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A judge has approved the sale of a heavily discounted mega-mansion in Bel Air that took a decade to build and was one of the rare luxury properties to drop in value before it was sold at auction earlier this month.
The sale price for “The One,” once deemed the most expensive home in America, falls well short of satisfying creditors who gave loans to celebrity developer Nile Niami.
Despite objections from those creditors, a bankruptcy judge overseeing the sale approved the bid by Fashion Nova CEO Richard Saghian to purchase the property for $126 million.
U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Deborah J. Saltzman ruled in favor of the sale to Saghian at a hearing on Monday.
“I’m grateful that Judge Saltzman approved my bid and I look forward to collaborating with the City of Los Angeles, the Bel-Air Association, my new neighbors and my design team to complete and perfect this iconic property,” Saghian told the Wall Street Journal in a statement.
Niami had long claimed his 105,000-square-foot palace would fetch as much as $500 million. He hyped up its status as a once-in-a-lifetime hillside mansion that couldn’t be built again due to local zoning regulations.
The cost of constructing the 21-bedroom, 49-bathroom abode kept climbing during the 10 years it took to complete, and the list of creditors owed hundreds of millions of dollars grew.
Part of the cost came from the extravagant features included in the home, which boasts a four-lane bowling alley, cigar lounge, decks, spas, steam rooms and a dance club.
According to the Wall Street Journal: “The judge mandated that the bulk of the proceeds of the sale would be held and not distributed until further agreement between the creditors was reached. Lenders include Don Hankey, known as the king of subprime car loans, who lent more than $100 million for the project. Other lenders on the property include Inferno Investment, associated with Canadian investors Julien and Lucien Remillard, and an entity controlled by physician Joseph Englanoff. During the two-day hearing, Mr. Hankey’s attorney argued in favor of approving the sale, while attorneys for Inferno and Mr. Englanoff’s entity argued against.”
The outlet reported the building doesn’t have a certificate of occupancy required to allow anyone to live in the property.
The home was listed at auction for $295 million, $55 million less than the $350 million Niami sought in 2021, while he was still working to complete the home.
All the while, Niami hyped the building as the largest and most expensive in the urban world. Right up through the auction, Niami tried to find a way to keep the property, including by turning it into a cryptocurrency asset that could generate billions of dollars via live and streamed events.
Neither the plans to use the unfinished building to generate billions, the final sales price failed to reach record status. At $126 million, The One clocks in around two-thirds less expensive than the most expensive ever sold.
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