Earlier this month, news of the pending demolition of Marilyn Monroe’s famed Los Angeles home went viral. Since then, onlookers have wondered who would pay more than $3,000 per square foot — already a very high price for the neighborhood — only to tear down the local landmark.
The property quietly changed hands in August, when it sold to a mysterious trust (“Glory of the Snow 1031 Trust”) that paid about $8.4 million, in cash, for the place. The trust’s trustee is Andrew Schure, a Philadelphia-based businessman.
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Many speculated that the new owner was a greedy developer, or a high-flying tycoon looking to build a custom dream home on the half-acre lot. But the real story is a little more complex.
This week, the L.A. tour bus service Esotouric uncovered a very big clue to the owner’s identity. Recent photos reveal the wall and hedge between Monroe’s home and the much larger house immediately next door have been removed, an indicator that the two properties are being linked together to create one large compound.
The house next door is owned by a notably wealthy heiress named Brinah Milstein, who is married to Roy Bank — a former reality television producer and Philadelphia native. Milstein acquired her current Brentwood home, a 2006-built mansion that spans some 6,000 square feet of living space, in 2016 for about $8.2 million.
Milstein, 42, is a daughter of the late Carl Milstein, a powerful businessman who was one of Cleveland’s most prominent real estate developers. In the 1970s, he served prison time for bribing a federal housing official; he also founded Associated Estates (AEC), which became one of the largest owners and managers of apartment buildings in Ohio.
In 2015, AEC was sold for $2.5 billion. Today, some of Brinah Milstein’s siblings are executives at Milstein Asset Management, a single family office with a portfolio of assets and investments worth “billions of dollars.”
In addition to her two-property, $16.6 million Brentwood compound, records indicate Milstein recently bought an oceanfront vacation home in Newport Beach, Calif., paying $8.2 million.
It’s still unclear what Milstein and Bank plan to do with the Monroe property once the house is torn down, though it seems destined to became one piece of a larger estate. Clearly, the vacant lot would have more than enough space to accommodate a full-size tennis court, a guesthouse, gardens or garages for additional parking.
But for folks upset by Milstein’s plans, all hope is not yet lost. Last week, the L.A. city council unanimously voted to consider the house for historic preservation, prompting the building department to revoke Milstein’s demolition permit. And immediate neighbors of the Monroe house have told Robb Report that they’ve spoken directly to Milstein, who they claim has already changed her mind about tearing down the iconic home.
Some vocal critics have derided all the hullabaloo about Milstein’s demolition plans. They point out that the Monroe house is just another Spanish-style hacienda, one of thousands in L.A., and that it has been remodeled multiple times since Monroe’s death, leaving the 2,600-square-foot structure an imperfect blend of 1920s throwback and 2000s modernity. Why does it matter that one of Hollywood’s most famous stars lived and died there decades ago, they say.
But “imperfection is beauty,” Monroe once noted. So maybe her little slice of Brentwood imperfection will stick around to see another year.
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