Real Estate Run Down: Jeff Greene

Several weeks ago Your Mama heard word through the Platinum Triangle Real Estate Gossip Grapevine that one of Tinseltown's busiest and most successful lady-agents had inked a deal to list a Beverly Hills, CA estate with a screeching (if not entirely unheard of) $150,000,000 asking price.

Naturally, the sky-high rumored price pricked up our ears.

Before too long another always well-informed little birdie, one who very successfully purveys pricey properties in Los Angeles, snitched to Your Mama that world on the real estate street is that the Beverly Hills estate in question is none other than the so-called Palazzo di Amore, a palace-proportioned, mock-Med mega mansion on more than 25 acres just a few minutes up a heavily-trafficked canyon road from Rodeo Drive.

Many of the children will not be automatically familiar with Palazzo di Amore but anyone who cares a limp shred about Platinum Triangle* real estate knows the extravagant spread is owned by billionaire Jeff Greene, a real estate tycoon and well-connected playboy turned husband and family man turned unsuccessful senate candidate.

*The Platinum Triangle, a colloquial term for the high-priced L.A. zip code nexus of Beverly Hills, Bel Air and Holmby Hills.

Various reports available online indicate Mister Greene purchased the multi-parcel estate and its monumentally-scaled residential éclat out of foreclosure in early 2007 for around $35,000,000. Construction on the Bob Ray Offenhauser-designed monster-manse was not complete at the time of the purchase and at least one report suggests Mister Green spent an additional $15,000,000 on construction, finishes, enlargements, landscaping, furnishings and etc.

We're not sure who completed the construction work but prior to Mister Greene's purchase the massive mansion was being built by Hadid Development, a hotel and mega mansions construction concern owned by Mohamed Hadid. Reality tee-vee watchers will recognize Mister Hadid as the high-flying fellow who sometimes appears on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, usually with his nearly mute and much younger girlfriend in tow, and who just put a 48,000 square foot, spec-built beast of a mansion—one pompously dubbed Le Palais—in Beverly Hills on the market with an asking price of $58,000,000.

Anyhoo, in 2007 Mister Greene—well known amongst famous folks, globe trotting party goers and Vanity Fair readers as a somewhat eccentric and fast-living bachelor—settled down with a much younger real estate executive from New York named Mei-Sze Chan. The couple were married at Palazzo di Amore in a wedding reported to have cost a million dollars, give or take. Mike Tyson served as best man—yikes!—and the 275 guests danced the night away on a revolving platform in the estate's massive 24-car (detached) garage—double yikes!

At just about the same time Mister Greene romanced and hitched his wagon to that of Miss Chan his net worth ballooned exponentially to over a billion bucks due to a series of shrewd and well-timed bets against the sub-prime mortgage market and the inflated real estate bubble. That's right, Mister Greene is one of the few folks who profited prolifically as the U.S. economy tanked dramatically between 2007 and 2009. Forbes estimated his net worth stands (as of March 2012) at around $2.1 billion.

Mister Greene, always a real estate wheeler-dealer and long a resident of Los Angeles, quickly began to spend his new-found billions on a slew of high-priced properties in Palm Beach, New York City and the Hamptons.

He also spent a couple tens of millions of his own money in 2010 on a splashy and—let's be honest—wacky, carpetbagger bid in Florida as a Democrat for a seat the U.S. Senate. He lost in the primaries but the he and the missus, who now have a couple of young children, still spend the majority of their time in south Florida.

In October 2009 the property gossip gals at The Wall Street Journal reported Mister and new Missus Greene lived primarily in a Miami, FL condo and that the couple felt Palazzo di Amore (above) "is too lavish for him and his wife to occupy full-time."

Their deepening real estate roots in Florida may (or may not) have something to do with Mister and Missus Greene's ongoing efforts to lease the property. The opulent and unabashedly palatial property currently appears on the open market as a fully-furnished rental available for immediate occupancy with an asking price of $195,000 per month. At some previous point, the compound-like property had been listed at $250,000 per month (short term) and $150,000 per month (long term) and current listing information states "a lease option to purchase will be considered."

