Celebrities Properties

Say hello to my little house: the grandiose tribute to poor taste and excess that housed the final hours of Tony Montana in the classic De Palma/Pacino flick ‘Scarface’ is on the market – after a clean-up and a facelift.

The opulent 10, 000 square foot property is surrounded by palm trees and Mediterranean gardens, and everything about it screams ‘Miami’ – so much so that a Miami house has run tours for years as the ‘Scarface mansion.’  In fact, though, the movie was shot on the other side of the country, in California’s Santa Barbara, where this 10-acre property is located on 631 Para Grande Lane.

scarface mansion1

The mansion was built for James Waldron Gillespie, and the design deliberately evokes classical Greek and Roman sculpture throughout.  Designed by architect Bertram Goodhue in 1906, the property even has a name: ‘El Fureidis,’ meaning, ‘Tropical Paradise,’ and includes 5 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms and details including painted ceilings with gold leaf trim, tiled rooms and a unique pool  – very recognizeable from a certain angle – complete with fountains.

scarface mansion-2

The ostentatious poor taste that characterised the mansion in the film was added for characterization – the filmmakers thought that the home of Tony Montana should look crass and glitzy, so gold and statuary, including a gigantic pink neon globe bearing the legend,’ the world is yours!’ was added.  All that has been removed, though, leaving a home that’s certainly expensive but no longer looks cheap.

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Now, the mansion looks stately and palladian, with a dignified neoclassical frontage, bright blue pools divided into quadrants  and an estate packed with palm trees and formal gardens.  Inside, the gigantic piles of illicit substances and terrifying firearms have long since been removed.  Instead, there are parquet floors, statement modern furniture seamlessly integrated with the antiques and spacious, high-ceilinged rooms.  The main ‘conversation room’ features an 18-foot-high dome ‘modelled after the church of St. John Lateran in Rome,’ according to the brochure copy.  The recent refit replaced old-fashioned appliances, particularly in the kitchen, without affecting the mostly original fittings and fixtures.

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One reason why such a large house has so (comparatively) few bedrooms is that the original design was aimed at producing a house to entertain in rather than a dormitory.  Rather than extra bedrooms, space was given over to patios, an interior courtyard, a rooftop terrace, verandas and Persian gardens.  Indoors, the barrel-vaulted ceilings might interest you – if not, there’s a view out over the Pacific Ocean from every room.

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The price tag keeps falling, too: the home was last on the market for $35m in 2008, before selling for an undisclosed amount – maybe just over $2m, maybe about $6m, depending on who you listen to – to Russian financier Sergey Grishin.  Now it’s relisted for more modest sums and there’s even a rental option.  You can rent the mansion for $30k a month.

All Images: The Santa Barbara, California mansion made infamous in the 1983 movie “Scarface” starring Al Pacino as Tony Montana, is for sale. Tour inside “El Fureidis,” which means “tropical paradise.”  Courtesy Village Properties/Tom Ploch

Sheryl Crow

Sheryl Crow is still seeking to sell her Nashville – area ranch.  Cross Creek Farm, in the College Grove area south of Nashville, it has already been relisted twice and is now on offer at about half the original asking price.

Sheryl Crow has been struggling to sell her Nashville-area ranch since 2010, and has recently relisted it at an even lower price.

The farm used to be close to Ms. Crow’s heart, judging by a 2008 interview for People in which she said, ‘We have a ‘white-trash backyard… We pop out the side of the tour bus and set up our lawn chairs, the baby pool and the iPod speakers. It’s totally a tailgate.’

Ms. Crow’s 51-acre equestrian ranch, Cross Creek Farm, sounds authentically country, appropriately enough for the star who was nominated for two American Country Music Awards last year.  Ms. Crow extensively redecorated what was once a very traditionally-styled Southern mansion, aiming for a more family-friendly home – though some more macabre touches, like the vintage bar she installed in the barn, flanked by two Wild West death masks, edged back into Southern Gothic territory.

But Cross Creek Farm clearly no longer feels like home to Ms. Crow, and she’s anxious to sell.

It might be all she wants to do, but mortgage advisor Zillow says Ms. Crow’s home might still be on the shelf because the price is still too high.

According to Zillow’s calculator, ‘Zillow Blog says, ‘a buyer could expect a monthly payment around $15,489, assuming 20% down on a 30-year fixed mortgage,’ placing the home at the high end of College Grove’s housing market.

The 10,433 square foot farm’s spec is certainly strong enough to sell: it has a 14-horse barn, an outdoor pool and indoor arena.

The path to a successful sale has been a winding road, though.  Ms. Crow first put Cross Creek Farm on the market back in 2010 for $7.5 million and relisted it in 2011 with a 40% price cut.  Now the property is back on the market a third time for $3.85 million, though it has been cut down in size to make a sale easier – the original 175-acre parcel of land was proving to be ‘a handful to sell,’ according to The Tennessean’s Nancy Mueller.  After a handful of price manoeuvres and an unsuccessful online auction, Ms. Crow is still struggling to move the farm.

