Bernard Arnault, world’s fourth-richest person, dives into the spec mansion game

Bernard Arnault is making moves in Beverly Hills

Buying nearly a half-billion-dollars worth of Rodeo Drive retail properties apparently isn’t Bernard Arnault’s only real estate ambition in Beverly Hills.

Arnault, the fourth-richest person in the world, has added to his sizeable portfolio of prime Los Angeles real estate with a $30 million purchase in the Trousdale Estates neighborhood. The chairman of luxury goods conglomerate LVMH picked up a 6,400-square-foot home there last month, according to Yolanda’s Little Black Book.

It’s not the home itself that makes the purchase interesting. The move appears to be part of a wider spec-home development strategy.

The Trousdale house neighbors another home that Arnault bought in 2016 for $32.5 million that he quickly demolished and is replacing with a home currently under construction. Last month’s purchase suggests he’ll combine the properties into single 2.84-acre spread, like he’s currently doing with two neighboring properties in the Bird Streets neighborhood of the Hollywood Hills.

Arnault is also building what looks like a spec home on a massive 3.64-acre property in Beverly Hills Post Office that he bought vacant last year for $33.9 million.

The French-born billionaire is not a stranger to the real estate game. Before building the luxury empire that is LVMH ­— whose brands include Louis Vuitton, Moet Hennessy, Dior, and Bulgari ­— Arnault built a vacation-property real estate empire out of his father’s company.

High-end residential properties aren’t the only real estate investments Arnault is making in L.A. Over the last two years, he’s spent a total of $482 million on three prime retail properties on Rodeo Drive. He broke a per-square-foot record with his purchase of the in 2016, followed it in March with a of 456 N. Rodeo Drive, and then scooped up a corner property for $250 million in September. [Yolanda’s Little Black Book] – Dennis Lynch

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