Man buys mansion just to tear it down

Everybody has a dream home, but for some people, it's all about finding the perfect piece of property first.

By Mai Ling at MSN Real Estate Aug 18, 2009 9:31AM

Don't you hate it when you buy this spectacular house, but you just want more?


The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Pacific Investment Management Co. "Bond Guru" Bill Gross plans to join the three other billionaires who live in the small, gated community on Harbor Island in Newport Beach, Calif., after buying a bayfront home there for $23 million.


The 11,000-square-foot Georgian Colonial home with nine bedrooms and 12 bathrooms was built in 1979 on a double lot with 112 feet of water frontage. But alas, he's tearing it all down -- to build his own mansion, according to


Reporter Sara Lin offers some insight into the deal in this video:



It's gives me hope that in a state where there were 124,874 foreclosed homes on the market in July, and where Playboy founder Hugh Hefner loses $10 million in a home sale, there is still property that's considered a rare find, and a buyer willing pay for it -- not once, but twice.


Apparently, Gross, co-founder and chief investment officer at Pimco, did try to be sneaky about the deal, purchasing it through the Monte Carlo Trust -- which may not have been so sneaky after all, since Lin says Monte Carlo is actually the name of the street he now lives on with his wife in the Irvine Cove neighborhood of Laguna Beach, Calif.

In other high-end real estate news, Lin also discusses the recent sale of a $25.9 million Southampton, N.Y., home that the government seized from hedge-fund manager James Nicholson in March.


Nicholson, president of Westgate Capital Management LLC, is accused of bilking at least $150 million from investors through a Ponzi scheme. He bought the 10,000-square-foot home with nine bedrooms, nine bathrooms and 222 feet of oceanfront for $27 million in 2008, which kinda makes the feds look pretty savvy about the real-estate market.


Although they put it on the market for $33 million after seizing it, considering the state of the luxury real-estate market, they nearly came out ahead at that price. I am impressed.


Lesson for the day is: If you're involved in finances, you'd really rather be considered a bond guru than a bilker.

Aug 20, 2009 11:51AM
Gross is an insider that guided policy at the Fed and government over most of his career. In other words he benefitted from insider trading. The house and Gross's personal assets should be seized and he should be jailed.
Aug 20, 2009 8:36AM

No, It is a $1 to $2 million house with a $20 million+ lot.  A vacant lot down the street sold for $30 million  a year ago.  This is some of the highest price real estate in the world.  Gross got a deal.  The Highest And Best Use of this lot is to tear down the old house and build a monster.  Everyone wins.  Employers, tax payers, and of course Gross.


Honestly, try to keep up.


Aug 19, 2009 10:00PM
Unfortunately the US taxpayer is paying for Bill Gross's extravagant castle on Harbor Island.
PIMPCO... the 5th branch of the U.S. government.
"Shaking hands with government... while sliding off their Rolex."
Aug 19, 2009 5:40PM

I'm suprised you nit pickin nitwits who do not pay ANY taxes (and by the way are sitting down at a computer somewhere with internet access, a package of smokes and a case of beer) know anything about working for a living ....


this guy and me are supporting the rest of you 99%ers who live off of the rich and powerful(read educated, smart, successful and HARDWORKING) who BY FAR pay the majority of taxes in this country to support democratic policies that will drive this country further into the ground..  Get off your ass, get educated and work for your paycheck, just like the rest of us did for years before we started our own businesses....stop complaining and get to work you morons!!!!

Aug 19, 2009 7:06AM

There's really not much difference between what he's doing and when a developer goes in to a beautiful natural area, levels most of the land and trees, puts in streets and builds a bunch of nearly identical McMansions for pretensious upper-middle class millionaire wannabes. I hate to think that in their heart of hearts, most Americans would love to be able to do the same thing, but I do. 

