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The Home Is Yours

11.03.22

Historic movie icon mansion “El Fureidis,” known for its starring role in the Al Pacino film “Scarface,” is coming on the market for $39.995 million. The Mediterranean Revival-style Montecito house exteriors featured in the 1983 film as the sprawling estate where Mr. Pacino’s character, drug lord Tony Montana, is killed by assassins.

The four-bedroom mansion was built in the early 1900’s, designed by architect Bertram Goodhue for a wealthy New Yorker James Waldron Gillespie. The 10,000 square feet estate incorporates Roman and Middle Eastern influences, including a Byzantine-style “conversation room” with a fountain and high-domed ceiling. A  barrelled ceiling above a dining room painted in 24 carat gold leaf, depicts a scene of Alexander the Great conquering Persepolis. The 10-acre estate boasts elaborate gardens and a series of reflecting pools. There is also a roof deck with views of the Pacific Ocean and the Channel Islands, and two guest cottages with an additional three bedrooms, according to lead listing agent Dina Landi.

The seller is a company headed by Houston-based businessman Pradeep Yohanne Gupta, CEO of private investment bank IQ Holdings, and his family. Mr. Gupta, 64, bought the property in 2015 for just $12.26 million, significantly less than its onetime $35 million asking price.

Mr. Gupta said he and his wife, Linda Gupta, had owned property in the Montecito area, an enclave known for its high-profile celebrity residents such as Ellen DeGeneres, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle for more than a decade but had been looking for a house with more land and more gravitas. As an architecture enthusiast Mr. Gupta said he revered Mr. Bertram as being “pretty close to God.” He had not seen “Scarface” at the time but has since watched it and found it “cheesy.” He noted that the interior of “El Fureidis” looks nothing like the carpeted décor of Tony Montana’s house in the film.

“The home is a tranquil place to be where you can listen to the gentle drops of water and totally meditate and relax in the conversation room,” Mr. Gupta enthuses. “My wife is extremely fond of the extensive gardens and enjoys picking apples, peaches and figs from the orchard trees and observing sparrows and woodpeckers.”

The couple originally planned to spend much of their time in Montecito although the pandemic prevented them from getting to the estate for over a year. The couple’s centre of gravity has also shifted back toward Texas for business reasons, hence their decision to sell.

Mr Gupta attributed the seller’s desire to move the property on quickly when he became the owner back in 2015, Since then, the Montecito market has been on a consistent upward trajectory.

“It’s a completely different world,” adds Ms. Landi, managing partner of Riskin Partners Estate Group of Village Properties Brokerage/Forbes Global Properties. “The Montecito market was already on an upswing before the pandemic, but Covid-19 has upped the ante. Los Angeles residents who had dreamed of owning a place in Montecito suddenly found it more practical to do so, thanks to more flexibility to work from home.”

Recent buyers in the area include former Google chief executive Eric Schmidt, who bought a historic home for $30.8 million in 2020.

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