A luxury developer has paid $50 million for 24 acres on a Malibu bluff above an ultra-exclusive stretch of beach, making it the city’s biggest land deal, according to listing records.
Scott Gillen, the founder and owner of development and design company Unvarnished, closed Thursday on the swath of prime beach bluff, which he plans to turn into a guard-gated community of five luxe, multi-million-dollar homes.
Mr. Gillen told Mansion Global he saw the land as an opportunity to build one cohesive community perched above an ultra-exclusive stretch of beachfront real estate called Malibu Colony—home at one point or another to stars like Sting, Judd Apatow, Mel Brooks and Bill Murray.
“To create an entire environment: That was the draw. And the views are spectacular,” Mr. Gillen said.
He had a very clear vision for the enclave, which he’s dubbed “The Case,” and began designing the homes two-to-three months before the deal closed, he said. Sandro Dazzan of Coldwell Banker Global Luxury represented Mr. Gillen in the record-breaking deal.
The development will include five homes inspired by mid-century modern architecture. Mr. Gillen said he likes to draw on elements from Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic exteriors, including low-pitched roofs and big eaves. His interiors center around open floorplans with exposed post-and-beam details, he said.
“Everything that I build is south facing, so I also work a lot with the sun,” Mr. Gillen said—an appropriate source of inspiration given the dramatic bluff and ocean views.
The homes will range from 10,500 square feet for the smallest of the homes to around 13,500 for the largest, with the parcels varying from around 2.5 acres to over 5.5 acres. The developer also plans to incorporate landscaping with California’s native coastal species.
This will be Mr. Gillen’s second development community in the beach city. He also designed and built “The Who,” another Malibu luxe enclave that generated more than $130 million in sales when it opened in 2015.
Mr. Gillen said he plans to deliver the completed development in the next two-and-a-half years. Under today’s market conditions, the homes are expected to be priced between $40 million and $60 million, though rapid price appreciation in Malibu means that they may come to market for more.
In a sense, Mr. Gillen has only the fun part of ahead of him when it comes to new project. The sellers of the property spent around a decade going through the bureaucratic motions to secure the entitlements for the property necessary to begin design and construction.
Mr. Gillen enlisted the help of renowned architect Richard Landry for his latest project. Mr. Landry, who designed the homes of Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen, Dr. Dre, Sylvester Stallone and a host of other A-listers, was already well acquainted with the property before Mr. Gillen purchased the land. He had worked with the previous owners to secure the entitlements.
“It’s a very large project, probably the largest that I’ve undertaken,” Mr. Gillen said.
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