A Chinese gaming billionaire just paid $500,000 over asking for a historic Los Angeles mansion. Take a look at the $25 million property.

aerial view of the usc presidential mansion in san marino california
The 14,000-square-foot mansion housed USC presidents for 40 years.

  • Chinese gaming billionaire Tianqiao Chen bought a historic $25 million Los Angeles mansion earlier this month.
  • He paid $500,000 over the asking price for the residence, which housed USC presidents for 40 years.
  • Chen, the founder and chairman of Shanda Group, is known as one of the pioneers of China’s online-gaming industry.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Tianqiao Chen, a Chinese billionaire who made his $1.5 billion fortune in the games industry, just bought a historic 14,000-square-foot mansion in San Marino in Los Angeles County.

Chen Tianqiao
Chen in 2005.

Chen offered $500,000 over the $24.5 million asking price, beating multiple other competitive offers, a spokesperson for Douglas Elliman, one of the brokerages who held the listing, told Insider.

“The [winning] offer was compelling, but we had buyers waiting in the wings,” Listing agent Ernie Carswell of Douglas Elliman told Mansion Global.

Chen, the 48-year-old founder and CEO of Shanda Group, is credited with pioneering the gaming industry in China. He founded gaming company Shanda Interactive Entertainment Limited in 1999 and became a billionaire by age 30. In 2004, Shanda was the largest online-gaming company in China. Chen left China around 2012 and lived in Singapore for a time. He’s now based in Silicon Valley, according to real-estate news site Dirt.

In 2016, Chen and his wife, Chrissy Luo, donated $115 million to create the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience at Caltech, which is just a five-minute drive from their new home.

Chen declined to comment on the purchase via his company.

Called the Seeley Mudd Estate, the 14,000-square-foot home is also known as the University of Southern California (USC) Presidential Mansion because it housed the university’s presidents for 40 years.

a view of the usc presidential mansion in san marino california

The residence has hosted multiple holiday parties each year for university donors, faculty, trustees, and special guests since 1979, according to Douglas Elliman. And every Thanksgiving, the university president would invite USC students who were unable to travel home for the holiday to a dinner at the residence.

USC decided to sell the estate to cut costs during the pandemic and downsized to a smaller home for the university president in Santa Monica, per the Los Angeles Times.

Built in 1934, the American Colonial-style mansion sits on more than seven acres in San Marino, an upscale Los Angeles suburb.

aerial view of the usc presidential mansion in san marino california

Its $25 million price tag makes it the most expensive home sale in San Marino history, according to Douglas Elliman. 

It has housed more than just USC presidents.

aerial view of the usc presidential mansion in san marino california

The seven-acre estate was assembled from parcels that once belonged to WWII General George S. Patton and railroad tycoon Henry Huntington.

The home’s historic details include imported 17th-century wood paneling in the living room and walnut hardwood flooring.

a living area in the usc presidential mansion in san marino california

Source: Douglas Elliman

The house has eight bedrooms and 11 bathrooms.

a large master bedroom inside the usc presidential mansion in san marino california

Source: Douglas Elliman

Carswell, one of the listing agents, said he expects the home’s new owner to upgrade the kitchen and give the house a more open floor plan.

kitchen in the usc presidential mansion in san marino california

The home is in “beautiful condition, but is not in the style of today,” the agent told Mansion Global in February, when the home went on the market.

Elliman’s Austin Alfieri and Brent Chang of Compass also shared the listing.

The property’s grounds feature expansive lawns, a forest of magnolias, sycamores, oaks, and Chinese elms, English rose gardens, and multiple fountains.

aerial view of the usc presidential mansion in san marino california

Source: Douglas Elliman

The home’s al fresco dining and entertaining areas give the owner plenty of opportunity to enjoy the Southern California weather.

an outdoor patio area at the usc presidential mansion in san marino california

Source: Douglas Elliman

There’s also an outdoor swimming pool with a lounge area and outdoor kitchen.

an outdoor swimming pool at the usc presidential mansion in san marino california

Source: Douglas Elliman

At the far end of the property sits a sunken championship tennis court.

a tennis court at the usc presidential mansion in san marino california

Source: Douglas Elliman

The estate also includes a carriage house garage with its own gas station and car wash, an office, and a chauffeur’s apartment.

aerial view of the usc presidential mansion in san marino california

In a whimsical touch, there are also “children’s cabins” at the edge of the forested section with running water so that children can play house and have tea parties.

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