The $20 million restoration of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian’s Hidden Hills mansion and their move in 2018 heralded the ascent of the 1.7 square mile gated metropolis to the pinnacle of celebrity enclave heights.
Of course, celebrities like Drake, Britney Spears, and Miley Cyrus have been moving to Hidden Hills in increasing numbers over the past few years in their never-ending drive to acquire even more opulent properties in the west Valley.
It’s a fantastic turnaround for a small town intended to be a rural escape from the postwar building boom’s frenzy. It turned the Valley from an agricultural breadbasket into a congested suburb with more than 500,000 residents.
The rapid growth, along with the traffic, smog, and crowding that came along with it, created an opportunity for landscape architect and developer A.E. Hanson.
A page from the marketing strategy for his other gated community, Rolling Hills, was torn off and used to create a billboard that yelled out to hurried suburbanites, “1,000 Acres of Elbow Room.” He bought land in the hills at the far western edge of the Valley.
Hidden Hills, like Rolling Hills, was a gated neighborhood with 1-acre properties. Equestrian uses of the area were not only permitted but rather promoted. There were also no sidewalks or lamps. The community was established in 1961 to prevent annexation by Los Angeles and maintain its autonomy.
Hidden Hills has always attracted celebrities, albeit more of the B-movie variety than the A-listers currently residing there. Leo Gorcey, a famous actor, acquired the first house sold, a model home. Later, notable athletes like Don Drysdale, a former Dodger, also made purchases there.
The exclusivity eventually became an attraction for top-tier performers of all stripes, while conventional celebrity hot places like Beverly Hills were swamped by tour buses ferrying hungry movie fans up and down once peaceful streets to gaze at the mansions of the stars.
The glamorous center of Nouveau Hollywood has undeniably moved to Hidden Hills with the entrance of megastar power couple Kimye, numerous other Kardashian and Jenner family members, and extra big-name celebs.
At Hidden Hills, where there are at least two riding schools and bridle paths in place of sidewalks, equestrian pursuits remain a significant part of daily life.
Despite its exclusivity, Hidden Hills has quick access to the 101 Freeway and is close to the Van Nuys Airport, making international private jet travel convenient.