Extremely rich people have it pretty good. I'm not talking about the private jets, the lack of jobs, the permanent luxury… though I'm sure those trappings are very very nice. I'm talking about how rich people seem to make money by just breathing. They wake up and something they bought a decade earlier is worth a fortune. How many times have you read an article on CelebrityNetWorth where some rich person bought a house in 1985 for $300k and ended up selling it for like $30 million? Well, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen certainly fits into this extremely rich, extremely lucky category. Especially with the estate he just listed for sale.
Back in 1997, Paul Allen spent $20 million to acquire a 122-acre mountain top in Beverly Hills. That's right. Back in 1997, there was a 122-acre plot of land for sale in the heart of Beverly Hills for what today would barely buy a single home in the same area.
***Correction*** One of our valiant readers pointed out a tiny flaw in our article. Technically speaking, Paul Allen's mountain is actually not located within the geographical boundaries of the city of Beverly Hills. It has a Beverly Hills address, its mail would be delivered through the BH post office, and letters would be addressed using "Beverly Hills" on the envelope, but this area is commonly referred to as "Beverly Hills Post Office". Residents of Beverly Hills Post Office do not receive BH services such as police, fire, water, garbage. ***
Three years after he bought the property, known as The Enchanted Hill, Paul tore down the original 10,000 square foot mansion that was built in 1925 by a married pair of silent film stars named Frances Marion and Fred Thompson. At the time, the couple owned just 22 acres and primarily used the property as a horse ranch.
The house became somewhat haunted three years after the couple completed their dream home when Thompson stepped on a nail. Three weeks later he was dead at the age of 38, on Christmas day.
Marian Seldes sold the property a month after he husband died to an oil tycoon for $580,000. That's the equivalent of $8 million today. The oil tycoon held on to the property for 16 years until 1942 when he sold the property to German-American inventor Paul Kollsman. Kollsman was one of the most successful inventors of all time. He patented the first barometer and many of the instruments that are still used to this day in modern air and space travel.
In 1939, Kollsman sold his company for $4 million, equal to $72 million today. He used those funds to not only acquire the main property but also to buy 100 additional acres of surrounding land, eventually bringing the total expanse to 122-acres.
Kollsman was married twice. His first wife Julie died in 1951. He married his second wife Eva the following year. Paul died in 1982. Eva lived until 2005. It was Eva who sold the 122-acre property to Paul Allen for $20 million in 1997.
Allen quickly razed the original 1925 mansion with plans to build TWO 50,000 square foot mansions on the property. Either he struggled to get approval for the new mansions, or he simply grew tired of the project. Whatever happened, today it's mostly overrun with brush and other weeds. Though the property's 1.5 mile driveway does ultimately lead to a flat, well-kept grassy knoll.
Today he is seeking $150 million for the extremely unique parcel. If it sells, it would set a record for Beverly Hills and Los Angeles county. But getting a sale might not be as easy as you'd think. Several nearby properties that are asking for $100+ million have struggled to sell, sitting on the market for over a year at this point.
You need to check Paul's place out. Give this video a minute of your time:
FYI: In addition to The Enchanted Hill, Paul Allen's real estate portfolio includes:
- 10 properties in Seattle
- A 4,000-acre Idaho ranch
- An island in the Pacific Northwest
- A Beverly Hills mansion
- A 22,000 square-foot home in Silicon Valley
- A $25 million Malibu mansion
- A $7.5 million estate in Hawaii
- A $39 million apartment across two floors in New York City
- A $30 million mansion in St. Jean Cap-Ferrat in France
- A London apartment
Oh, and he also owns the 14th biggest yacht in the world (featuring two helicopter pads, a submarine, swimming pool, music studio and basketball court), a second yacht, the Portland Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks.
The man likes to own cool things! But apparently he is done owning 122-acres of undeveloped mountaintop in Beverly Hills 🙂