The One – A Gigantic 105,000 Square-foot Los Angeles Mansion

Known as The One Bel Air, the property is a sprawling super-sized LA mansion, once touted to be America’s priciest home, which has finally sold at a no-reserve auction for US$127 million.

Courtesy: The One

The property comes from film producer-turned-real estate developer Nile Niami, who initially hoped to sell it for a $500 million, which would have made it one of the most luxurious homes in the world. It is a mini shopping mall-sized estate straddling one of the highest promontories in Bel Air, spanning about 100,000 square feet of total living space. By comparison, the White House weighs in at just under 55,000 square feet; the 115-room Hearst Castle makes do with a generous 68,500.

It comes with 21 bedrooms and 42 bathrooms. It also sports frills like a 10,000-bottle wine cellar, a 50-car garage, a 50-person movie theatre, nightclub, cigar room, sky deck, putting green, salon, bowling alley, and more. As for the property’s main driveway, set on a quiet cul-de-sac known as Airole Way, it’s long and wide enough to put most public roads to shame.

A swimming pool at The One

The palatially captivating splendour is the private chef-d’œuvre of Nile Niami, arguably L.A.’s most famous — and famously bombastic — developer of ultra-high-end mansions, the lively contemporary kind seen in magazines and bought by billionaires. The San Fernando Valley native first came to prominence about a decade ago designing Hollywood Hills homes in the $20 million range; he’s since graduated to more extensive and brasher projects, selling them to the likes of Diddy, Floyd Mayweather, Calvin Klein, and the Winklevoss Twins.

All of that has culminated in “The One.” Niami bought the eight-acre promontory in late 2012 for $28 million from Rita Kogan, the late video game heiress and daughter of “Space Invaders” creator Michael Kogan. He quickly razed the existing estate, a large mid-century modern mansion in a woefully neglected condition, and has since spent many tens of millions more bringing his spec house to life.

Seating area at The One

In 2015, Niami gave GQ his very first public interview about the property, revealing he planned to ask $500 million for the Paul McClean-designed compound once completed. The 52-year-old developer promised the house would have a room exclusively dedicated to tanks of live jellyfish, a room for storing fresh flowers, a perma-frozen room with an ice bar, and a room for candy. Innately, there would also be an in-house nightclub.

Private theatre at The One

Some of those expectations had been tempered. The jellyfish room proved too costly and impractical; it was eventually jettisoned. Same for the fresh flowers, the ice bar, and the planned catering kitchen. The nightclub and the room with candy walls remained, regardless, as does a 50-car garage — sans the planned car turntables — a four-lane bowling alley, and an Olympic-sized indoor swimming pool with lounge decks. There are outdoor swimming pools, too, no fewer than five of them, all infinity-edged. The mansion’s interior, like all of Niami’s prior projects, was designed by Kathryn Rotondi of KFR Design.

Outdoor swimming pool at The One

Still, the rumoured price tag was double the most expensive home transaction in California’s history, the $165 million paid by Jeff Bezos last April for David Geffen’s 8-acre Beverly Hills estate. It’s also $100 million more than the country’s most expensive home deal of all time, the $238 million Ken Griffin paid for his New York penthouse in 2019.

For that, buyers would have received a glass-walled contemporary showcase with a cinema-quality home theatre, a beauty salon, and an Olympic-sized indoor swimming pool with lounge decks. At 6,000 square feet, the master suite is bigger than many suburban McMansions; it includes its private swimming pool and at least two bedroom-sized dressing rooms, both of them lavish enough to put any Rodeo Drive boutique to shame. There’s also a 50-car garage, a four-lane bowling alley, and a Skydeck with a putting green.

Nile Niami – Real estate developer of The One

Assertions remained divided about the architectural distinction of “The One.” Some said the futuristic style will stand the test of time. Others claimed it looks more like a swollen asylum or hospital — or a rigidly geometric residential white elephant, for that matter.

In 2015, Niami claimed the house was being built with a “very specific buyer in mind,” although who that buyer would be, remained unclear.

In March 2021, Niami’s LLC, Crestlloyd, defaulted on US$165 million in debt related to the property, causing it to enter receivership. A foreclosure sale scheduled for October 2021 was halted when Crestlloyd filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

In July 2021, the 3.8-acre property was placed in court-ordered receivership by Los Angeles County Superior Court. Ted Lanes of Lanes Management was appointed as receiver. Lanes oversaw the completion of the property and secured a certificate of occupancy.

Courtesy: The One

Once valued at US$500 million, “The One” was formally listed for sale in January 2022 at an asking price of US$295 million. It did not receive an offer and on March 4, 2022, the property was sold at auction for US$127 million, becoming one of the most expensive houses ever sold at an auction in the United States. It broke the previous record that was set in 2021 when The Hearst Estate in Beverly Hills sold at auction for US$63.1 million. The buyer was Richard Saghian, owner of Fashion Nova.

Richard Saghian, owner of The One