The seemingly endless stream of spec-built Los Angeles mega-mansions — several pop up for sale nearly every week — has sparked fears of a market oversupply, particularly since billionaires’ enthusiasm for residential splurges has tempered. L.A. has not seen a brand new manse sell for above $35 million in nearly a full year.
But lo, it turns out there are still serious buyers lurking around, ready to pounce. Only on the right property, of course.
It was the Wall Street Journal who first reported the scathing $52.2 million sale of an eye-popping Bel Air compound. Two contiguous properties — one substantially larger than the other, but each thrilling in their own right — were purchased in two separate transactions by the same buyer, who plans to combine the 1.7-acre spread into a single cohesive estate. The acquisition ranks as California’s biggest residential deal of 2019 thus far.
The new owner, though publicly unnamed, was pegged as a Saudi male. And indeed, records now show the properties were sold to a mysteriously-named entity formed by a Pasadena-based tax attorney, an attorney long famed for managing the financial affairs of the Al Saud royal family’s wealthiest members, including the late King Fahd himself.
Whichever Saudi prince holds the keys to the Bel Air kingdom, he now presides over an dynamically epic palace.
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The larger $45 million property, the recipient of all the press glitz and glory, was built by local diamond dealer Rafael Zakaria over a four-year period. Publicly marketed as a “modern utopia,” the 20,000 sq. ft. showstopper features design by Tag Front Architects and dynamite westward views over the Century City skyline and beyond, to the ocean and Catalina Island on the horizon.
A striking blend of steel, glass, and stacked concrete blocks grace the front façade. The museum-quality interior boasts seven bedroom suites and a wine room, plus other requisite amenities: a gym, spa facilities, 12-car garage, and 20-seat movie theater.
As expected, the terraced backyard has an assortment of gardens, sprawling lawns and patios, and a full-size tennis court. But the estate’s most outrageous feature, however, is unquestionably the scythe-shaped swimming pool. That watery monster visually dwarfs the actual home and stretches a whopping 250 infinity-edged feet, meaning our prince will likely require his own full-time pool boy (or pool girl, for that matter.)
Unusually, this $45 million house is not located in swanky East Gate Bel Air, the perennially priciest part of town, but rather on a low-key cul-de-sac much further west. It’s so close to the 405 freeway, in fact, that the property technically sports a Brentwood zip code. The estate is easily the largest in the immediate vicinity and is situated atop a knoll, lording over its peasant-folk neighbors.
As for the far smaller $7.2 million structure, it lies directly below the larger contemporary estate. Built by legendary architect Richard Neutra, the 1954 mid-century modern was originally christened the Hammerman House and remains intact, though it has been significantly “updated and expanded,” per the listing. The Neutra home was sold by Kathy Mendoza, the ex-wife of tech-focused businessman Tom Mendoza, and will reportedly be used as accommodations for the prince’s household staff.
You know you’ve made it when a Bel Air Neutra serves as your staff housing, right? Talk about a truly epic spread fit for royalty. Quite literally, in this case.
Branden & Rayni Williams of Hilton & Hyland’s Williams Estates team shared the $45 million mansion’s listing with Aaron Kirman of Compass, while Kirman and Drew Fenton of Hilton & Hyland jointly listed the Neutra house. Coldwell Banker’s Florence Mattar repped His Royal Highness.