Aug 19, 2009 6:41AM
Mr Gross is gross, over indulgent and narcissistic, he is concerned more about his personal pleasure than those he represents. My mother is 93 years old and in very poor health she had invested for many years in Pimcos perfered paper. Over 1 1/2 years ago this fund was frozen,and she hasn't been able to get the money back she needs to live on. Repeated requests have been made with no positive responce or plan to when she will recieve her savings back. Mr Gross has the gall to spend this money and recieve outrages salary and yet he deprives her the right to access her life's savings. 
Aug 19, 2009 6:18AM
wah wah wah---if you have the money, spend it--stimulate the economy--waste is CLEARLY an opinion.  Tear down the White House and move it to the moon--If it generated 10 million jobs and didn't raise taxes what's the difference?  Please stop crying for all those on some sort of BS government give-away program that can't get a house (or pay for the one they have).  Houses are WAC--WITH APPROVED CREDIT--you dont pay your bills you dont get a house!!!--You pay your bills, you can tear down every house on the block.  And if you want to complain that the mortgage company took advantage of you--YOU DIDN'T PAY A PENNY MORE THAN YOU AGREED TO.  I've never been in the mortgage business, however I deal with credit criminals every day (I had a guy yesterday that had bad checks to the GIRLSCOUTS, and this scum wanted a 6 figure line of credit)  Here is a word of advice for all you out there that dont pay you bills (you know who you are, you get letters and phone calls about it every day).  This Nov pull all three copies of your credit, in Jan DO NOT do rapid refund (its a ripoff), with the tax return pay off all those collections & judgements (instead of buying that obsolete bigscreen).  AND ABOVE ALL stop telling people your bad credit is because of a divorce or a sick child, just take a little accountability, maybe then 49% of us wont be supporting the other 51%.
Aug 19, 2009 5:34AM
He is a Billionaire. 23 Million is 2.3 percent of his net worth. And that is if he is only worth 1 Billion. Anything above that would make the average go down.
But here are a few things to consider. The new house will most likely be better insulated, heated, and cooled. The electrical work will be done to MODERN standards. The plumbing will be new. I know knew is not necessarily better, but there have been a lot of advances in the last 30 years. When I replaced my 30 year old furnace in my house with the least efficient model that I was allowed (we use the room the furnace is in as a guest room). I went from something that was maybe 20% efficient to 95% efficient.
Would you all be happier if instead of demolishing and rebuilding, he spent that money just remodeling the house?
I do like the idea of using this bad press to create a benefit for a new cause. There are a few ideas that come to mind.
1. Auction for a charity, winner is given one week to strip anything they want out of the building before it is demolished.
2.  Give Habitat for Humanity a week to strip anything of use out of the building.
Turn the bad press into good.

Aug 19, 2009 5:32AM
I agree with '' piggirl'' anything she say , she understand very well this day of the 2009 , and all that share her opinion , congratulation for the healthy mind , But to all like the shorty mind ex:'' downhill racer'' probable he is not to smart to comment a really thinks of our present day , hey Mr. ''downhill '' you are really at the bottom of this opinion and people like you are complete mental retarded to say, we the very hard working ones ,we don't hate someone who honest working make money , but the irony of the destiny ,just the F-kings crocks and sh.. greedy ones , from Vegas example , some big sh.. from Gov place and to not forget some infected creature from the Hollysh... California so far make the dirty Dollars and all they made is in the back of our honest large class of the people .
Aug 19, 2009 2:59AM

We can help recycle this house!  Murco Recycling Enterprises, Inc. specializes in brokering materials from homes prior to demolition or deconstruction.  Murco hosts demolition salvage auctions where everything from windows, doors, floors, cabinets, appliances, sinks, tubs, toilets and landscaping is for sale.  This process diverts materials from the landfills, allows buyers to purchase quality materials at below wholesale pricing, and generates a source of income for the home owner.  For more information visit our website at  or contact Dave at 847-589-0525 or

Aug 19, 2009 1:01AM

Greed. Pure greed. Sickening. I hope he's found a way to take his billion with him when he dies.

Aug 18, 2009 11:10PM

I thought only people like "el chapo guzman" from the mexican cartel or " pablo escobar" from colombia could do stuff like this!!!    

a business man would never do something so stupit!!!

