NHL legend Wayne Gretzky just acquired a sprawling hilltop home in Thousand Oaks, California for $13.5 million. Or should we say, he re-acquired a home because Gretzky has owned this house previously. In fact, he designed it himself. This house has a very interesting history involving the 2008 financial crisis and another former professional athlete, disgraced baseball player/financial guru Lenny Dykstra.
The 10,815 square foot home sits on 6.5 acres within the exclusive Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks. Gretzky designed the home himself with the help of famed architect Richard Landry. The house features hardwood floors, plaster detailing, an open floor plan, a state-of-the-art kitchen, a home theater, an outdoor wood-burning pizza oven, and a pool. The main house has six bedrooms, and seven and a half bathrooms. One of the guest houses has a full gym, and there is a sunken tennis court out back, as well.
In 2007, Gretzky sold the house to former professional baseball player Lenny Dykstra for $18.5 million. At the time, Dykstra was living the high-life as a self-proclaimed financial guru. Dystra earned $36 million in salary (before taxes) during his MLB career. After retiring in 1998, he threw himself into the investing world. And, for a brief moment, Lenny appeared to be living the life of a brilliant entrepreneur. He took part of his baseball fortune and invested in several car-wash and quick-lube franchises throughout the Los Angeles area. The businesses were so successful that he was able to take home a $1 million dollar annual salary.
Over the next few years, business boomed. In 2007, Lenny sold his car wash and lube empire for $51 million. He purchased a fleet of cars, and of course the Gretzky mansion for $18.5 million. By 2009 he estimated his personal net worth to be just under $60 million. An amazing feel-good entrepreneurial story if there ever was one.
Lenny became a CNBC commentator and had a weekly stock picking column on Jim Cramer's website. Private clients paid Lenny $995 a year for his stock advice.
Unfortunately, the good times did not last. The financial crisis hit Dykstra like a fastball to the face. Almost exactly one year after bragging about his $60 million net worth, Lenny declared bankruptcy, listing $50k in assets and $50 million in liabilities.
Lenny was soon living out of his car and would eventually be living out of a 6×8 jail cell.
Lenny did try to sell the home, but it was literally the worst time in history to sell real estate. He initially listed it for $18.5 million. A few months later he dropped the price to $14.9 million. A few months later he listed it for $9,999,999. He eventually lost it to foreclosure.
In 2010, the sprawling mansion was purchased by an investment firm called Index Investors for a mind-bogglingly low, $760,000.
Index held onto the home until 2013 when they flipped it for $9.5 million.
And to bring it full-circle, Wayne Gretzky is once again the owner for a cool $13.5 million. Hopefully Gretzky will have more luck with the property than Lenny!