The gracious gates of Bel Air signal that residents are about to leave the bustle of the city and enter a gracious, peaceful, and beautiful oasis. Bel Air is possibly the most exclusive of the “Platinum Triangle” communities, which also include Beverly Hills and Holmby Hills. Bel Air Estates comprises the original portion of Alphonzo Bell’s 1923 development which is today, the enclave of Bel Air. All homes in Bel Air are subject to local ordinances for building styles and lot sizes which ensure a high quality of life.
The homes in Bel Air Estates include the $350 million estate of Jerry Perenchio, the late owner of television’s Univision empire, also called the Chartwell Estate. The Chartwell Estate is reminiscent of French Country architecture and its facade will be familiar to many because it was used for the opening of “The Beverly Hillbillies” television show in the 1960s. The 10-acre estate includes many fountains, sculpted formal gardens, and a 75-foot swimming pool and tennis court. With a ballroom, tennis court, wine cellar, and covered parking for 40 cars, the Chartwell Estate achieved the record of being the most expensive listed real estate in the United States in 2017.
A number of other lavishly-appointed estates are also located in Bel Air Estates, including a 38,000 square foot “megamansion” completed in 2017 called “Billionaire” on 924 Bel-Air Rd. built by entrepreneur Bruce Makowsky. Makowsky designed the estate to appeal to the “super-wealthy who demand the very best in life.” Completely open and glass-walled with an extensive infinity pool that is incorporated within the structure, the estate is completely furnished and represents a “multi-sensory, all-powerful experience.”
Along with these two extreme properties are many other gracious and elegant estates which may appeal to discerning owners in search of the ultimate in prestige, lifestyle, and environment. The majority of homes inside Bel Air Estates are walled and gated, as well as being located inside Bel Air’s gates themselves.
Many celebrities are noted for living in Bel-Air, although original developer Alphonzo Bell initially did not allow sales to individuals in the film industry, relaxing this standard after the 1920s Depression era. Residents of Bel Air have a few exclusive gathering places, including the Bel Air Country Club and the Hotel Bel Air, but the community is largely free of commercial development. Driving through Bel Air Estates may provide the feeling of stepping back in time, but estates continue to be modernized and updated, including 21st-century ultra-high-tech properties like Bruce Makowsky’s ultimate ￼$250 million “Billionaire” estate.
- De Neve Square Park
- Holmby Park
- Beverly Glen Park
- Warner Avenue Elementary School
- Emerson Community Charter Middle School
- University Senior High School