A 105,000-square-foot megamansion, known as “The One,” in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles listed Friday for $295 million, making it the most expensive listing in America.
The property, which has been a decade in the making, would be the most expensive home ever sold in the U.S. if it gets its asking price — surpassing hedge-funder Ken Griffin’s $238 million purchase of an apartment in Manhattan. If it doesn’t sell quickly, “The One” heads to auction in February and will be sold to the highest bidder.
“It’s a modern masterpiece,” said Branden Williams, of The Beverly Hills Estates, which is representing the property along with Aaron Kirman of Aaron Kirman Group at Compass. “It’s four acres at the top of a mountain in Bel Air, and it can never be built again.”
Along with a record-setting price, “The One” also comes with a history of drama, lawsuits and debt. It was built by Nile Niami, a Hollywood-producer-turned-developer, who promoted it as the “biggest and most expensive modern home in America,” with an eventual asking price of $500 million.
As costs soared, Niami’s debt on the house grew to more than $180 million. The megamansion was placed into receivership last year. As part of a bankruptcy agreement struck last month, it was scheduled to be sold at an auction, beginning Feb. 7.
People involved in the court process said “The One” would have to sell for around $200 million just to pay back the debt, including the auction fees and other costs. If it sells for less, the lenders may have to take a loss, or the property could wind up in further foreclosure litigation.
An ideal time for LA’s luxury market
Yet lenders and brokers hope the property is coming to market at an ideal time. Luxury real estate in Los Angeles is breaking records. Sales of properties priced at $10 million or more doubled in 2021 compared with 2019, before the pandemic, with a total of 312 sales, according to Miller Samuel.
Marc Andreesen just set a record in California after he paid $177 million for a compound in Malibu, while Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong paid $133 million for a modern mansion, located near “The One” in Bel Air.
Brokers say interest in “The One” has already been strong. Williams said he has two offers on the table — one from a Saudi royal and one from a wealthy Chinese buyer. He said more offers are expected soon from crypto buyers who are “looking at this house as their own space station.”
“There is going to be huge demand for this property,” he said. “Demand for U.S. real estate is through the roof because the dollar is weak and people want real tangible assets.”
Kirman added that the property is more than a house — it’s a full-scale private resort for “the billionaire buyer who wants all-inclusive living.”
The home sits on 3.8 acres and features 21 bedrooms and 42 bathrooms. Built on a leveled mountain, it has views of the Pacific Ocean, downtown Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Mountains. It has seven water features, including a massive moat that runs around the property. It has a nightclub, a full-service beauty salon, a wellness spa, a home theater that seats 40, a bowling alley, a 10,000-bottle wine cellar, 30-car garage and a 400-foot private outdoor running track.
For guests or staff, it has a three-bedroom guest house with its own infinity pool.
Still, any buyer of “The One” will also have to contend with a thicket of financial and legal issues. According to the receiver’s report and an engineering study, the house has cracks in and around many of the pools and stonework, as well as signs of mold. It has several outstanding building and occupancy permits, and a local homeowner’s association is challenging its construction.
Niami’s last-ditch effort
In part because of “The One” and other megamansions built nearby, local building laws were changed in recent years to prevent other supersized homes from ever being built again — which brokers say only adds to the value of “The One.”
The lenders also continue to battle each other in bankruptcy court over procedures and priority. Niami weighed in with his own last-ditch effort last month, releasing a video saying he hoped to turn the home into a crypto investment, selling a new token to investors called “The One Coin” that would be backed by the property.
“Hopefully, there’s someone out there that is going to want to walk hand in hand with me into the stratosphere,” Niami said in a video. He declined further comment, and lenders and lawyers have dismissed Niami’s plans.
Ultimately, Kirman said, the 10 years of drama around the house won’t deter buyers once they tour the property.
“Its controversial history is no secret,” he said. “But when a potential buyer walks the site they’ll see the opportunity is so extraordinary that the past won’t really matter anymore.”
The auction, held by Concierge Auctions, is scheduled to run Feb. 7-10. Bidders would have to wire $250,000 and show proof of funds to qualify for bidding.