Mark McDermott

Strand sale sets real estate record

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The Ray Kappe design at 1600 The Strand has been called the finest work of residential architecture in the beach cities. Photo by Scott Mayoral

See 1600 The Strand photo gallery by photographer Scott Mayoral.

The landmark home designed by noted architect Ray Kappe at 1600 The Strand in Manhattan Beach has sold for $10.9 million, which according to the Multiple Listing Service real estate database sets a new mark for the highest home sale in the history of the South Bay beach cities. The previous high was $10.7 million for another Strand home sold in 2007.

The deal was finalized last Friday after a 30 day escrow. Gerard Bisignano of Sotheby’s International Realty represented both the buyer and the seller in the transaction. The home was on the market for 420 days and was originally listed at $13.5 million.

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“I always knew we would sell the home,” Bisignano said. “Everybody we showed it to came out liking the home more than they even thought they would. But in this economic environment, what we call the smart money – which is the high net worth individual – they have been looking and waiting for the right time. And I think now we are seeing the ultra high end homes starting to sell.”

The buyer, a Manhattan Beach native, has requested his name not be disclosed. Bisignano described the man as “a savvy businessman” who intends to fully restore the iconic 5,200 sq. ft. home, which was built by famed Hollywood animator Lou Scheimer. The residence served as a weekend home for Scheimer and was designed with entertaining guests in mind. Among its unique features are a rooftop pool and deck that would no longer be permissible under current zoning. The deck’s 35 ft. height represents the highest vantage point on the Manhattan Beach Strand.

But its uniqueness also made the home a more difficult sell.

“It’s not really set up as a family home, so it lacked that floor plan that many people are looking for,” Bisignano said.

But Bisignano, who specializes in high-end and architecturally significant homes, also expressed satisfaction in having found an appreciative buyer.

“There is a uniquely satisfying feeling when you know you were able to help transfer this home to somebody who would not only appreciate the home but also work hard to bring it to the next level,” he said. “He will do a great service not just to that home but also to the community, because it is a landmark home.”

South Bay architect Dean Nota, who was an understudy with Kappe and went on to become an internationally recognized architect in his own right, worked on the home early in his career in the 1980s.

“This is the most interesting piece of pure architecture in the whole South Bay, in my opinion,” Nota said in an interview last year. “And I don’t think there is anything that comes close to it.”

Bisignano said he has become so familiar with the home that finalizing its sale did not come without some mixed feelings.

“I can tell you, after having a home that long that I really respected and enjoyed marketing, I did go through a little post-partum depression,” he said. “I felt after this long process, this gestation period has ended…It’s like you are saying goodbye to a friend, almost.”

But the feelings weren’t that mixed.

“My wife and I went out for a wonderful dinner with a fantastic bottle of wine,” Bisignano said. “…I slept very well Friday night for the first time throughout the 30 day escrow.”

See an interview with architect Ray Kappe from Beach Magazine last year.


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