Looks as though the record for priciest California home sale ever has been broken yet again, this time by a giant compound in Malibu. At $177 million, the sold price eclipses the previous record — set last year by Jeff Bezos in Beverly Hills — by $12 million. Apparel mogul Serge Azria and his longtime wife Florence were the lucky sellers, while the buyers were Silicon Valley-based venture capitalist Marc Andreessen and his wife Laura Arrillaga, who’s hugely rich in her own right as the only daughter of multibillionaire real estate developer John Arrillaga. The off-market deal was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Unfathomable though the price may be, this property is loaded with amenities that could make the $177 million figure seem almost worth it to some folks — or at least remotely palatable. For one thing, the blufftop property is located directly above Paradise Cove, perhaps the most gorgeous beach in all of Malibu. For another, the estate spans nearly seven contiguous acres with panoramic ocean views that sweep up and down the coastline, capturing Point Dume, Catalina Island and nearly everything in between.
Serge Azria bought the property in 2013, paying $41 million. It was previously owned by Hollywood producer Jerry Weintraub (The Karate Kid, Ocean’s Eleven) and long occupied solely by Weintraub’s wife Jane Morgan, from whom he’d been separated for decades but never divorced. Azria subsequently spent years, and doubtless another huge chunk of change — likely well into the tens of millions — to rebuild and refurbish every inch of the sprawling estate.
Prominent and acclaimed architect Scott Mitchell was hired to design the revitalized compound, which reportedly includes an eye-popping thirteen structures scattered around the premises. There’s a 10,000-square-foot main house, two guesthouses, two barns that were repurposed into a car collector’s dream garage, a detached screening room, poolside cabana, caretaker’s quarters and several other structures of unknown purpose.
Inside, the buildings are singularly contemporary in style — though they’ve been infused with warm colors and soft materials to prevent feelings of austerity. Because the property was formerly a luxe horse ranch, the structures also incorporate farmhouse-style features and nods to their equestrian roots; they are cedar-sided with pitched roofs, and retain their original ranch-y look. Despite its size, the main house doesn’t appear gaudy, though the views and walls of glass pocket doors throughout will assuredly wow guests.
The property was never officially available for sale on the open market, but it’s widely known that Azria had been shopping it around as a pocket listing since at least late 2020 — allegedly with a $250 million asking price! He didn’t quite get his quarter-of-a-billion bucks, but the final number is still good enough for the second-biggest American home sale ever, behind only a $238 million New York City condo.
Other Paradise Cove residents include a who’s who of billionaire and near-billionaire ballers: Laurene Powell Jobs, WhatsApp founder Jan Koum, L.A. Rams owner Stan Kroenke, Beats by Dre mogul Jimmy Iovine and jet-setting art collectors Bill and Maria Bell.
Though he’s still primarily known for cofounding Netscape and the tech-focused venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz — through which he was an early investor in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GitHub and a host of others — Andreessen, 50, has lately focused his attentions on cryptocurrency and established a new crypto-focused venture fund. His net worth is $1.6 billion, per Forbes, while his octogenarian father-in-law is worth $2.6 billion himself and remains one of Silicon Valley’s largest landowners.
Andreessen’s main residence has long been a Tuscan-style mansion in the billionaire-flooded town of Atherton, Calif.; he paid $16.6 million for that property way back in 2007. As for Azria, he’s moved on to his next project — a $16.4 million estate in prime Bel Air.
Kurt Rappaport of Westside Estate Agency handled both sides of the Malibu transaction.
[UPDATE, 11/1/21: As a helpful reader reminded us, this is not Andreessen’s first foray into Malibu real estate ownership. Way back in 2000, while he was still in his late 20s and riding high atop the Dotcom bubble, he dropped $17 million for a big oceanfront mansion on prestigious Malibu Road — a favorite spot for local surfers. He flipped that house in 2003 for $22.7 million to its current owner — leveraged buyout billionaire Tom Gores — and it doesn’t appear he’s owned another Malibu property until now.]