A sprawling compound with an extensive filming resume on Long Island’s North Shore has just hit the market, offering music fans the opportunity to own an iconic piece of rap history. Known as Bellavista, the property sits on a whopping 16 acres in New York’s affluent Old Westbury suburb, which Bloomberg counts as being the 18th richest zip code in the entire United States.
Central to both Manhattan and The Hamptons, the estate is located about 25 miles east of the former and 70 miles west of the latter. And, as the listing notes, there’s plenty of room for a helipad to be built on the premises for those seeking a quicker commute to either.
Initially constructed as an Amish farm in 1868, the secluded site makes for quite the unique buy. The spacious grounds not only boast a 9,415-square-foot main residence that stands on a gated four acres but a fully operational 12-acre equestrian village with expansive lawns that includes seven legal cottages, as well! Considering the potential rental, riding and, of course, filming revenue, the listing represents an extraordinary opportunity to purchase a property with an abundance of built-in passive income – not to mention the set from an epochal music video. It was at the estate back in 1995 that The Notorious B.I.G. shot the famed video for “Big Poppa,” the groundbreaking second single from his premiere studio album, “Ready to Die.”
Mediterranean in style, the handsome main residence contains seven bedrooms and nine bathrooms (six full, three half) spread across two floors. There is also a partially-finished 4,533-square-foot basement level with a dressing room, a fireplace, a nearly 300-square-foot cedar closet, multiple storage spaces and ten-foot ceilings.
According to listing information, “The main house is reminiscent of European enclaves from Spain and Greece, constructed with solid white stone and terra cotta roof. It was built in 1988 throughout a four-year ‘labor of love’ construction, flying in artisans and masters from Europe as well as highly respected Manhattan designers to create a dream house sparing no expense. Every inch was created with the highest level of quality, materials, and design. Today, it presents a buyer with an opportunity to bring their own vision to life, reimagining the finishes with more contemporary style throughout the smartly laid out floor plan.” As such, visual renderings of possible new design schematics have been provided by Compass, including the above of the entry foyer, where guests are currently welcomed via a dramatic space capped by a 36-foot ceiling with a sunroof. Standing opposite the front doors is a grand bifurcated staircase complete with a balcony overlooking the expansive room. The remainder of the mansion features ten-foot ceilings throughout.
Amenities are plentiful at the estate. With boiserie and millwork galore, an impressive five fireplaces, four balconies, a formal dining room and a gym, the manse is not short on creature comforts or space.
Rounding out the living spaces are a den that opens to a wisteria-covered patio, formal living and family rooms (both with fireplaces) and a chef’s kitchen that is bigger than most New York apartments! An epicure’s delight, the cavernous space (pictured in a rendering above) currently features a granite island and countertops, oversized fridge and massive breakfast nook surrounded by a smattering of arched windows.
To the rear of the mansion is a 96-gallon swimming pool and attached jacuzzi, flanked by an outdoor kitchen and mature foliage of every size, shape and vibrant color. The grounds are bucolic and serene and, some might even say, hypnotizing.
The charming Colonial-style equestrian village consists of myriad outbuildings including two barns, stables housing 29 stalls, two garages and six paddocks, most of which are original to the 1868 farm.
The unique and extensive landscape provides ample backdrops and vistas for filming and, as such, the property has been a location manager favorite, appearing in more than 100 productions including movies, television shows, commercials and music videos.
The Notorious B.I.G. and Bad Boy Records exec Sean “Diddy” Combs headed to the estate to shoot “Big Poppa” – more specifically to the property’s ornate main bathroom. It is while sitting in the massive tub, with its gilded swan-shaped faucets, amidst a trio of women and bubbles of both the champagne and soap variety, that Combs asks, “How you living Biggie Smalls?”, and he responds in his signature flow, “In mansion and Benzes, giving ends to my friends and it feels stupendous.” Indeed, taking a dip in that tub on a regular basis would feel stupendous.
Biggie and Combs also shot the video for “Warning” at the estate, with the latter taking up residence once again in the bathtub of the owners’ suite for the shoot. The rest of the mansion, including the foyer, appeared extensively in the video, as well.
Biggie Smalls proved to be a B.I.G. fan of the property because he also filmed the video for Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s “Player’s Anthem” there, along with Lil’ Kim and Lil’ Cease.
Additionally, Kool G Rap made use of the main bathtub in his “Fast Life” music video. Talk about a famous tub!
Bellavista played the home of Raphael Soto (Lou Cantres) in the 1998 action film “Scarred City” (also known as “Scar City”).
In 2008, the manse’s front gate was used in a 1-800-Flowers commercial starring Martha Stewart and Jim McCann.
It popped up as the residence of radio station owner Frank ‘Buck’ Rogers (Andrew Dice Clay) in the pilot episode of the Martin Scorsese/Mick Jagger-created series “Vinyl,” which aired in 2016.
And it portrayed a couple of different spots in the season three episode of “Madam Secretary” titled “The Detour,” including the Dakar, Senegal palace where Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord (Téa Leoni) met with President Babacar Diome (Afemo Omilami), as well as Le Musée Togolais d’Art et dHistoire in Lomé, Togo, which Elizabeth and her team toured.