to its former glory.”
Mr. Berggruen was not available for comment.