If you could turn back time, you could have bought the undeveloped land under Cher’s Malibu mansion for $3 million. That’s the price the singer paid for the property in 1989. Wondering how much that’s worth in today’s dollars? Do not worry. i have you baby. It’s the same as $7.2 million. Do you believe jumbo loans and huge monthly mortgage costs? I hope so! Because unless you have $85 million in cash, you’ll need financing.
Song title puns aside, Cher bought the land her mansion now sits on in 1989 for $3 million. She hoped to build a lavish estate inspired by Italian villas with a tennis court and very high security walls on the property. “Not so fast,” said Malibu’s notoriously difficult planning commission.
The myriad of hurdles thrown up by the Malibu planning commission forced Cher to wait FIVE years before she could innovate. She then spent another five years building what eventually became a 13,000 square foot mansion with an absolutely stunning clifftop pool overlooking the ocean.
Before approving her plans, one thing the commission absolutely rejected was the 10-foot wall Cher planned to put around the property. They insisted that the walls be no more than an inch higher than the city’s seven-foot maximum height.
Cher completed construction of her lavish villa in 1999. Shortly after completion, a Malibu city planning commissioner was driving by…it’s hard NOT to drive past Cher’s home if you’re going anywhere. where in Malibu. As you can see in the photo below, the driveway literally overlooks the PCH. Something struck this commissioner about the walls as he drove by. They seemed… taller… than seven feet.
An inspector was quickly dispatched with a tape measure.
Sure enough, Cher ignored the commission’s instructions and built 10-foot walls.
A legal battle ensues. At first, Cher argued that she needed the walls to keep stalkers out. Then she took the position that the walls were actually doing Malibu a favor by protecting PCH drivers from errant tennis balls flying down the busy road.
The legal battle appealed and appealed until finally, in August 2003, Cher and Malibu reached a compromise. In exchange for a $125,000 donation to California Public Schools, Cher was allowed to keep her walls.
Below is a photo of Cher’s absolutely ridiculous Malibu mansion which, according to the Wall Street Journal, can now be yours for $85 million. See the wall on the other side of the tennis court? 10 feet.
If you buy the Malibu mansion from Cher, you get a 13,000 square foot main house that has seven bedrooms. The master bedroom has a meditation room and two closets, one of which is currently used as a panic room.
There is also a guest house.
Speaking of the guesthouse. In 2018, Ventura County police raided Cher’s Malibu mansion to arrest a 23-year-old man who lived in the guest house. The arrested person was charged with trafficking drugs, specifically supplying fentanyl, to users in Ventura and Los Angeles counties. One of his alleged clients died of an overdose. The accused dealer was apparently the nephew of Cher’s longtime assistant. At the time the police issued their search warrant, Cher was on tour in Australia.
This is actually the second time Cher has attempted to sell her Malibu mansion. She quietly bought the property in 2008, before the global recession, for $45 million. After the world collapsed in late 2008/early 2009, there weren’t many people on the planet who could afford to spend that much money on a house.
Looking back, it was lucky for Cher. With Malibu real estate hotter than ever today, someone could actually pinch $85 million. That’s $15 million less than the $100 million paid by media mogul Byron Allen for a mansion just minutes away. That’s $92 million less than the $177 million Marc Andreessen paid for an estate a bit further up the road. That’s $140 million less than the $225 million former Disney CEO Michael Eisner is seeking for his estate down the road.