The Best In The Westside

Developer: This $500-Million Bel Air Spec House Is Actually a Really Good Deal

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A notorious, 100,000-square-foot, $500-million spec mansion being built right now in Bel Air has become a symbol of the madness of the luxury real estate market in Los Angeles, but developer Nile Niami (who’s got quite a few extravagant spec mansions under his belt) “believes the property is not really so expensive when you think about it,” says Details.

Niami’s logic goes that, per square foot, the places costs about $5,000, which is less than some Manhattan penthouses, and those don’t even have a casino in them like this one does. Ah, so what he really means is that the property is not so expensive to the person who will ultimately buy it. “We have a very specific client in mind. Someone who already has a $100 million yacht and has seven houses all over the world, in London and Dubai and wherever,” Niami says. Yeah, to that person, this estate is probably not that expensive, true!

Walking through the house with the magazine, Niami points out a few features, like the 6,000-square-foot master suite. “[B]ut when you’re in it, it doesn’t look that big, because everything else is so big,” he explained. And bigger is always better, Niami learned when trying to sell a Holmby Hills house that had tons of cool features (four-lane bowling alley, indoor pool), but not nearly enough space for cars. “It only had a five-car garage, and everybody complained,” he said. Not making that mistake this time: this one has a 30-car garage. (It’s not clear if someone once complained about one of his properties only having three pools, but this estate has four, just in case.) Earlier projects must have had way too many books, because this house has a glass-walled library; Niami says that “Nobody really reads book … so I’m just going to fill the shelves with white books, for looks.”

Despite strong opposition by neighbors, Niami insists that this project will be great for Los Angeles as a city. “To be able to say that the biggest and the most expensive house in the world is here, that will be really good for L.A.,” he says. “I really think that this house is going to do a lot for L.A. Anybody who lives in the area is going to be proud to be near it,” he boasts.

“It is by far the most important estate project in Los Angeles over the last 25 years and will raise the bar for all other estates built in the city,” adds Drew Fenton, the listing agent for the property (who stands to make millions as his commission). Does that mean we can all look forward to 200,000-square foot and 300,000-square-foot spec houses next?

By: La.Curbed.com | Bianca Barragan

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