The priciest house in America is definitely getting its time in the spotlight. However, there are still some doubts as to whether the property will ever find a buyer.
This house has been deemed by movie producer-turned-developer Nile Niami as “The One”. It’s a 100,000 sq.ft. mansion built in Bel-Air. He says that, with his ridiculous asking price of $500 million USD, he’s ready to test the real estate market.
The property might be America’s symbol of its latest gilded age, and has generated so much buzz that it’s been absolutely flooded with media coverage - especially after its asking price was first declared in 2015.
How could it NOT garner attention?
The property features 360-degree vistas of sun-dappled Southern California, a bowling alley, a nightclub, and 4 swimming pools!
The luxurious property has encountered (and conquered) plenty of problems, including construction delays, financing issues and permitting problems. Indeed, there were plenty of speculators who were in doubt whether construction of the property would ever be completed! However, Niami said that the work is almost over.
Of course, the former movie producer is not one to wimp out with his lofty asking price, which will make the property the most expensive residential property in the entire United States.
“When you have something that’s as rare as the Mona Lisa, you can command whatever you want for it,” Niami said.
He argues that, with all the properties being sold for nine-figures not just in Los Angeles, but elsewhere, this is enough to prove that his asking price was not just about getting attention.
He further explained: “When the house was started, I had no basis to ask $500 million— now there are so many triple-digit sales in L.A., and the world, that the asking price is not unreasonable anymore.”
A Daunting Task
The developer confesses that the daunting task of building such a structure has prematurely aged him. It can be a precarious undertaking, for one to set about building a mega-mansion - especially if there’s not a single buyer interested.
The shifting wants for luxurious properties can be hard to foresee. Developers are also faced with the problems of delays, high carrying costs, and cost overruns.
According to Jonatah Miller, Miller Samuel Inc.’s president of real estate appraisal and consulting, even though the eye-popping project has been making headlines, there will only be a handful of potential buyers.
Miller explained: “The problem is, the more amenities you add, the more you personalize the property… Even though the intention is to draw eyeballs to the property, you are also personalizing it, which may reduce the size of the market pie. It’s a very small, very tight market.”
The former movie producer says that this will not be a problem. Los Angeles has limited the number of new mega-residential properties, meaning that there very well might not be another building like The One ever again.
Filled to the Brim
Niami has plenty of amenities he’s planned to build on the property. In fact, there are so many that even one amenity was removed, and he still has another amenity planned! Even though he’d planned to build a room filled with tanks of live jellyfish, an amenity which drew plenty of raised eyebrows, Niami still has something even better in mind.
Niami has never let anyone inside The One. However, he says that the house’s special features have drawn interest. He is now communicating with potential buyers, but he has denied giving any details. The producer has promised that he will unveil The One once he’s done with the final interior decorating.
Niami said, “I’ve had potential buyers a long time on this… We have a list of very real, verifiable buyers that we will bring in soon.”
Putting a “ridiculous” price (and above the market value) on a property is said to be a strategy - known by developers and real estate agents as “aspirational pricing”.
To date, the biggest deal in the real estate market in the United States is Ken Griffin’s $238 million penthouse. The developer has also pointed out that Griffin’s property is only an apartment, with no land, and yet it was able to ask that much.
Another Bel-Air property, The Billionaire, was also the most expensive house in America for a period. The property was listed by Bruce Makowsky for $250 million, and features a bowling alley, a helipad, a candy room, wine cellars, pools, and is 38,000 sq.ft. in size. The property was sold for $94 million in October 2019 - more than 60% lower than its original price.
Niami reasons that The One, however, is sitting on 3 acres, which is much larger than that of the two properties mentioned above.
Striving for the Best
Niami always strives for the best - even back when he was just starting out as a makeup artist in Hollywood. He was raised by his single mother in Los Angeles. The developer eventually became a producer, working on films such as Point Blank and The Patriot, and he set his sights on real estate when he began remodeling condominiums.
Aside from his work on The One, he also has two other projects in Bel-Air, both of which are worth multiple millions of dollars.
However, unless Niami is able to procure the necessary permits, no one will be able to legally occupy his creations. Fortunately, after a couple of meetings, he is now close to resolving all of those issues. The properties, though, are currently still off the market.
This leaves The One.
The former producer had to take out a loan from a firm which works in high-interest bridge financing, Hankey Capital. In order to help him finish his work, Niami borrowed $82.5 million with a 2-year term. His deadline to repay the loan is in October, and he has yet to comment on his loan’s rate.
In 2019, there was an increase in the sales of super-luxury houses, even with their numbers being so small. During that same year, there were 23 houses in the U.S. sold at $50 million or more, and 6 were sold at more than $100 million.
With great confidence, Niami said, “The One is absolutely no issue… The value is definitely there.”
What do you think of The One? Do you believe Niami is being overly ambitious with this project? Will someone purchase the property?
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