- Three sprawling estates planned for Bel Air hillside
- Developers driven by `a shortage of trophy properties' in area
A development team that includes a real estate investment arm of JPMorgan Chase & Co. is offering the ultra-wealthy a rare opportunity to build mansions bigger than the White House on a hillside overlooking Los Angeles. Starting price: $115 million.
Junius Real Estate Partners, part of JPMorgan’s private bank, and developer Domvs London acquired an 11-acre (4.5-hectare) site near the Hotel Bel-Air a year ago, and are preparing it for three estates. The first lot will go on the market Tuesday.
“There’s a shortage of trophy properties that are available for sale in this pocket of Los Angeles,” Barry Watts, president of Domvs London, said in a telephone interview. “You’ve got high-net-worth people who want to own multiple homes across the world, and Los Angeles offers something different. If you want to drive your convertible car 12 months a year, it’s a city where you can do that.”
Homes priced at more than $100 million are becoming increasingly common as billionaires, seeking places to put cash, shatter sales records from Los Angeles to London. Around the world, five properties sold for $100 million or more last year, and at least 23 others have nine-figure asking prices, according to Christie’s International Real Estate.
In the Los Angeles area, the Bel Air homes add to multiple trophy mansions being built, including several on a speculative basis, or without a buyer in place. In December, video-game designer Markus Persson bought an eight-bedroom, 15-bath spec mansion in Beverly Hills for $70 million. The developer of a four-house compound being built in Bel Air hopes to sell it for $500 million.
The Park Bel Air, as the Junius and Domvs development is known, offers buyers the option of paying $45 million for one of the three sites, all of which have permits in place, and build what they want, Watts said. Otherwise, Domvs will construct a house based on its designs that range from 56,000 to 61,000 square feet (5,200 to 5,700 square meters), with the first of the three houses having a starting price of $115 million, he said. The White House has 55,000 square feet.
Junius, which has invested about $600 million in hotels, offices, condominiums and other assets since 2012, saw an opportunity to offer wealthy buyers an alternative to the luxury Los Angeles mansions being built on spec -- an option that would give them more control over the home’s design, said John Fraser, the firm’s managing partner. Junius is the project’s majority investor, while Domvs is leading the development.
The Bel Air project that spec developer and film producer Nile Niami wants to sell for $500 million will have a 74,000-square-foot main residence, three smaller houses, a 30-car garage and a “Monaco-style casino.” The most expensive home ever sold worldwide with a confirmed price was a London penthouse purchased in 2011 for $221 million, according to Christie’s.
The first of JPMorgan’s Bel Air estates will be ready for construction in February.