It’s a wild world at the highest end of residential real estate right now, especially in Los Angeles — so far beyond the scope of what usually passes for luxury that it practically demands a new vocabulary.
In this world, developers and agents throw out the traditional real estate rulebook because the only way to sell one of these gargantumansions is to hang an absurd nine-figure price tag from it.
“It’s almost as if there is no shame in wildly overpricing a listing anymore,” Jonathan Miller, the head of New York-based appraisal firm Miller Samuel, told the Wall Street Journal.
Developer and Hollywood producer Nile Niami is in the midst of building what is expected to be the most expensive home in the country, maybe the world: a 100,000-square-foot mansion on a sunny hilltop in Beverly Hills that’s expected to hit the market next year at a whopping half a billion dollars. That’s almost five times as much as any L.A.-area house has ever sold for; the record-holding Fleur de Lys estate went for $102 million last year. And it’s more than twice the price of the world’s most expensive known home sale, the $221 million London penthouse at One Hyde Park, which sold to Ukrainian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov in 2011. (Scroll down for renderings and photos of some of these gargantumansions.)
“I think whoever is buying this house is going to have 10 other houses,” Niami told the Journal.
“Nobody buys a 100,000-square-foot house as their principal residence to use every day.”
Actually, next-to-nobody has ever bought a house that big in the history of real estate, and nobody has bought Niami’s yet. His is a spec house, one of a few going up in L.A. that have nine-digit price points but no committed buyers. And peppered among these spec houses are several existing homes that also have enough chutzpah to carry the $100-million-plus price tag.
Fewer than 10 U.S. homes have ever sold for $100 million or more, Miller told the Wall Street Journal, three of them in California. The priciest on record in the state was a $117 million property in Silicon Valley that Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son bought in 2012.
Now Los Angeles has apparently caught the eyes of international billionaires after spending decades in the shadows of bigger-deal cities like New York and London, the Journal says, and developers and property owners are eager to cash in.
The Park Bel Air, three separate spec homes crowning a hilltop in Los Angeles, are being offered at $115 million to $150 million and range between 56,000 and 61,000 square feet. The homes will effectively be made to order but have plans that include such amenities as a “Champagne room” — “a chilled glass rotunda filled with bubbling liquid,” the Journal says — and a 14,000-square-foot guest house. (Scroll down for renderings and photos of some of these gargantumansions.)
The listing agent, Westside Estate Agency Chairman Stephen Shapiro, told the Wall Street Journal that the size and location of the mansions—in the so-called Platinum Triangle, where Bel Air, Beverly Hills and Holmby Hills intersect—justify the wild prices.
The developer estimates that only about 3,000 people in the world can afford them: “The buyer needs to be a billionaire.”
Also competing for that tiny demographic is seller Jeff Greene, himself a billionaire, who originally listed his 25-acre Palazzo di Amore at the highest price in America by far: $195 million. The Beverly Hills property has 55,000 square feet of living space, including 35,000 in the main house, and a disco with a turntable-style rotating floor. But no one bit at the $195M ask, so Greene, now professing himself “very motivated,” has dropped the price to $149 million (still the nation’s priciest).
About a mile away as the crow flies, comedian Danny Thomas’ old Beverly Hills estate is asking $135 million. It’s a third the square footage of Palazzo di Amore on a 2.5-acre promontory — but that’s twice the acreage of the spec mansion next door that was dubbed “L.A.’s most extreme home,” which sold to Minecraft founder Marcus “Notch” Persson for $70 million in cash. (Scroll down for renderings and photos of some of these gargantumansions.)
Niami hopes his spec house will blow all those out of the water. Its master suite alone will be 5,500 square feet and could function more as an apartment within the home. The views: 360 degrees of Los Angeles, straight out to the Pacific.
And the gargantumansion will have four pools. Why? His answer to the Journal:
“Why would you not need four swimming pools?”
He says he’s had interest from around 20 potential buyers eagerly awaiting the home’s completion next year. So a sale may materialize as Niami expects — or he could have on his hands yet another super-pricey property sitting around, waiting for that one in 3,000 billionaires to scoop it up.