Real Estate newsletter: Rick Caruso’s rising empire

Welcome back to the Real Estate newsletter. In light of Tuesday’s election results, I’m going to kick things off this week by spotlighting some real estate backstory on the mayoral race’s leading vote getter: Rick Caruso.

If you live in Southern California, Caruso’s name has been inescapable over the past few months. His face is plastered on billboards. His commercials run on radio, TV and even before YouTube videos. I’ve personally received several texts from his campaign asking for my vote.

The billionaire amassed most of his fortune through real estate with a region-spanning portfolio filled with luxury retail centers, high-end apartments and a beach resort. So, as long as his ads are running every hour of the day, we took a deep dive into his unorthodox process, which started with selling parking lots and now finds him as the best known real estate developer in Southern California.

He’s not the only billionaire that 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 blueprints for SoFi Stadium, we took a well-informed guess at what he’s planning.

On the celebrity side, we saw a bittersweet listing over in Brentwood, where the longtime home of late comedian Bob Saget surfaced for sale at $7.765 million. Saget, who died unexpectedly in January, and wife Kelly Rizzo owned the property for nearly two decades. His nephew is handling the sale.

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

I try to keep this newsletter Southern California-centric (there’s enough news here to keep me busy for a lifetime), but every once in a while, I check into the markets of neighboring states. Arizona caught my attention this week after it recorded its priciest sale ever: a 21,000-square-foot mega-mansion in Scottsdale that went for $28.1 million — $4 million more than the previous high. The place has plenty of amenities, but check out the photos for yourself to see if it was worth it.

As always, while catching up on the latest, visit and like our Facebook page, where 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 surrounded by supporters

Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino, left, and businessman Rick Caruso are surrounded by supporters after Buscaino announced that he was dropping out of the L.A. mayoral race and putting his support behind 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 finding the sweet spot between what the neighbors want and what he is willing to build, write Roger Vincent and Michael Hiltzik.

That approach has enabled him to construct some of the region’s most popular shopping centers while bringing him a sizable fortune — estimated by Forbes at $4.3 billion — that has propelled his mayoral ambitions. He was the leading vote getter in Tuesday’s election, and he’s headed for a November runoff against Rep. Karen Bass helped by the $33.5 million in personal funds spent on his campaign.

The Caruso real estate kingdom encompasses nine retail centers, of which the best known are the Grove in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles and the Americana at Brand in Glendale. He also owns high-end apartments, a historic high-rise office building in Glendale and an upscale beach resort in Montecito. Two more residential projects, in Thousand Oaks and L.A.’s Beverly Grove neighborhood, are planned.

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

Read more about his usual approach, including an early-days plan involving parking lots and his father’s Dollar Rent A Car business.

Stan Kroenke’s Woodland Hills takeover

The parking lot for Anthem Blue Cross offices in the Warner Center recently went on sale for future development.

The parking lot for Anthem Blue Cross offices in the Warner Center recently went on sale for future development.

(Los Angeles Times)

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

Kroenke’s two sites in the Warner Center neighborhood are widely expected to become part of a sprawling mixed-use complex that may include stores, restaurants, hotels and residences, along with a training facility for the Super Bowl-winning football team.

Sources close to the deal who spoke on condition of anonymity said Kroenke paid about $175 million for the property, last occupied by health insurer Anthem Inc. In all, he has sunk about $325 million into the neighboring properties.

Built in the 1960s, the architectural home comes with a guesthouse, swimming pool and spa.

Built in the 1960s but updated around the turn of the century, Bob Saget’s architectural home comes with a guesthouse, swimming pool and spa.

(Jeff Ong/PostRAIN Productions)

Bob Saget’s Brentwood home — which the late comedian owned with wife Kelly Rizzo for nearly two decades — just hit the market for $7.765 million.

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

Built in the 1960s, the architectural abode was remodeled shortly before Saget moved in. During his stay, the “Full House” star brought the home into the modern age 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 spaces.

(Preview First)

Retired baseball star Adrián González is looking to score 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, an affluent enclave named after famous conservationist and naturalist John Muir. It spans nearly 10,000 square feet with three levels of living spaces that expand to ocean-facing decks, patios and balconies.

Mega-mansion sells for Arizona record

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

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

(Sotheby’s International Realty)

Arizona just saw its priciest home sale ever.

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

Fittingly named Altitude, the prized property spans nearly 5 acres and sits atop a peak in the Summit at Silverleaf community. Walls of glass take in sweeping views of the city and valley below, and out back, a scenic fire pit hovers above the swimming pool. At the edge of the property, there’s a viewing tower.

Built in 2021, the modern mansion boasts eight bedrooms, 15 bathrooms, vast living spaces and luxury amenities. The most voluminous space is the foyer, which features a swirling staircase that wraps around a three-story elevator.

What we’re reading

This housing market is a tear-jerker — literally. Whether it’s a brutal bidding war or being forced to waive all contingencies, new Zillow data suggests that half of U.S. home buyers cry at least once during the process. So if nothing else, know you’re not alone. USA Today has the details.

For decades, Chicago residents were promised affordable housing by local and federal leaders on a site where former public housing was demolished. Now, the city has instead decided to lease the land to the Chicago Fire Football Club, whose billionaire owner is planning to build a practice facility with six soccer fields. The ProPublica investigation is worth your time.