Real Estate Newsletter: The battle for LA’s most extravagant mansion

Welcome back to the real estate newsletter. There is a huge disappointing property happening in Bel-Air.

The players: Nile Niami, the slick Hollywood real estate developer whose mega-mansions keep getting bigger and bigger, and Don Hankey, the tough money lender who helped Niami finance his latest project.

The prize: A 105,000 square meter house called “The One”, which without hyperbola is unsurpassed in size and splendor — even in one of the country’s most affluent regions for luxury properties.

When rumored to list for $ 500 million, the long-awaited home finally hits the market for $ 225 million. But the future is far from concrete, and Times reporter Laurence Darmiento documents it all in his latest piece.

In news of “less than $ 225 million dollars”, Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner set the highest price of the year for Encino anyway, when they sold their modern mansion for $ 15.2 million. It is also the second most expensive sale the San Fernando Valley neighborhood has ever seen. Joe’s brother Nick takes first place.

Encino saw another high-profile sale this week when Kelly Clarkson loaded her farmhouse for $ 8.24 million — a grand price, but still shy of the $ 8.5 million she paid for it three years ago.

Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis hope for better luck in Hidden Valley. After completing their custom hilltop connection called KuKu Farms, they listed their traditional style nearby for $ 12.25 million.

Are you considering bidding on a house? Whether you’re fighting for Kutcher and Kuni’s place or a cheaper place, think twice about writing a love letter to the seller along with your bid. Columnist Steve Lopez looked at practices that are simultaneously becoming more popular and more controversial.

If you want your own story in this newsletter, now’s your chance. I am writing a house hunting column filled with wild property stories and I would very much like to hear the details from yours. Click on the link and give me some details.

While you catch up on the latest, you can visit and like our Facebook page where you can find property stories and updates throughout the week.

The battle for ‘The One’, Bel-Air’s infamous mega-mansion

A huge mansion on a hilltop.

“The One” in Bel-Air.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

It’s hard to grasp the enormity of “The One,” but an aerial photograph of the largest modern home in the United States provides perspective, writes Laurence Darmiento.

Seen from a drone, the white marble structure, once marketed for $ 500 million, looks like the fortress towers over the scattered homes of a village.

That such a giga mansion could be built says a lot about our asymmetrical exaggeration of our age — where the struggle for housing unfolds in the valleys as special homes that only a minute fraction of the world can afford to rise above them.

It is also a testament to the will of an obsessed developer driven to build the most extravagant mansion he could imagine. Now the place is slipping through his fingers as he battles a stubborn money lender who holds more than $ 100 million on the project.

Pairs of power set a year-long height in Encino

A rectangular pool in a large courtyard in front of a scattered mansion.

The modern mansion was built in 2019 and is filled with glass, imported stone and aged natural wood.

(Jae Omar Design)

Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner swap shores. A few days after shelling out $ 11 million for a glass mansion in Miami, the couple has sold their Encino showroom for $ 15.2 million.

This banner was not big enough to grab the Encino award from another Jonas brother, Nick, who paid $ 20 million for a 20,000-square-foot home in the San Fernando Valley neighborhood two years ago with his wife, Priyanka Chopra.

Jonas (Joe, not Nick, if you keep the score) and Turner run off with a profit of $ 1.1 million after paying $ 14.1 million for the property when it was newly built in 2019, records show. They first listed it over the summer for $ 16.75 million.

The modern pillow was designed by Jae Omar, who used a design palette of glass, imported stone and aged natural wood. It has nine bedrooms, 11 bathrooms and countless unique amenities, including an aquarium, cigar humidor, fog machine, DJ station, disco light and a kegerator (if you are not familiar, it is a specialized refrigerator used to store and dispense beer ).

‘Idol’ singer finally sells

A connection to a pool and large yard.

The modern farmhouse was built in 2018 and includes a swimming pool and a two-storey guest house.

(Laura D’Anna / MediaCarrot Photography)

The sales stay continues for Kelly Clarkson. Months after throwing her $ 20,000-square-foot Tennessee mansion for $ 6.3 million, alum “American Idol” has raised $ 8.24 million for her Encino farmhouse.

It was chalked up as a small loss for the singer, who paid $ 8.5 million for the property in 2018. She has been shopping around the home since last year and most recently listed it for $ 9 million.

Clarkson still holds roots in the San Fernando Valley. Over the summer, she chose a smaller home and shelled out $ 5.445 million for a 5,000-square-foot colony-style site a few miles east of Lake Toluca.

At more than 10,000 square feet, the home she just sold has eight bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, a movie theater, billiard room, gym and wine cellar across two floors. The property extends over half an acre in the Royal Oaks neighborhood and also adds a two-story guest house and green backyard with pool, spa, lawn, campfire area and covered lounge with pizza oven.

Kutcher and Kunis list in Hidden Valley

A large pool and a house.

The 1990s home includes five bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms, a mahogany office, bar, wine cellar, sauna and gym.

(Simon Berlin)

Now that their sustainable Beverly Hills farmhouse is complete, married actors Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis are seeking to sell their East Coast-inspired homes a few blocks away for $ 12.25 million.

That’s about $ 2 million more than the couple paid in 2014 a few months after they got engaged.

Built in 1999, the 7,300-square-foot space is a little more traditional than their new property — a stunning hilltop connection they built as a passionate project called KuKu Farms complete with a well and cornfield that they planted and harvested during the pandemic.

The property love letter is under fire

A sign for sale among a number of houses.

Townhouses in Chula Vista’s Otay Ranch community in mid-September.

(Phillip Molnar / San Diego Union-Tribune)

It’s the perfect house in the right neighborhood, so the competition is fierce, but you absolutely must have it, writes Steve Lopez.

So what are you doing? You place your bid and offer more than the list price because it’s so crazy that the real estate market in California can be in many neighborhoods, and then you sit down and write a love letter.

This practice has always struck Times columnist Lopez as creepy, and he describes it as a fawning essay contest in the Dream House contests.

Such creative writing exercises have been attacked as false attempts by the buyers to get taken over by other buyers. And they have been banned in Oregon as a possible tool for discrimination.

What we read

The New York Post awards prizes for New York City’s most exclusive buildings. But these awards are not about architecture and design elements. Instead, they celebrate “buildings that meet the rich (and dubious) needs of wealthy New Yorkers. The categories include “the overcompensation award”, “the paparazzi safe building” and “the best building for extramarital activities.”

Halloween is weeks away, but this year’s most popular lawn decoration can be hard to find. After going viral last year and selling out quickly, Home Depot’s 12-foot-tall skeleton is once again sold out in many of the chain’s stores, and third-party websites list the item at $ 299 for as much as $ 1,200, Business Insider reports.

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