The back of the home opens onto a massive lawn framed by a moat-like water feature and a 400-foot running track directly below.
A 105,000-square-foot Los Angeles megamansion listed for $295 million sold at a bankruptcy auction for $141 million, ending a 10-year saga of mounting debt and dashed dreams.
The auction for the property, known as “The One,” ended Thursday night with the highest bid of $126 million. Including the buyer’s premium, the final sale price is $141 million, according to Laura Brady, CEO of Concierge Auctions, which auctioned the home.
The price makes it the third most expensive home ever sold in Los Angeles, behind Marc Andreessen’s $177 million purchase of a property in Malibu last year and Jeff Bezos’ $165 million purchase of the former Jack Warner Estate in Beverly Hills .
“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 that was auctioned in Beverly Park last year.
“It was a very competitive bidding process,” Brady said. “We had a strong bidding field with bidders from several countries.” Brady declined to comment on the buyer, who is expected to be announced to the bankruptcy court in the coming days.
“The One” sits on 8 acres of grounds with much of the residence surrounded by a moat.
The sale brings to a close, 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 his attention to building some of the most magnificent mansions in Beverly Hills and Bel Air in order to sell them for a profit. When he began The One more than a decade ago, Nile Niami touted the estate as his “life’s work” and “the largest, most expensive home in the urban world,” with an eventual price tag of $500 million.
Rising like a spaceship from the manicured hills of Bel Air, The One is spread over 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 water features, including a massive moat that runs around the property. It features a nightclub, full-service beauty salon, wellness spa, 40-seat home theater, bowling alley, 10,000-bottle wine cellar, 30-car garage and 400-foot private outdoor running track.
The formal dining room includes seating for 20 and an oversized glass wine cellar for displaying large sized bottles.
But as construction costs skyrocketed during construction, so did the problems. Niami’s debt grew to over $190 million. The property was placed under receivership last year and then went bankrupt. Under a bankruptcy agreement, it was listed for $295 million and, if no buyer came forward, put up for auction.
The hammer price is about $60 million short of the home’s total debt, meaning several lenders may still be losing money on the home. The largest 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 for a “credit bid,” was not the ultimate buyer.
Developer Nile Niami (left) walks with CNBC’s Robert Frank (right) during an interview on The One in 2017 while the megahome was under construction.
Anyone who has bought “The One” also has to deal with a thicket of improvement options and legal issues. According to the bankruptcy trustee’s report and an engineering study, the home has cracks in and around many of the pools and brickwork, as well as signs of mold. It has several pending building and occupancy permits, and a local homeowners association is questioning its construction.
Property managers are speculating that the buyer could be another developer planning to improve and transform the property, obtain the appropriate permits and eventually resell it.
Niami could not be immediately reached for comment Thursday.