Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Celebrity Real Estate: Tae Bo Inventor Unloads Hidden Hills Estate




Images courtesy Prudential California Realty
Hot off the presses from Trulia Luxe Living comes word of Tae Bo inventor Billy Blank's massive estate sale in  Hidden Hills on January 6, 2012 for $7,300,000.

Billy Blanks is a fitness guru, martial artist, actor and the inventor of Tae Bo exercise program that swept the nation in the 90's. Dont be ashamed to admit that you purchased a Tae Bo video. Billy Blanks initially started as an actor in the 80's starring in several unsuccessful action-adventure films. Remember his role in The Last Boy Scout with Bruce Willis. The whole acting thing didnt work out so well and Tae Bo skyrocketed. Its amazing how much wealth can be generated by selling DVDs which are still available here and here. Billy Blanks also started the Tae Bo Billy Blanks World Training Center sometime in the early 90's proudly located in the San Fernando Valley at 14708 Ventura Blvd Sherman Oaks which is right next to the Mels Drive In with its distinctive Googie architecture. I never visited the World Karate Center but it appears to have closed sometime in 2006 based on a comment posted on Yelp. This location is where Billy Blanks trained many celebrities as mentioned on his about page.  

According to the listing, this 7 Bed/11 Bath home on 16,478sqft on 1.93 acres built in 2001 states:
HUGE PRICE REDUCTION!! SPECTACULAR, ONE-OF-A-KIND MEDITERRANEAN IN THE PRIME 'ASHLEY RIDGE' SECTION OF HIDDEN HILLS. AN UNMATCHED VALUE WITH OVER 16,000 SQUARE FEET OF SUPERB QUALITY & LUXURY! FEATURES INCL. AN INDOOR BALLROOM/BASKETBALL COURT, STELLAR HOME THEATRE, GAME ROOM, STUDY, PIANO ROOM, SPECTACULAR MASTER W/ RETREAT, LUXURIOUS STONE BATH WITH SPA TUB & STEAM SHOWER, VIEW BALCONY AND PRIVATE STAIRS TO THE POOL & SPA WITH GROTTO BELOW. THE GROUNDS FEATURE A LARGE CABANA WITH OUTDOOR KITCHEN, ADJOING WATERFALLS, FOUNTAINS, LUSH, PRIVACY LANDSCAPING AND PASTORAL VIEWS. BIG, NEARLY TWO ACRE LOT WITH POTENTIALLY ROOM FOR A SPORTS COURT OR HORSES BELOW MAIN PAD. AMENTIES INCLUDE A TWO-ROOM GUEST SUITE WITH PRIVATE ENTRANCE, VOLUME CEILINGS, SLAB STONE COUNTERS AND STONE FLOORS, DOUBLE IRON STAIRCASE, SKYLIGHTS, ELEVATOR, CUSTOM WINDOW TREATMENTS THROUGHOUT, AND A HUGE, SLIDING WALL OF GLASS THAT OPENS TO LET THE OUTDOORS IN, PLUS GARAGES FOR 6-CARS. SUPERB LOCATION ON A FLAT CUL-DE-SAC. A QUALITY HOME FROM START TO FINISH. IN MY OPINION, NOTHING COMPARES FOR THE PRICE IN 91302! QUALIFIED BUYER'S ONLY PLEASE.
This home was originally purchased on January 31, 2000 for $1,400,500 as a land purchase which Billy Blanks and his wife Gayle built their custom home which is massive with no expense spared as can be seen in the listing pictures above. This transaction netted the Blanks a profit of $5,899,500 not including the home construction costs, commissions, fees, taxes, and other home related expenses. Even if Billy Blanks spent $1 million constructing this home, the approximate profit is close to $5 million which was a very wise investment back in 2001 especially in the sought after and well protected area of Hidden Hills. I am guessing that if he sold at the peak of the market, he could have sold for $15 to $20 million but there may be a reason why he sold now to be discussed later. Billy Blanks tried to offload his property after the market mania days as he made numerous attempts in 2008 all the way through 2011. He originally listed on October 3, 2008 for $11,500,000 back when the markets were imploding. So to sell in 2012, Billy Blanks had to chop off $4 million which is a good chunk of change but still in the black (presumably). Below is the price history from Zillow. I am not sure who bought this house but the new owners got a good deal considering other similar transactions.


