Real Estate Newsletter: Rick Caruso’s budding empire

Welcome to the real estate newsletter. In light of Tuesday’s election results, I’m going to kick things off this week by highlighting some real estate backstory on the top vote-buyer in the mayoral race: Rick Caruso.

If you live in Southern California, the Caruso name has been a household name for the past few months. His face is plastered on billboards. Its ads are aired on radio, TV and even before YouTube videos. I personally received several text messages from his campaign asking for my vote.

The billionaire has amassed most of his fortune through real estate with a regional portfolio filled with luxury malls, high-end apartments and a beach resort. So, as long as his ads run at all hours of the day, we dove into his unorthodox process, which started with selling parking lots and now sees him as Southern California’s best-known real estate developer.

He’s not the only billionaire who caught our eye this week; we also took a look at Stan Kroenke. The Rams owner is on a real estate spending spree in Woodland Hills, and based on his ambitious plans for SoFi Stadium, we’ve taken a knowledgeable estimate of what he’s planning.

On the celebrity side, we saw a bittersweet listing in Brentwood, where the late comedian Bob Saget’s longtime home went up for sale at $7.765 million. Saget, who died suddenly in January, and his wife Kelly Rizzo owned the property for nearly two decades. His nephew takes care of the sale.

Our other standout list takes us to La Jolla, where former Dodgers and Padres star Adrián González is shopping around his $16.48 million Hamptons-style mansion. It’s a steep price tag, but one that gets you a 10,000 square foot estate with three levels of living areas overlooking the ocean. There are worse deals on the market right now.

I try to keep this newsletter focused on Southern California (there’s enough news here to keep me busy for a lifetime), but every once in a while I check the markets in neighboring states. Arizona caught my eye this week after recording its most expensive sale ever: a 21,000 square foot mega-mansion in Scottsdale that went for $28.1 million, up $4 million than the previous peak. The place has lots of amenities, but check out the pictures for yourself to see if it was worth it.

As always, while keeping up to date with the latest news, visit and like our facebook pagewhere you can find real estate stories and updates throughout the week.

Rick Caruso’s real estate empire

Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino, left, and businessman Rick Caruso are surrounded by supporters after Buscaino announced he was dropping out of the Los Angeles mayoral race and supporting Caruso.

(Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)

For 30 years, Rick Caruso has forged a career as one of Los Angeles’ most prominent real estate developers and retail operators by balancing what neighbors want with what it is ready to build, write Roger Vincent and Michael Hiltzik.

This approach has allowed him to build some of the most popular malls in the region while bringing him considerable fortune – estimated by Forbes at $4.3 billion – which propelled his mayoral ambitions. He was the top vote-getter in Tuesday’s election, and he’s heading to a runoff in November against Rep. Karen Bass, helped by the $33.5 million in personal funds spent on his campaign.

The Caruso real estate kingdom includes nine malls, the best known of which are The Grove in the Fairfax neighborhood of Los Angeles and Americana at Brand in Glendale. It also owns upscale apartments, a historic high-rise office building in Glendale, and an upscale resort in Montecito. Two other residential projects, in Thousand Oaks and in the Beverly Grove district of Los Angeles, are planned.

A look at the origins and operations of this empire shows a businessman who deployed his political instincts, force of personality and considerable resources to sway voters in his favor. Caruso’s intense focus on design and white-glove operation set him apart from many in his industry and turned him into perhaps Southern California’s best-known real estate developer.

Learn more about his usual approach, including an initial plan involving parking lots and his father’s Dollar Rent A Car business.

Woodland Hills takeover by Stan Kroenke

The Anthem Blue Cross office parking lot in the Warner Center was recently put up for sale for future development.

The Anthem Blue Cross office parking lot in the Warner Center was recently put up for sale for future development.

(Los Angeles Times)

Rams owner Stan Kroenke has acquired a high-rise office building in Woodland Hills near a former mall he bought a few months ago, strongly signaling the billionaire businessman wants to build a second sports-centric development like the one around SoFi Stadium, write Roger Vincent and Sam Farmer.

Kroenke’s two sites in the Warner Center area are expected to be part of a sprawling mixed-use complex that may include shops, restaurants, hotels and residences, as well as a training facility for the Super Bowl winning football team.

Sources close to the deal who spoke on condition of anonymity said Kroenke paid around $175 million for the property, last occupied by health insurer Anthem Inc. In total, he invested around $325 million in neighboring properties.

Built in the 1960s, the architectural house includes a guesthouse, swimming pool and spa.

Built in the 1960s but updated at the turn of the century, Bob Saget’s architectural home features a guesthouse, pool, and spa.

(Jeff Ong/PostRAIN Productions)

Bob Saget’s Brentwood home – which the late comedian owned with his wife Kelly Rizzo for nearly two decades – has just come on the market for $7.765 million.

Saget, who died suddenly in January at age 65, paid $2.895 million for the property in 2003, records show. His nephew, Adam Saget of Compass, handles the sale.

Built in the 1960s, the architectural home was remodeled shortly before Saget moved in. While there, the “Full House” star brought the home into the modern era by adding Elan smart home features and automation.

Slugger eyes a big sale

Spanning nearly 10,000 square feet, Adrián González's La Jolla mansion overlooks the ocean from three levels

Spanning nearly 10,000 square feet, Adrián González’s La Jolla Mansion overlooks the ocean from three levels of living space.

(Preview first)

Retired baseball star Adrián González is looking to make a huge sale in La Jolla, listing his Hamptons-style mansion overlooking the ocean for $16.48 million.

González, who spent five seasons with the San Diego Padres and six with the Dodgers during his decorated Major League Baseball career, paid $7.2 million for the property in 2010, records show.

The half-acre estate is perched in Muirlands, a wealthy enclave named after famed conservationist and naturalist John Muir. It spans nearly 10,000 square feet with three levels of living spaces that extend to ocean-facing decks, patios, and balconies.

Mega-mansion sells for Arizona record

Built in 2021, the quaint mega-mansion is called Altitude and sits atop a peak overlooking Scottsdale.

Built in 2021, the quaint mega-mansion is called Altitude and sits atop a peak overlooking Scottsdale and the surrounding mountains.

(Sotheby’s International Realty)

Arizona just saw its most expensive home sale ever.

In Scottsdale, a 21,000 square foot mega-mansion traded hands for $28.1 million. It breaks the previous record, which was set in 2020 when another Scottsdale mansion sold for $24.1 million.

Aptly named Altitude, the prized property spans almost 5 acres and sits atop a peak in the Summit at Silverleaf community. Walls of glass offer sweeping views of the town and valley below, and to the rear, a panoramic fire pit hovers above the pool. At the edge of the property there is an observation tower.

Built in 2021, the modern mansion has eight bedrooms, 15 bathrooms, expansive living areas and luxury amenities. The bulkiest space is the foyer, which features a swirling staircase that wraps around a three-story elevator.

What we read

This housing market is a tearful one – literally. Whether it’s a brutal bidding war or being forced to forfeit all eventualities, new data from Zillow suggests that half of U.S. buyers cry at least once in the process. So if nothing else, know that you are not alone. USA Today has the details.

For decades, Chicagoans have been promised affordable housing by local and federal leaders on a site where former public housing has been demolished. Now the city has instead decided to lease the land to the Chicago Fire Football Club, whose billionaire owner plans to build a training facility with six football fields. The ProPublica survey worth your time.

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