Your Mama Hears...

...there's a big deal going down in the low-key but high-fallutin' seaside community of Montecito, CA.

A well-connected real estate mover and shaker—let's call him Spencer Spillinbeans—recently tattled to Your Mama that an exceptionally sumptuous estate immediately next door to Oprah Winfrey's even more aristocratic Promised Land is about to be sold for somewhere near its knee-buckling $52,000,000 asking price.

Property records show the sprawling spread in question is currently owned by Pennsylvania-based Ayn Rand acolyte and professional sports and entertainment tycoon Ed Snider who appears from property records we peeped to have owned the refined but (still quietly) showy estate since at least the mid-1990s.

In addition to his Montecito getaway, thrice-divorced Mister Snider's private residential real estate holdings include (but may not be limited to) an estate in Bryn Mawr, PA anchored—as per the Montgomery County Tax Man—by a 30 room mega-mansion with 13 terlits sitting on more than 20 (mostly landscaped) acres and a multi-acre, multi-residence family compound on scenic Cobbosseecontee Lake in Monmouth, ME. In April 2008 Mister Snider coughed up $7,340,000 for a high-floor, 2 bedroom and 2.5 bathroom condo at 15 Central Park West that he quickly flipped four months later for—are you sitting down for this?—$12,400,000, an astonishing $5,060,000 profit in just four short months.

Anyhoo, listing information available online for Mister Snider's grandiose but genteel and obviously very high-maintenance Montecito estate is slim-slim-slim. There are not—that we could find—any descriptions or details about the extensive grounds or clearly colossal Mediterranean manse. Just about all Your Mama can tell the children for sure about the property is that it encompasses two, gently sloped ocean-view parcels that span a combined 7.37 (mostly landscaped) acres.

Listing photographs shows the hulking mansion's day-core veers towards seriously sumptuous and very correct (if too stiff and traditional for our particular decorative tastes) and aerial imagery available through the computer reveal the baronial grounds have an especially long, gated, hedge-lined and tree-shaded driveway; a suburban 7-11 parking lot-sized motor court with additional (staff) parking adjacent to the garages; vast and expensively green terraced lawns; multiple water features including a monumentally-scaled T-shaped body of water with fountain; a tennis court and adjacent sport; a small cottage tucked into a secluded corner perfect for housing out-of-town guests or live-in domestic staff; and a swimming pool complex with adjacent pool cabana for relaxing, mixing cocktails, taking care of life's ugly evacuation rituals and having a late afternoon massage administered firmly by a house-calling masseur named something sufficiently exotic-sounding like Sven or Reinaldo or maybe Sithembile.

Property records and other online documentation Your Mama perused don't yet show a transfer of ownership but our always impeccably informed source Spencer Spillinbeans snitched the new owners of Mister Snider's sprawling trophy estate will be Chicago-based pharmaceutical industry bigwig Jack McGinley and his wife Julie.

Keep in mind kitten-caboodles, this is just a little high-end real estate rumor and gossip right now but, when all y'all read all about it in the property gossip columns in big and legit newspapers, remember they heard about it from Your Mama just like you did.

Anyhoodles poodles, our unnecessary bitterness aside, what is not just rumor and gossip is that until very recently the very rich Mister and Missus McGinley owned another significant (if less epic) estate in Montecito, literally just a couple of driveways away.

In 2006 Mister McGinley and the missus paid $7,000,000 for Constantia, an approximately 3.5 acre estate with a nearly 10,000 square foot, architecturally authentic South African Cape Dutch-style mansion designed by Chicago architect Ambrose Cramer and built in 1930 for Chicago-based meatpacking industry executive Arthur Meeker and his wife Grace. Eventually the idiosyncratic-for-its-locale-mansion and its Lockwood de Forest Jr.-designed grounds landed in the philanthropic hands of Stewart and Katherine Abercrombie who are said to have hosted the Dalai Lama on the property and who—we read on Curbed—had the house photographed for a 1979 issue of Architectural Digest.

Mister and Missus McGinley gave the entire property a complete face lift, a real tear it all up and take it down to the studs sort of thing to update, upgrade, restore and renovate every inch of the grounds and residence. For reasons beyond our knowledge or understanding, Mister and Missus McGinley soon caught a case of The Real Estate Fickle and have had the post-rehab Constantia on and off the market since at least 2009. Listing information we dug up out of the interweb indicates the 9,771 square foot mansion has 6 bedrooms and 9 terlits divided up in 4 full and 5 half bathrooms and was last on the (open) market earlier this year with an asking price of $17,500,000 and sold, according to property records, in April for $16,800,000 to a limited liability corporation that links directly back to a posh pad in Los Angeles' Holmby Hills enclave owned by Colony Capital Principal Justin Chang. Make of that connection what you will.

So turns and churns the increasingly electric ultra-high-end real estate markets around the world and just to keep that particular pump primed, Your Mama hears through the Platinum Triangle real estate grapevine that a Hancock Park mansion owned by a sit-com star will soon be sold to another celeb and we also heard someone else just paid close to $30,000,000 for a long-vacant and woefully neglected compound on a plum, private hilltop in Bel Air.

listing photos: Coldwell Banker Previews International
listing photos (Constantia): Village Properties Realty