SPEC AP­PEAL

IN L.A., WHO’S GOT THE BIG­GEST HOUSE IS OLD NEWS. THESE DAYS, DE­VEL­OP­ERS ARE SE­DUC­ING BUY­ERS WITH WHAM-BAMGLAM “EX­TRAS.”

Los Angeles Confidential - - Contents - BY ALEXAN­DRIA ABRAMIAN

In LA, who’s got the big­gest house is old news. To­day, de­vel­op­ers are se­duc­ing buy­ers with wham-bamglam “ex­tras.”

Nine-fig­ure price tags and four-lane bowl­ing al­leys no longer guar­an­tee open-house head­lines when it comes to LA’s ex­plod­ing lux­ury spec home scene. So what’s a de­ter­mined de­vel­oper to do? The answer, it seems, is a near universal fo­cus on out­ra­geously op­u­lent ameni­ties: Think jel­ly­fish view­ing gal­leries, air-con­di­tioned car mu­se­ums, and rooms made en­tirely of en­ergy-al­ter­ing salt. Ex­treme? Yes. Ob­scene? Per­haps. Wel­come to the tippy-top of the city’s hous­ing mar­ket.

H2-OH!

As spec homes have be­come larger, grander, and more ex­pen­sive, so have wa­ter fea­tures. View­ing pools—where one side is made en­tirely of see-through acrylic—have be­come a hill­side must-have for cer­tain de­vel­op­ers, while moats are de rigueur for oth­ers. When ar­chi­tect Richard Man­ion cre­ated a cus­tom-de­signed cas­tle-like home for Giselle Bünd­chen and Tom Brady, he in­cluded a moat (or “show-moat,” since the shal­low wa­ter­way con­tained no croc­o­diles). Dr. Dre has since pur­chased the prop­erty.

Push­ing the wa­ter con­cept into even more out­ra­geous seas is mega-de­vel­oper Nile Niami. His lat­est project, The One, has earned the moniker of “giga-man­sion” for its mind-bog­gling 100,000-square­foot size as well as fea­tures that will in­clude a 5,000-square-foot mas­ter suite, a 30-car gallery, and a 45-seat

IMAX the­ater that “ri­vals any com­mer­cial the­ater,” says Niami. And then there’s the jel­ly­fish room, a lounge area where “jelly fish swim around you and sur­round you.” A moat will “sur­round the en­tire prop­erty, so it feels like the man­sion is float­ing on wa­ter,” he says of the home that will be listed at $500 mil­lion. Yes, that’s right.

SPA-TACULAR

While twin kitchens are now prac­ti­cally ex­pected in most spec homes—a show kitchen along with a hid­den kitchen where pro­fes­sional chefs can work in pri­vacy— the ob­ses­sion with ever more spe­cific beauty rooms con­tin­ues to grow. “Stay­ing in and main­tain­ing your pri­vacy for sim­ple things like den­tal vis­its, yoga, mas­sages, and even cos­metic surgery pro­ce­dures has be­come the norm in these over-the-top spec homes,” says The Agency’s James Har­ris, star of Mil­lion Dol­lar List­ing Los Angeles. Now that ba­sic beauty ser­vices have made their de­but, de­vel­op­ers are look­ing to less ex­pected and even more out-there forms of ex­trav­a­gance. Ar­chi­tect Paul McClean re­cently cre­ated an en­tire room out of salt for one spec home de­vel­oper. “Well­ness spas are re­ally big right now,” says McClean. “Steam rooms, saunas, ham­mams, salt rooms, which are en­tire rooms made out of salt—it’s sup­posed to be ben­e­fi­cial.” Om-az­ing.

HELP ME!

Cur­rently the most ex­pen­sive home for sale in the US is a 38,000-square­foot Bel-Air spec spread de­vel­oped by QVC hand­bag ty­coon Bruce Makowsky. The $250 mil­lion, 21-bath­room, three-kitchen com­pound comes loaded with a he­li­pad and $30 mil­lion worth of cars. As for its truly jaw-drop­ping amenity? A seven-per­son staff for two years. At Opus, Niami’s Hill­crest manse, mind­bog­gling de­tails in­clude Roberto Cavalli floor­ing, a gold Lam­borgh­ini Aven­ta­dor Spy­der and a gold Rolls-Royce Dawn that come with the home, as well as a Cham­pagne vault pre-loaded with 170 bot­tles of Cristal. How to man­age it all? No prob­lem. A “house concierge” is in­cluded for two years with the $100 mil­lion price tag. We’ll take it.

“A MOAT WILL SUR­ROUND

THE EN­TIRE PROP­ERTY, SO IT FEELS LIKE THE MAN­SION IS FLOAT­ING ON WA­TER.”

—NILE NIAMI

Man­sion envy: These days

it’s not the size of spec homes but the ameni­ties that mat­ter, in­clud­ing the

ubiq­ui­tous mod­ern-day “moat” at hill­top spreads like a re­cent Bev­ery Hills

list­ing on Laurel Way (HERE) and Nile Niami’s The One (OP­PO­SITE TOP).

Full-ser­vice “treat­ment rooms”

and staff for en­ter­tain­ing are in­cluded in the price of homes

like QVC bil­lion­aire Bruce Makowsky’s Bel-Air spread (HERE AND NEAR LEFT), while garages for some list­ings come stocked with fleets of rare and ex­pen­sive au­to­mo­biles. Sold!

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