Aug 18, 2009 11:04PM
Sad the guy is a coward he couldnt quit his racket when hes got millions to retire on. hes one of the greedy money lords who get richer for doing absolutely useless thing that doesnt benifit the society. its too scamic to have money like that.
Aug 18, 2009 10:49PM

Only a few people have mentioned it, so it is worth repeating.... the $23M is almost entirely the value of the lot.  Harbor Island is the most exclusive island in Newport Harbor and there are no vacant lots available.  He's not throwing away his money when he tears down the house because the value is in the highly desirable land. If you want to build yourself a new home in the Newport area you pretty much have no choice but to do a tear-down.  There will be a limited amount of recycling going on.... who needs 30 year old toilets?  What typically happens in the Orange County area is that some of the product will work it's way to Mexico, but a limited amount of material like lumber will be recycled, etc.


The guy made his money honestly so he should be allowed to spend it the way he wants. He's worth $2B and he can't take it with him.  In the meantime the new project will provide much needed work for local professionals and contractors / subcontractors. He pays more taxes than any of us and does more good with his money than most.  Ironically, he recently donated the same amount ($23M) to Duke for underprivileged students:


Durham, N.C. -- William H. Gross, manager of the world’s largest bond mutual fund, and his wife Sue are giving more than $23 million to Duke University to provide financial aid for needy and excellent students and other programs, Duke President Richard H. Brodhead announced Wednesday.


or how about...


“Bill’s a pretty humble, quiet guy. He doesn’t look for the limelight at all,” said Ron Guziak, executive director of the Hoag Hospital Foundation, who worked with the couple when they donated $20 million to the hospital in 2005.




"The couple also gave $10 million to UC Irvine for the university’s stem cell research center, which is named after them. And they have given $3 million to Sage Hill School in Newport Coast to establish a fund for scholarships for kids who couldn’t afford private school."




"Selling his British stamp collection for $9.1 million to benefit Doctors Without Borders"


Last I checked we live in a free enterprise that has allowed him to make HIS money, gift HIS money, and spend HIS money the way he wants.


Some day he will sell it for $50M and gift it just like Bill Gates is doing.




Aug 18, 2009 10:03PM
also, i  am not saying he should not be doing it.  yes, he will employ many which is great.  no, i am not jealous.  although i am not a millionaire,  my husband and i work/live in the middle east making about 20-25 thousand a month (which is what my husband makes) working in the gas industry.  that money won't buy a 23 mil house but it makes me jealous of no one.   i just don't think it is news worthy!
Aug 18, 2009 10:00PM
Wow twelve bathrooms! Rich people must be full of sh*t. I'm sure mr. gross realized the futility in having 12 bathrooms and is going to build a house with a more practical, 3. Of course I could be wrong. I think i might question the fee's PIMCO charges if i was an investor.
Aug 18, 2009 9:57PM
with so many people unable to just afford the basics this story should not even be news worthy!
Aug 18, 2009 9:45PM

Hello Mr. Bill Gross,


If you find that your old dollar bills are too mushy, I will be more than happy to take them off your hands for free. I will make all the arrangements for the pick up, and personally see to it that you do not have to go through this unwanted and painful act.  


I must say sir, a man of your stature should be very comfortable in your environment, that when the new gets old, make way for the new by throwing out the old, which is where I comes in. I am sure you will be able to hear the crackling of those new shiny dollar bills when you get rid of those old ones.




Your Best Friend

Aug 18, 2009 9:35PM
The house is no big deal.  The lot vacant is worth $23,000,000.  The annual property tax generated from this purchase will be in excess of $230,000.  When he builds the house, the property will be reassessed, probably in the range of $30,000,000.  California can use the $300,000 per year. It will generate some work for local planners and contractors.
Aug 18, 2009 9:26PM
You people are so short-sighted about America that it's truly sickening.

The man that spent 23 VERY large on a piece of property put money in pockets of hundreds of people. who in turn used that money to live and put money into pockets of perhaps a few hundred more, maybe a few thousand when it's all said and done.  When he then turns around and spends a few more VERY large building HIS house, that number will swell to thousands and thousands, and maybe tens of thousands at the end.

You gotta wonder about the general population sometimes....

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