Monday, January 13, 2014

Jay Penske Re-Lists East Coast-y House in Bel Air

SELLER: Jay Penske (and Elaine Irwin)
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $7,250,000
SIZE: 5,040 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Your Mama has received two covert communiques from two little real estate birdies that thirty-something year old digital media mogul Jay Penske re-listed his East Coast-y (former) bachelor pad in L.A.'s rarefied Bel Air area with new marketing materials and a new price of $7,250,000.* He currently shares the family-sized residence with his 40-something year old new wife, former model Elaine Irwin.

Besides an occasional, rich-boy douche bag antic—he's the athletic, ambitious, and expensively-educated youngest son of IndyCar racing billionaire Roger Penske and was arrested in the summer of 2012 after he drunkenly peed on some lady's boots at a fancy-pants yacht club in Nantucket—Mister Penske has his entrepreneurial fingers in a fair number of professional pies: Like his father he (co-)owns an IndyCar racing team; He's the proprietor of a rare books shop in Los Angeles; And he heads up the eponymous Penske Media Corp. (PMC), a fast-growing, L.A.-based digital media empire that focuses primarily on Showbiz and emerging digital technologies. PMC's stable currently includes (but is not limited to) the venerable entertainment news publication Variety magazine—now available only in digital form, the mobile tech-oriented Boy Genius Report (BGR), and the heavily-trafficked, Bonnie Fuller-helmed celeb-news site Hollywood Life.

Back in 2009, amid a whole lot of gasps and flabbergasts in the blog world, Mister Penske's Media—now part of PMC—shelled out somewhere around $14 million to acquire the dishy and sometimes spiteful Showbiz Industry infotainment blog Deadline Hollywood Daily, since renamed just Deadline. Fourteen million clams sounds like a yawn-worthy pittance compared to the hugely hyped billion dollar Instagram-type deals that go down in Silicon Valley nowadays but, back in 2009, $14 million for a Hollywood news and gossip blog was nothing short of landmark. It was not, however, a match made in heaven.

Last summer, the notoriously camera shy Miz Finke left her post at Deadline. No shrinking violet, to be sure, she did not leave quietly and since her much tittered and twittered about departure from Deadline Miz Finke and her former employer have engaged in a sharp-tongued and fever-pitched (legal) battle over a convoluted waterfall of (alleged) broken promises, public betrayals, and contractual disagreements. A harrowing account of the deeply fraught and almost comically bizarre relationship between Mister Penske and Miz Finke—the two have reportedly met face to face just once and even that was an accidental collision outside a legal proceeding—can be found here. Those of y'all who don't care about the melodramatic intestinal workings of the digital media industry—and we recognize that not everybody does, of course—will find it a waste of time so don't bother but, for those of us engaged in the digital media end of the Hollywood/celebrity media merry-go-round, it's a juicy, soap story-like must read. Anyways...

As we mentioned earlier, rakish and middle-aged frat brah handsome Mister Penske, 34, is fairly freshly married to gorgeous, mid-40s former model Elaine Irwin. In her salad days, the late 1980s and early 1990s, Miz Irwin cat walked for designer brands like Calvin Klein and Victoria's Secret and her high cheek boned visage was captured by top-grade photographers like Irving Penn, Herb Ritts, and Richard Avedon for covers of magazines like Cosmo, Glamour, and Vogue. She is, however, perhaps best known by gossip glossy readers and Old School music aficionados as the former wife of John Cougar Mellencamp, with whom she had two children.

Anyways, let's get back to the real estate matter at hand, shall we? Property records show Mister Penske purchased the 1.14 acre property in April 2004 for $1,975,000. The existing residence—about 3,500 square feet and built late 1960s according to Your Mama's interweb research—was either razed or radically altered in a complete rebuild/renovation that resulted in a 5,040 square foot cedar-shingled center hall Colonial with five bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms that one might more readily expect to find on the East Coast rather than perched on a gated plateau in one of L.A.'s more prestigious zip codes.

A long, gated driveway slopes gently down to a paver stone tiled motor court and an in-your-face front-facing three car garage topped by a square cupola and cutesy weather vane. Rather than join a fitness facility, listing photos show Mister Penske used at least two of the three garage bays for a home gym set up. Personally we'd rather be obese than lift weights and/or do Pilates in the damn garage but, then again, Your Mama really prefers not to lift any weights or do any Pilates at all.

