Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Reality Television Pioneer Sells Topanga Spread to Billionaire

SELLER: Jonathan Murray
BUYER: Anthony Pritzker
PRICE: $2,650,000
SIZE: 3,664 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Your Mama can't recall exactly when or from whom we first heard it but it was already way back in late June (2013) that reality television pioneer Jonathan Murray sold a casually luxurious estate of nearly three, gated acres in Topanga, CA, for $2,650,000. The two parcel property was purchased, as per property records, by a corporate entity easily linked to multi-billionaire Hyatt Hotels heir Anthony Pritzker. As it turns out, the same corporate entity that acquired Mister Murray's mountain-view spread also owns an adjacent, multi-residence compound that comprises at least six parcels and, by Your Mama's admittedly rudimentary and entirely unscientific calculations, sprawls across at least seven acres.

Those of the children who have not wrecked their heads on liquor and dope may recall that Mister Pritzker and his missus, Jeanne, recently sold their 8 bedroom and 11 bathroom Mediterranean villa in L.A.'s ritzy Bel Air area for $14 million to celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck. Mister and Missus Pritzker moved with their half dozen offspring, plus whatever live-in domestics they may employ, into a contemporary, convention center sized mega-mansion set proudly and prominently like the monument to extreme wealth and privilege that it is on a private promontory with all but unobstructed, 270 degree views over a hefty swathe of the L.A. Basin.

Mister Murray, along with with his producing partner, the late Mary-Ellis Bunim, not only created and produced Showbiz industry altering reality-based docu-dramas like Real World and the booze-fueled (and grimly truly tawdry) Bad Girls Club franchise, but also claims credit as executive producer on the mega-hit Project Runway as well as, we recently read on the internets, the up-coming Tim Gunn-hosted fashion competition Under the Gunn, which, quite frankly, at least on the surface, sounds not so different from Project Runway. Mister Murray, along with a bevy of others including squeaky clean Tinseltown mogul Ryan Seacrest, also executive produces all those many and utterly vapid but wildly successful shows that feature the limelight craving Kardashian family. Anyways...

Property records and other online resources show Mister Murray purchased the 2.93 acre spread in April 2007 for $2,550,000 and first put it on the open market in early May, 2013, with a $3,295,000 asking price. The multi-winged ranch-style residence was originally built in the mid-1970s, according to digital marketing materials, but was significantly revamped by in 2009 at which time new-fangled luxuries and amenities were installed like radiant heated stone floors, solar panels, a whole-house home automation system, and a 220-volt hook-up in the garage for convenient charging of electric vehicles.

A long, gated driveway climbs up the hillside and wraps around to the front of the house that digital marketing materials show spans 3,664 square feet with three bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms, including an enviably secluded guest suite on the lower level that ensures (auditory) privacy for all and has a private exterior entrance, a separate sitting room, and an attached bathroom.

The front door that opens directly into the angled and meandering central core of the house, an open concept main living space finished and fitted with a mix between wood and flagstone floors, a vaulted exposed wood ceiling, long expanses of floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors that slip into the walls when open, and two stacked stone fireplaces, one in the sunken "formal" living room and the other in the "formal" dining area.

An backwards L-shaped snack bar/serving counter with cook top divides the commodious dining area from the expensively equipped galley-style kitchen that's complete with high-grade appliances and a porcelain farmhouse sink. An adjoining family room has a built-in flat-screen television, an office area with built-in cabinetry and work stations, and more sliding glass doors that lead out the backyard entertainment terrace that runs along the back of the house.

The spacious stone terrace that extends the main living area into the outdoors includes sunny lounging areas, a trellis shaded dining area and a built-in barbecue. The extensive grounds include rolling lawns, shade dappled terraces, a swimming pool with inset spa, a separate storage—probably for gardening implements and etc., and a deer-thwarting fenced garden area.

This is not, children, the first time that Mister Murray has sold a redone mini-estate nestled into the mountains above Malibu. In the latter days of 2004 he paid $2,375,000 for a 10.4+ acre hill top spread in the Monte Nido area of Topanga that he sold in August 2007 for $4,250,000 to a corporate entity Your Mama's sources swears was controlled by software heiress, movie producer, and budding real estate baller Megan Ellison. Miss Ellison—or the entity that technically and legally owned the property, anyways—sold the property at a significant loss in late 2011 for $2,650,000 to a somewhat mysterious buyer who may or may not be an entertainment attorney or a celebrity.

Your Mama's research shows that in April 2012, long before he sold his Topanga spread to the billionaire, Mister Murray paid $3,950,000 for a five bedroom and 5.5 bathroom house in Santa Monica (CA) built by and for a renown architect with a modern undercarriage of high-tech features wrapped in a style, as per digital marketing materials we dug up, inspired by the California's shingle-style beach bungalows for the early 1900s.

listing photos: Pritchett-Rapf & Associates

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