Richard Neutra

The Case Oceanview Residences is Taking Shape in Malibu

Last year, designer and builder Scott Gillen purchased one of the last remaining undeveloped parcels in Malibu for $50 million in what has been recorded as the largest land deal in the city’s history.

Now he’s in the midst of creating his latest project on the site: The Case, consisting of a guard-gated community featuring five single-story, Mid-century modern residences situated atop a bluff offering panoramic coastal and mountain vistas.

“When the project was listed for sale, I walked the site and the concept just came to me, and I knew that I was going to buy it. The views from the property are extraordinary, and the project was approved for one-story homes, which I love.”

Designer and builder Scott Gillen’s latest project is The Case, featuring five Mid-century modern homes atop a bluff in the guard-gated Malibu Colony community that are slated for completion in mid-2020.

“I followed the project for many years as it wound its way through a very long entitlement process,” says Gillen, president of UNVARNISHED, who has designed and built 23 houses to date and is for the first time collaborating with an architect, Richard Landry, on the development.

“When the project was listed for sale, I walked the site and the concept just came to me, and I knew that I was going to buy it. The views from the property are extraordinary, and the project was approved for one-story homes, which I love.”

Set on 24 acres at 24108 Pacific Coast Highway in the heart of Malibu—just minutes from the Cross Creek, Malibu Village, Malibu Creek Plaza and Malibu Colony Plaza shopping centers, as well as Nobu Malibu and Little Beach House restaurants—the community is set for completion in mid-2020.

Prices start at $40 million for the estates, which will range from 10,000 square feet to 12,000 square feet and feature lots as large as 5.5 acres. Expect residences reminiscent of the Case Study Houses built primarily in Southern California in the 1950s and ’60s by architects such as Richard Neutra, A. Quincy Jones and Charles and Ray Eames (hence, “The Case”), but with updated touches such as zinc roofs and large open spaces ideal for family living.

“I have lived in Malibu for the past 30 years, and this was truly the last premier undeveloped site in the heart of the city,” says Gillen. “As for the location, it’s an unsurpassed opportunity to create what I like to call an architectural mountain.”

The Case

24108 pacific coast highway
424.346.2616 | scottgillen.com

Photographs: courtesy of UNVARNISHED

Real Estate Market Influencer: Gerard Bisignano | DIGS

Gerard Bisignano: The Beach Cities & Palos Verdes agent and marketing pro shares insights on the art of real estate

The creative streak that feeds Gerard Bisignano’s real estate acumen can be traced to a pivotal moment in his early teen years. “My dad was a war correspondent in Vietnam,” says the Palos Verdes native.

“On his last trip, which was his fourth, he walked into my bedroom and hands me the 35-millimeter camera that he was using in the jungle. ‘Here,’ he says. ‘This is yours.’”

Bisignano was 15 years old, and the gift sparked an attraction to photography that has persisted since then, and resulted in previous careers as a pro photographer and the owner of an agency that managed them.

When you work with a very successful client—you cannot sell them. All you can do is supply information, the information they want, and guide them through the decision-making process.”

These days the longtime agent is a partner at Vista Sotheby’s, where he’s also head of marketing. “I’m a lousy artist,” he laughs, “but I have a creative side to me, so photography helps express that. Even my marketing and passion for architecture comes from that creative base.” Being fluent in the art of visual language is a handy skill, particularly in real estate.

“We are such a visually driven society that we are keen on making sure that the images that I use, or the company uses, are impactful,” says Bisignano. “Every single photo that’s submitted for a Sotheby’s listing gets reviewed at the corporate level before being approved.”

That’s a lot of images, given the approximately 900 Sotheby’s offices worldwide. It’s a level of scrutiny that makes sense when one considers the brand’s cachet as well as its global reach, particularly in online marketing—a reach that Bisignano ranks as “unsurpassed.”

Another creative specialty that Bisignano has parlayed into real estate success is architecture. It’s a passion that started with a client who owned the Kaufmann Desert House, a 1946 Richard Neutra getaway in Palm Springs that’s considered one of the most shining examples of International Style architecture.

“I realized there was a whole artistic side to architecture that I hadn’t really begun to appreciate,” says Bisignano. From there he began representing architectural homes in the South Bay. Quite a few of them, including designs by Ray Kappe, Thom Mayne, Richard Neutra and Pierre Koenig.

A Bisignano contrast of styles in current listings: a Richard Landry estate in Palos Verdes

The day we speak, Bisignano is listing another standout property: a $15.45 million oceanfront estate in Rancho Palos Verdes created by Richard Landry, known for designing sprawling star-studded properties, the likes of which snagged Robb Report’s Ultimate Home designation four years in a row.

Even in the hefty priced world of Beach Cities’ real estate, this listing is significant, but not a blue-moon occurrence for Bisignano. (A short time after we speak, he finalizes negotiations on a property in Rolling Hills that, when escrow closes, will represent the highest sale on record in Palos Verdes at just under $16 million.)

A contemporary Strand home by architect Dean Nota

“He interviewed me by a recommendation and that was enough for him,” says Bisignano of the owner of the Landry listing.

“The fact that he’s trusting me with this enormous asset is very humbling.” It’s a trust that might be inspired by Bisignano’s style, which avoids traditional selling, per se, and often results in an exclusive client relationships that last for decades.

“When you work with a very successful client—you cannot sell them,” Bisignano says. “All you can do is supply information, the information they want, and guide them through the decision-making process.”

Photos: Courtesy of Gerard Bisignano

Gerard Bisignano, Partner

Vista Sotheby’s International Realty
16 Malaga Cove Plaza
Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90274
310.990.4727 | coastalluxuryliving.com