Bel Air, long known as Los Angeles’s opulent westside neighbor. boasts America’s most expensive property now listed at $350M. Bel Air is also home to the country’s second and third most expensive properties as well as more than a dozen additional properties priced at +$20M.
This most expensive property, known as Chartwell, was built in 1933 by the architect Sumner Spaulding. Spaulding never lived in the house, however, because his wife didn’t like it so the property sat vacant until hotelier Arnole Kirkeby bought it in the mid 1940’s. Granny and Jed Clampett’s gang in “The Beverly Hillbillies” “moved in” during the mid ’60’s when the exterior of the main residence was used as the backdrop for the sitcom’s credits
Chartwell’s true owner, A. Jerrold Perenchio, acquired the property in 1968 and went to work amassing its five adjacent properties to its current 10.3 acre scale. Under Perenchio’s direction, the designer Henri Samuel restored the 25,000 square foot main residence in its 18th C French Neoclassical style.
This epic chateau was intended for “grand entertaining” and includes the essential amenities required for such entertaining… a detailed limestone facade, ballroom, paneled dining room, wine cellar, covered parking for 40 vehicles, a 75′ pool and adjoining pool house, tennis courts plus an adjacent Wallace Neff designed guest house. The entire property is adorned with manicured gardens, fountains, sculptures, and mature trees to ensure maximum privacy. Sweeping over-the-treetops views from downtown Los Angeles to the Pacific Ocean render Chartwell a world within the world.
Perenchio had an eye for star and entertainment power as well as for state-of-the-art living. A talent and sports promoter who represented such stars as Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando, Perenchio teamed up with Norman Lear and Alan “Bud” Yorkin in Tandem Productions in the 1970’s and 80’s to bring mega-hit after mega-hit to television screens. Those hits include “All in the Family,” “Sanford and Son,” “Maude,” Facts of Life,” “Different Strokes,” etc. In the 1990’s, Perenchio partnered with Emilio Azcarraga Milmo to buy Univision. The two sold it in 2007 to the Saban Capital Group for a reported $13.5B.
Chartwell has sustained its pristine elegance since Perenchio’s passing in May, 2017, and is now awaiting its next devoted owner.