If you’re considering moving to a mansion in rural Tennessee, Cross Creek Farm might be just what you’re looking for.  For $3.85 million – offers may be accepted – you’ll get 50 acres of land, a saltwater pool with fountains, the main estate home, staff quarters, that barn, of course, and a basement recording studio, as well as two solar systems that take care of about 50% of the farm’s energy needs – and a ‘rocking-chair porch’ thrown in.  The farm is also a great hay producer.  Well, if it makes you happy…

Source Article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2530925/Sheryl-Crow-relists-Tennessee-ranch-second-time-time-slashes-price-3-85-million.html

Image source: WikiMedia

Larry Page Yacht

There has been a big fuss made because the founder of Google Larry Page bought a super yacht second hand but many say the decision should be applauded.

Larry Page is married with one child, and he has bought a 195 foot yacht with 10 bedrooms, a massive dining room, helipad, gym, and multi-level sun decks, including a deck with a cinema projector on an overhanging ceiling. This is more than enough space and entertainment for his small family and his friends so doesn’t the measured purchase simply indicate that he has more sense than money as oppose to the other way round?

Take the crew of 14 for a 195 foot yacht, if my maths are correct the 400+ foot yachts owned by Page’s competing tech-mogul billionaires will have crews of double that or more and their yachts cost upwards of 5 times the price.

Larry Page can therefore run his boat for ages before the purchase costs him as much as the larger yachts, and without even counting their running costs.

When the recession hit many Russian billionaires were forced to call of such purchases, and others to hold a fire sale of the assets they owned. If the tech bubble bursts were to burst it would surely trigger another recession, during this Larry Page will find it a lot easier to sell a 195 foot yacht for 20 million than others will find it to sell 400 foot yachts for 150 million.

On the other hand, these yachts are not usually bought to take the family out on a jaunt around the local sea. They are bought as a symbol of wealth and status. So, looking at it from this angle, Page is either trying to be the bigger man, to rise above such petty manhood measuring, subconsciously in fear that Google’s global dominance is not as secure as it once was, or his wealth and status is not as great as the likes of Paul Allen and Larry Ellison, who own yachts of 415ft and 454ft respectively, both costing over $200m.

Which is it? Does it matter? The Senses, formerly owned by New Zealand brewing heir Sir Douglas Meyer is a yacht that us mere mortals can only dream of owning.


Madonna and Guy Ritchie’s divorce continues to make headlines as the estimated wealth of the couple is in the hundreds of million pounds. In the seven years of their marriage they have amassed a nice property portfolio in both of their names, however, it will be interesting to see whether Guy will squeeze Madge for some of her pre-wedding fortune, estimated at over £300 million by The Sunday Times.

Madonna and Guy Ritchie’s Property Portfolio

The couple own:

  • The Punchbowl pub in the swanky London Mayfair suburb which they bought for £2.5 million.
  • A £6 million Mews property which is situated directly adjacent to their Marylebone home. It houses the couple’s staff.


A recent press release from Dubai developers, Tatweer suggest that the first phase of the first Tiger Woods’ designed golf course is only months away from it’s completion due date in Q4 2009.

The revolutionary course would feature 5 million square feet of locally grown grass and over 30,000 fully grown imported trees according to the release.

The developers’ of the ‘The Tiger Woods Dubai’ project are Tatweer, a division of Dubai Holding, a UAE government owned company. Their plan is to make it part of Dubailand, a massive theme-park complex on the outskirts of Dubai.

The course and surrounding golf residential community together would cost US$1.09 billion (AED4 billion).

David Beckham Natal BrazilEngland football legend, David Beckham will be opening the first ‘David Beckham World of Sport,’ complex in Natal, Brazil, to coincide with their hosting of the 2014 World Cup. This will be part of a bigger resort, which will include a â”Rubens Barrichello motor racing school,” but no plans for a “Spice Girls” academy of dancing,” as far as we know just yet.

Beckham has already set up professional sports academies in both London and Los Angeles. Whilst in Brazil for the launch, he said, “I am honored to be associated with this incredible project which will build world-class sporting facilities in Brazil, hopefully having a major impact at a local level and internationally”. Beckham hopes to give opportunities to gifted but disadvantaged children, rather than teaching them how to play the game. Although perhaps Mr. Beckham could learn a thing or two from some of his young charges judging by his recent performances.


Sandbanks, Doset Ariel View
Sandbanks, a dune off the coast of Poole in Dorset England has the fourth highest land value, by area, in the world

Every now and then, we come across something that makes us wonder as to the sanity of the property market and behaviour of some estate agents.

A small dune in Dorset recently hit the news as being the fourth most expensive place to buy a property in the World with average property prices at £850 per square foot. Correct, the world. More expensive than Tokyo or Paris. A dune. In Dorset.

Putting this in context of global property prices; Prime Central London properties currently average at about £1,300 per-square-foot; in Upper Manhattan, New York £950 per square foot; in Moscow about £900 per square foot, in Sandbanks, Dorset £850 per square foot, in Paris £800 per square foot & in Hong Kong £785 per square foot.