Price History

DateDescriptionPrice% Chg$/sqftSource
01/19/2012Price change$8,500,00013.3%$515--
11/30/2011Pending sale$7,500,000--$455--
11/05/2011Price change$7,500,000-11.8%$455--
05/07/2011Listed for sale$8,500,0006.3%$515Agent
08/13/2010Listing removed$7,995,000--$485Dominion Enterprises
07/25/2010Listed for sale$7,995,000--$485Dominion Enterprises
07/24/2010Listing removed$7,995,000--$485Prudential California Realty
06/27/2010Listed for sale$7,995,000--$485Prudential California Realty
06/27/2010Listing removed$7,995,000--$485Dominion Enterprises
06/19/2010Listed for sale$7,995,000-23.1%$485Dominion Enterprises
06/12/2010Listing removed$10,400,000--$631Prudential California Realty
11/14/2009Price change$10,400,000-9.6%$631Prudential California Realty
06/20/2009Price change$11,500,000--$697Prudential California Realty
04/25/2009Listed for sale$11,500,000--$697Prudential California
04/17/2009Listing removed$11,500,000--$697NRT California
10/03/2008Listed for sale$11,500,000721%$697NRT California
01/31/2000Sold$1,400,500--$84Public Record

Prior to the Hidden Hills home, Billy Blanks and his wife lived not too far away in West Hills' exclusive Monte Vista estates in a modest (by their standards) 5 Bed/5 Bath 4100sqft home (shown below). He purchased this home on February 9, 1995 for $541,500 and later sold on June 27, 2002 for $792,000 for a $250,500 gain not including fees, commissions, taxes, etc with the proceeds possibly to pay for the construction costs and/or furnishings of the Hidden Hills home. If the Blanks waited till May 2011 which is when this home sold again, they could have sold for $1,060,000 and gained another $250k profit on the home. But this is when Tae Bo reached its peak and the Blanks felt compelled to "move up" and live in the ultra exclusive Hidden Hills neighborhood with all of their new found wealth.

Images courtesy Ewing Sothebys IR
As with many real estate transactions, they typically occur because of the three D's; divorce, debt, and death. While reviewing Wikipedia, I discovered that Billy Blanks divorced his wife Gayle of 33 years in April 2008  (but separated in September 2007) which coincides with the initial listing of the Hidden Hills estate. I am not sure if this is related to the closing of the training center in Sherman Oaks around 2006. And why did things get rocky? Because guys are assholes. According to the Japan probe website, Billy met a 39 year old interpreter, Tomoko, from Japan, where a romantic relationship developed in 2007. These "romantic relationships" eventually lead to a birth where Tomoko gave birth to their daughter, Angelina, in November 2008. And next comes marriage with Blanks marrying Tomoko in January 2009 and also moved to Osaka, Japan. And that is why this massive estate was sold although not rushed. I am assuming that these profits were split in half due to the divorce as Billy and Gayle both owned the property. I am not sure where Gayle and her kids are heading but I am assuming that it is somewhere in the West Valley (Calabasas?) based on their long history here.

It appears that Billy Blanks has left the San Fernando Valley sometime in 2009 with no intention to return as he plans to open a new exercise studio and has applied for permanent residency. Since we are talking about Billy Blanks, wanted to mention that he was recently in the news for two former employees who managed his personal and business expenses were sentenced to 33 months in jail for stealing $1.1 million from him. This is a lot of drama to handle in the past couple of years.

We are sorry to see Billy Blanks go as he was another unique individual to call the Valley home where he crafted the Tae Bo product regardless if you hate it or like it. Its definitely a product that has worldwide recognition with roots in the Valley (got to have some respect for that accomplishment).


Other celebrities in the exclusive Hidden Hills area include Jennifer Lopez (I wonder if she will sell with her recent divorce), Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne who are selling their home discussed here since June 2011, Melissa Etheridge, Denise Richards, Nicolette Sheridan, The Kardashian clan, and Beau Bridges who is also trying to sell his home discussed here. Also, Tamar Braxton and Vincent Herbert recently purchased in Hidden Hills which was discussed here


Across the freeway in Calabasas, I recently discussed producer James White massive 192 acre estate available on the market and former Laker Bryon Russells' foreclosed home. 

You can find more San Fernando Valley Celebrity Real Estate here

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