The back of the house opens onto a huge lawn framed by a moat shaped water feature and a 400ft running track just below.
A 105,000 square foot Los Angeles mega-mansion that went up for sale for $295 million sold at a bankruptcy auction for $141 million, ending a 10-year saga of mounting debt and failed dreams.
The auction for the property, known as “The One”, ended Thursday night with the highest bid at $126 million. Including the buyer’s premium, the final sale price will be $141 million, according to Laura Brady, CEO of Concierge Auctions, which sold the home at auction.
The price makes it the third most expensive home ever sold in Los Angeles, behind Marc Andreessen’s $177million purchase last year of a Malibu resort and Jeff Bezos’ purchase of the former estate Jack Warner in Beverly Hills for $165 million.
“The One” is also the most expensive home ever sold at auction in the United States and around the world – far surpassing the $51 million price tag for a home auctioned in Beverly Park last year.
“It was a very competitive bidding process,” Brady said. “We had a strong bidding group, with bidders from multiple countries.” Brady declined to comment on the buyer, which is expected to be revealed in bankruptcy court in the coming days.
“The One” is set on 3.8 acres with much of the residence surrounded by a moat-like water feature.
The sale ends, at least for now, one of the most controversial high-end real estate projects of all time. It was built by Nile Niami, the charismatic and ambitious former Hollywood producer who turned to building some of the most lavish mansions in Beverly Hills and Bel Air to sell for a profit. When he launched ‘The One’ more than a decade ago, Nile Niami touted the property as his ‘life mission’ and ‘the biggest and most expensive house in the urban world’, with an asking price possibly $500 million.
Rising like a spaceship from the manicured hills of Bel Air, “The One” sits on 3.8 acres and features 21 bedrooms and 42 bathrooms. It offers views of the Pacific Ocean, downtown Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Mountains. It has seven waterholes, including a massive moat that wraps around the property. It features a nightclub, full-service beauty salon, wellness spa, home theater seating 40 people, bowling alley, 10,000 wine cellar bottles, a 30-car garage and a private 400-foot outdoor running track.
The formal dining room features seating for 20 and an oversized glass wine cellar to display tall bottles.
Yet, as construction costs skyrocketed during construction, so did the problems. Niami’s debt has reached over $190 million. The property went into receivership last year and then went bankrupt. As part of a bankruptcy settlement, it was put up for sale for $295 million and, if no buyer showed up, put up for auction.
The hammer price is about $60 million less than the home’s total debt, which means that several lenders may still lose money on the home. The biggest lender was Los Angeles subprime lending magnate Don Hankey, who lent more than $125 million to the project. People familiar with the sale said Hankey, who could have used his loan to “credit the offer”, was not the end buyer.
Developer Nile Niami (left) walks with CNBC’s Robert Frank (right) during a 2017 interview with “The One” while the megahome was under construction.
Whoever bought “The One” will also face a slew of potential upgrades and legal issues. According to the receiver’s report and a technical study, the house has cracks in and around numerous pools and exposed stones, as well as signs of mold. It has several ongoing building and occupancy permits, and a local homeowners association is challenging its construction.
Real estate executives believe the buyer could be another developer who plans to improve and modify the property, obtain the proper permits and possibly resell it.
Niami could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday.