It’s hard to find, cell service is spotty, the threat of fire is high, and it’s on the Ventura County line. However, Bell Canyon, the exclusive 1,700-acre gated community north of Calabasas (with a gate; an entrance and exit), is a magnet for celebrities, where residents include Niecy Nash, Jhené Aiko, Alyssa Milano, Trey Songz , Holly Marie Combs and Shaquille O’Neal.
This year, We are Star Chrissy Metz paid $ 3.5 million for a Bell Canyon villa and emo rapper Lil Uzi Vert spent $ 4.4 million for a contemporary home (both residences were listed on Rodeo Realty). After moving to Texas, Joe Rogan sold one of his two residences there. Rogan’s five-bedroom contemporary Mediterranean home listed on Compass was traded last March for $ 3.45 million with a premium: $ 250,000 above what was requested.
“It has always been a destination community for celebrities because of the safety, privacy and serenity,” says Pinnacle Estate Properties real estate agent Kevin Godley. Last January, O’Neal sold his five-bedroom home, located on a cul-de-sac in Bell Canyon, for $ 1.85 million.
Prices range from $ 1.5 million to $ 6 million. The lots are large and relatively inexpensive compared to nearby gated communities like Hidden Hills. Call it a fancy, highly patrolled Mayberry. The roughly 800-plot autonomous community has everything residents need: two schools, a five-acre public park, an equestrian center, tennis courts, and more than 70 miles of hiking trails, plus a tight-knit rural atmosphere.
“It’s a hidden gem that lets you leave the hustle, bustle and exposure behind,” says Avenue 8 real estate agent Marla Thomas, “a community that lets you trade the chaos of Hollywood for the tranquility of stunning views and a incomparable cold. This is a community that allows your anonymity and promotes your individuality expressed in a personalized home that showcases your personal tastes. “
Celebrities have always had a yearning for a country home. During Hollywood’s Golden Age, legends like Barbara Stanwyck, Carole Lombard, and Clark Gable built large, secluded ranches in the dusty San Fernando Valley. With its trails and panoramic views of the beige and brown Santa Monica Mountains Park Preserve, Bell Canyon has the same feel, and history backs it up.
Once the site of a Chumash community, until 1967, it was Ward Ranch, a working cattle ranch. That year, developers purchased the land and soon renamed it Bell Canyon in honor of area pioneer Charles A. Bell. The lawyer and editor of a 19th century newspaper is said to have lost his arm in a shooting. Additionally, they paid tribute to the canyon’s Wild West past with the new development’s street names such as Wild Stallion Road and Saddlebow Road.
Mid-century modernist architect Cliff May, an innovator of the now ubiquitous California Ranch home, designed the Bell Canyon buildings and equestrian center. He encouraged developers to design the lots to keep the rural ranch environment in its most natural state. “They kept the natural contours of the canyons and ridges that offer terrain stacked on top of one another,” says Godley. “Also, they don’t allow stone walls, so all the houses are separated by hedges and mature gardens.”
Adds Godley: “Due to open architectural patterns within the community, there is a wide variety of homes from the modern California ranch to the stately English Tudors.”
This story first appeared in the December 1 issue of Newzpanda magazine. Click here for subscribe.