Listing information (and reports from around the time of Mister Greene's purchase) show the gargantuan, gated compound has a quarter mile long driveway, a series of connected motor courts and a collection of contemporized, quasi-Mediterranean structures that include a gate house; (approx.) 43,000 square foot main house with a 6,000 square foot ballroom, 11 bedrooms and 14 bathrooms; an (approx.) 12,000 square foot pool house/entertainment pavilion; and (approx.) 8,000 square foot guest house with its own motor court and party-sized spa with canyon and city views.

Deep, shaded loggias along the back of the house extend the interior living areas out toward the flush-edge infinity swimming pool, long enough to have ten super-plush sunbathing loungers lined up along one side. A separate and raise circular spa looks large enough to host a gaggle of scantily clad guests. The swimming pool and terrace drops off to six acres of terraced vineyards that produce 400 cases of wine annually.

listing photos: Dream Home Photo for Coldwell Banker Previews International

So the story goes, back in 2007, while Missus Greene bride-stepped towards her groom, swans swam along side her in the extraordinarily long and thin reflecting pond (above, top left) set into a wide runway of grass that juts out from the back of the house towards a domed wrought iron pergola—a folly, if you will.

Now children, use yer noggins. This business about Mister and Missus Greene signing the necessary documents to officially list Palazzo di Amore with a $150,000,000 asking price ain't nuthin' but high-end real estate rumor and gossip at this point. Rumor and gossip.

What isn't so much rumor and gossip is the oft-reported on, pocketbook punishing property shopping spree Mister and Missus Greene have been on the last few years.

listing photos: Corcoran 

In 2008 the notorious playboy and his new (and first) missus dropped $3,100,000 on 4,000-ish square foot condo at the Murano Grande at Portofino in the South of Fifth 'hood in South Beach. They sold the ocean view condo crib for $3,400,000 in July 2011, less than a year after they coughed up $24,000,000 for La Bellucia, a quirkily elegant and historic, 12,000 square foot mansion on 2.8 ocean front acres in the old money (cum hedge funder) enclave of Palm Beach, FL, designed by Addison Mizner and originally built in 1920.

As of last December, the Greene clan was reportedly ensconced in six suites at The Omphoy Ocean Resort in Palm Beach, a 134-room, ocean front boo-teek hotel bought out of foreclosure last year by—you got it—Mister Greene for somewhere around $42,000,000. The somewhat peripatetic family plans to camp out at The Omphoy while La Bellucia undergoes (what we imagine will be an extensive and expensive) restoration, renovation and customization.

photo: Nicholas Strini for Property Shark 

In April 2011 Mister Greene dropped $26,271,375 on a 6-story, cast-iron structure with 43,706 square feet of interior space on New York City's Wooster Street. We have no idea if Mister Greene has plans to convert all or any portion of the building into a private residence for he and his family.

listing photos: Corcoran

Just about a month later he shelled out $36,000,000 for Tyndal Point (above), a sprawling, 55-acre spread in the Hamptons (near Sag Harbor) with 3,000 feet of water frontage; multiple, long and sandy private beaches; three fairly modest residences, including a glassy, low-slung contemporary set near the water's edge; two carriage houses; and two deep water docks, perfect for parking his infamous, 145-foot party-yacht Summerwind.

listing photos: Hilton & Hyland

Back on the west coast Mister Greene still owns his bachelor pad, a 10,466-plus square foot mansion privately perched on a gated, 2-ish acre promontory with 270-degree views over the Sunset Street. Property records show he picked up the property in early 2002 for just $1,575,000.

Listing information for the sprawling, multi-wing mansion, currently for sale at $8,999,000, shows there are 6 bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, 2 dog runs, one dance club, 1,000 bottle wine cellar, home theater, fitness facility, and 4-story elevator. The resort-style, lagoon-like swimming pool and spa is surrounded by meandering, charity party-sized terraces with the quintessential jet-liner view over Los Angeles.

Fun fact: Sometime after she got out of jail in the late 90s former Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss stayed here with then-single Mister Greene as a house guest, for an entire year. He told the folks at Forbes back in October 2008, despite how it may look, they were "not dating."

It's ironic, ain't it, that a man who does not want to live at Palazzo di Amore because it's too grand now owns a 24,000 square foot mansion in Palm Beach (plus a hotel and the old post office building), a multi-residence compound on 55 acres in the Hamptons and a six story building in downtown Manhattan.