'Paparazzi-Proof' Condo: Pure Privacy or Marketing Ploy?

They have telephoto lenses. They have the stamina for hours-long stakeouts. They have feet that move fast, and they aren't afraid to have them run over by Britney Spears.

They're Los Angeles paparazzi, and the "paparazzi-proof" condo going up in L.A.'s Westwood neighborhood, aimed at flash-bulb weary, wallet-heavy celebrities, hardly stands a chance against them.

The Carlyle Residences, a 24-story tower under construction on Wilshire Boulevard, boasts all the usual bells and whistles: 24-hour white glove concierge service, a fitness center powered by The Sports Club LA, a wine cellar worthy of a world-class vineyard, a private pool and a yoga lawn.

But forget that. Elad Properties is hoping to lure A-listers to the Carlyle by marketing its so-called anti-paparazzi features: 24/7 patrols by "Israeli-trained VIP" security guards and cameras; private elevators that zoom directly from the two-story lobby into sprawling apartments (God forbid a starlet run into her ex-beau's new flame in a common hallway); high hedges that shield the pool and lawn from shutterbugs on the street.

And: "The building is crescent-shaped intentionally [so that] the neighboring buildings don't really get a view into the units," said Erik Schneider, director of sales for the Carlyle. "We don't have any buildings behind us either. There are only low-rise residential communities, so really there's no access to look into a unit from another building.

The Carlyle's two-story lobby features furnishings by designer Fendi Casa.

"We've tried to do everything possible to make the building as secure as possible," he added. "There's really no place for them to hide."

But they -- L.A. paparazzi -- beg to differ. In a day and age when pictures of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's twins command a reported $14 million, celebrity photographers will go to any means necessary to get their shot. While it's against California law to trespass onto private property or shoot into a private residence without consent, it's not illegal to wait -- and wait, and wait, and wait -- until the star du jour leaves his or her apartment.

The Carlyle pool is shielded from the street, but not from helicopters.

"We may not get a picture of someone in a swimming pool or in their apartment, but we're going to get them leaving. People still have to leave. All you have to do is wait outside for them. We'll keep photographers there for as long as they need to be out there to get the shot," said Gary Morgan, CEO of the paparazzi agency Splash.

Schneider said parking will be prohibited on the street in front of the Carlyle.

Henry Flores, co-owner of the paparazzi agency Buzz Foto, said that's fine.

"We'll wait on the opposite street," he said. "We'll follow them after they leave."

The Carlyle isn't the only L.A. luxury condominium trying to suck in celebrities with the promise of paparazzi protection. The Sierra Towers and The Century, where Candy Spelling reportedly bought a $47 million penthouse, both boast souped-up security in addition to five-star amenities. Morgan called the "anti-paparazzi" spin a clever marketing campaign, at best.

The Carlyle features 78 private residences with floor plans ranging from 2,500 to 5,000 square feet.

"It just smacks of an advertising ploy in a depressed property market. They're trying to find an edge that might attract people," he said. "There are plenty of buildings in L.A. that are just as paparazzi-proof as this."

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