September 10, 2021 - 3:00 pm
Tomo Yebisu epitomizes the trend that’s bolstered the Las Vegas luxury home market since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic — wealthy Californians relocating to Nevada — except most don’t move next to their boss.
Yebisu, executive vice president of production at LoanDepot, set the mark for a home purchase in August when he paid $12.5 million for a 9,500-square-foot, five-bedroom, eight-bathroom home that sits on a 0.86-acre lot in MacDonald Highlands. Luxury Realtor Kristen Routh-Silberman of Corcoran Global Living represented the buyer and seller.
It was one of 122 sales of luxury homes and high-rise condos in the Las Vegas area in August, taking the annual total through nine months to a record-breaking 1,146, according to Forrest Barbee, corporate broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. The 122 sales are the lowest monthly total since 109 in February, but it should pick up because of pending sales. There are 216 pending sales, higher than the 183 pending in July, when there were 167 sales.
The two-story home on Dragon Peak Drive in MacDonald Highlands is adjacent to the property with the highest price ever paid for a home in Las Vegas at $25 million — the Blue Heron show home measuring 15,000 square feet and purchased by billionaire Anthony Hsieh, founder of LoanDepot.
“I can look across the bridge and see him at night, and it’s hilarious,” Yebisu said. “We’ve worked together for 30 years, and I owe him everything he has provided for me and my family. He’s gone above and beyond for three decades being the best man in my life other than my father.”
The 58-year-old Yebisu, who lived in Newport Beach before relocating to Las Vegas, even resided near Hsieh in Newport. He grew up in the Central Valley of California, the son of American-born parents of Japanese descent who were held in internment camps during World War II.
Yebisu said he was influenced by Hsieh, whom he called an incredible man, to move to Las Vegas and in particular MacDonald Highlands.
“I lived in Orange County for 35 years and the last 20 years in Newport Beach — one of the most beautiful places in the world — but I felt it was time for a change,” Yebisu said. “I was thinking of Austin and Nashville and then Anthony was looking at the Blue Heron home. As much as I had been to Vegas, I had never been off the Strip before. Last November, I jumped on a plane and came to look at that Blue Heron home, and there was another property listed on Scenic Rim Drive. As soon as I came into the community, I was floored. I pictured Las Vegas as this flat grid and hot and very similar to what I grew up with in the Central Valley. On a Saturday I saw MacDonald Highlands, on Sunday I made an offer for the home on Scenic Rim Drive (which has since been listed) and on Monday it was accepted.”
Yebisu said he closed on a new 8,600-square-foot home in December for $6 million. He said he moved into the home in February with only a backpack and fell in love with the view. He had only two beds and a rental desk for six months and was working with an interior designer on $3 million upgrades when he saw the home he now lives in on Dragon Peak Drive for sale. His old home on Scenic Rim Drive is now listed for $8.75 million, which would net him a tidy profit.
“I have followed Tyler (Jones, Blue Heron founder) and his work since seeing the trophy house in November,” Yebisu said. “He’s the most progressive architect in the nation. The home reflects it. As much as I was going to put into the old home versus what this was. I felt this was four to five notches up — the concrete, architecture and outdoor and indoor transition and functionality of the home. The home next door is an art piece with water running throughout the entire home. The transition from that Blue Heron to this Blue Heron — every piece of the home is functional from the game room, bar and master bedroom to the four bedrooms and beautiful great room and kitchen and butler pantry and workout facility. There is nothing in this room I would change. I still can’t believe this little-town kid is living in this.”
Yebisu said the views he had at the home on Scenic Rim Drive were beautiful, but the views on Dragon Peak Drive are “more spectacular to look at from Red Rock to the Strip to the Black Rock Mountains and rolling hills. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t walk in that backyard and say ‘thank God.’ ”
It’s not only the home that’s impressive to him, Yebisu said. He enjoys the restaurants and shopping on the Strip and the attitude of people he comes across in Henderson and elsewhere.
“I couldn’t ask for anything better,” Yebisu said. “It has that small-town feel where everybody smiles and the service is genuine. I feel like I’m back home.”
His current home previously belonged to entrepreneurs Ian and Dee Kessler, who worked with Blue Heron on the design. The property falls into the double-gated Dragon Reserve, an exclusive section of MacDonald Highlands.
Highlights of the home include a private upper-level master wing and lower-level junior suite, temperature-controlled glass-enclosed wine cellar with wine tasting lounge, chef and catering kitchen, elevator, executive office, fitness room, game and media room, voluminous ceilings, solar technology and SavantSmart Home technology.
The home has two infinity saltwater pools, spa, outdoor grill and bar, swim-up door barbecue kitchen and bar and covered outdoor living room between the two pools.
“The home has 9,500 square feet of interior and 4,000 (square feet of) exterior (space), but the exterior to Tyler is very much like interior,” Yebisu said. “When I open my doors, the flooring from my indoor to the outdoors is exactly the same. It’s transitional. When the weather is right like it is now, both of my doors are wide open.”
Yebisu said his favorite part is his office that overlooks the mountains with its “awesome view,” but he also loves a lot more about it.
“I love the transition from the great room to the two pools. It has an interior pool and exterior pool,” Yebisu said. “I have already thrown three parties that were just fantastic. It’s better than any dayclub you can imagine. More than anything, I love the actual architecture itself. It has cement walls. I’m not an architecture guy, but what I notice are the angles. … If you look at the bottom of the hill and look up, you can see all the beautiful modern homes in MacDonald Highlands. When you see the angle on my home, you can tell that it’s a Blue Heron.”
An angled natural stone wall borders the gourmet kitchen. The highly functional hub showcases two-tone counters and cabinetry. It offers a central island with a white counter and sink bordered by a distinctive elevated bar with casual seating. The bar’s black-and-white granite features a waterfall edge. The unrestricted floor plan flows from the kitchen to the dining, formal living and outdoor living spaces. A semiformal dining space lies between the kitchen and formal living room.
Imported gray Tundra marble flooring graces the entire home except for carpeted two upper-level bedrooms. The home’s color palette is predominantly gray, black and white augmented by distinct colors in each room.
Voluminous 24-foot ceilings in the formal living area offer second-level views as the angled central Dekton fireplace mantel and surround ground the room with a focal point.
The L-shaped main level design captures the indoor/outdoor living with pocket doors opening to a comfortable outdoor living space. Outside, seating surrounds a fire feature and borders an outdoor bar with a hibachi grill. The outdoor area sits between two infinity-edge pools. A swim-up kitchen and bar, spa and multiple entertaining areas complete the space.
On the other side of the estate’s entry is a separate wing with a junior suite and guest bedrooms. The junior suite features a kitchenette and a private entrance into the home.
A floating staircase leads from the entry to the upper level. The upstairs features a game room, full bar encased in imported granite with turquoise accents, pocket doors opening to showcase the framed views, balcony and a fire feature. A linear catwalk connects the game room to the bar area, providing views of the main level.
The color palette for the upper bar area reflects the neon colors of the Strip. Green couches and neon green chairs complement the turquoise bar base.
An architectural design element is the separate linear upper-level master wing, used to frame the views from several vantage points.
The master features unobstructed views of the Strip through pocket doors and a private balcony. The unhindered sightline is accomplished with a media cabinet at the end of the bed. The cabinet houses a motorized television.
“My master bedroom is connected to the bar,” Yebisu said. “The bar opens up into a fire pit, which opens up to my master bedroom. It’s almost like a separate wing.”
Real Estate Millions freelance writer Valerie Putnam contributed to this article.