A cozy library equipped with separate temperature and humidity controls is lined with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves filled with (probably mostly rare and/or first edition hardcover) books and is furnished in a men's clubbish manner with a chunky, antique wood desk and a tufted, cordovan leather wing back chair.

A large but somewhat unusually shaped, step down "formal" living room has wide-plank wood floors—the kind with that country house-y faux-distressed looks, a wood-burning fireplace, and, on either end of the trapezoidal space, a row of wood-framed glass doors. One end of the living room opens to a good, ol' fashioned wrap around screened porch and the other opens to a massive, 2,000+ square foot deck that runs just about the entire length of the back of the house and cantilevers slightly over the steep hillsides below the house.

Two steps (up) and a pony wall separate the living room from the "formal" dining room where an always charming swinging door leads into the family and service areas. We usually say nay right away to a pony wall because we sort of hate them but, in this case, Your Mama thinks it's hardly the worst solution to the desired semi-separation/sort of combination of the living and dining rooms.

In the cook-friendly, eat-in kitchen there are slab marble counter tops, a built-in housekeeping desk, high-grade stainless steel appliances, and snow white Shaker-style cabinets fitted with brass—or brass-like—hardware and fixtures. Your Mama finds the brass(y) hardware and fixtures a welcomed change of pace over the stainless steel and nickel plated doo-dads and hooziemagoozies we normally find in high-end and (nearly) all-white kitchens.

The family/media room—accessible from the kitchen and, it appears to Your Mama, from the front hall—has more faux-distressed wide plank wood floors, a second fireplace, and another bank of wood-framed glass doors that open to the super-sized deck. Beyond the family room there's an super-sized mud room with direct garage access, a built-in bench for shoe removal, and several built-in wine refrigerators and chilling drawers. An adjacent, marble tile floored laundry room equipped with two washers and two dryers.

A small bedroom with a wee private bathroom on the ground floor is suitable for a live-in domestic or overnight guests and supplements the three guest/family bedrooms on the second floor that also each have a private, en suite bathroom. The master suite, also upstairs, offers up a wedge-shaped bedroom with two sets of glass doors that open to a slender balconies that hang over the rear deck below. A fitted walk-in closet/dressing room has a built-in window seat, built-in dressers, and a built-in dressing table and the hotel-style bathroom has two sinks, a free-standing soaking tub big enough for two full-size people, and a glass-enclosed, marble-tiled steam shower with built-in bench.

The huge deck that runs along the ground level at the back of the house has long views down the canyon and over the cluster of office and condo towers that comprise Century City while the wrap around screened porch on the front side of the house overlooks a diminishing wedge of well-watered lawn that slopes gently up to a sleek, 70-ish foot long negative-edge swimming pool that, like the deck, has long view down the canyon towards Century City.

Neither of Your Mama snitches could (or would) tattle to Your Mama where Mister Penske along with his new bride and their nearly year old bambino plan to move once he unloads his former bachelor pad but iffin we were the betting type—and we're not—we'd wager both our long-bodied bitches, Linda and Beverly, it's to a more impressive estate that will more comfortably accommodate his growing family and the necessary retinue of assistants and domestics.

P.S. Despite the on-going and no-doubt soul crushing legal tangles and wrangles between Miz Finke and Mister Penske, if Mister Penske would like to ring Your Mama on our battered Princess Phone with an offer to buy our silly little internet endeavor for $14 million, well, we're all ears.

*The property first popped up on the open market in May (2013) with an asking price of $7,550,000. The price was lowered in July to $6,999,999 before the property was taken off the market in late September.

**Mister Penske is a long-time and serious collector of books and, in fact, owns Dragon Books, a rare book store that, according to it's digital portal, will eventually operate out of a swanky store front on hipster-trendy and ever-more-upscale Abbott Kinney in Venice Beach. Property records show Mister Penske, via a corporate entity, purchased the very contemporary, Tom Egidi-designed mixed-use building to house his rare books shop in April 2012 for $5,175,000.

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