Taylor Swift seeks landmark status in Beverly Hills, EB-5 investors opt for Californian livin', and more...

Los Angeles briefs

Feb.February 01, 2017 07:00 AM

924 Bel Air

America’s priciest listing

Another year, another Los Angeles mega-listing.

A Bel Air spec home by developer Bruce Makowsky recently hit the market with an asking price of $250 million, making it the country’s priciest listing.

The 38,000-square-foot property has 12 bedrooms and 21 bathrooms spread across four stories. It comes with a $30 million car collection, 130 pieces of art, a helicopter, a bowling alley, a movie theater and a candy room. The cherry on top? Two years of a full-time, seven-person staff.

Makowsky, a QVC handbag designer, said his passion for high-end yachts inspired him to build the house. “Today, people are spending $300 million on a boat, and they use it about eight weeks a year,” he said. “Then they are living in a $30 million to $40 million home.”

Of the estimated 1,800-some billionaires worldwide, half a dozen have already toured Makowsky’s project. Meanwhile, a nearby $500 million spec house broke ground late 2015, courtesy of developer Nile Niami. This mammoth of a home is slated to span more than 100,000 square feet.

Headline-grabbing Los Angeles sales in 2016 may have spurred sellers and spec developers to aim exceedingly high with listing prices. Big-ticket properties sold last year included Owlwood Estates and the Playboy Mansion, which traded for $90 million and $100 million, respectively.

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift seeks landmark status for Beverly Hills mansion

When she’s not writing platinum-bound albums and breaking hearts, Taylor Swift is penning letters to the Beverly Hills Cultural Heritage Commission.

The international pop star is vying for her $25 million Beverly Hills mansion to receive landmark status. Known as the Samuel Goldwyn Estate, the 11,000-square-foot compound was commissioned in 1934 by the MGM producer.

Designed by architect Douglas Honnold, the six-bedroom, five-bathroom estate on Laurel Way contains a card room, library, theater, guest suite and lighted tennis court.

Having hosted the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich and Clark Gable, the home was first listed in 2008 for $24 million but didn’t sell. After owner Goldwyn Jr.’s death in January 2015, it was put back on the market for an ambitious $39 million, but Swift scooped up the home for a little over the initial asking price — $25 million — in September 2015.

The move shows business acumen as well as historic appreciation: a local historic landmark designation will not only safeguard the estate but also help it to appreciate in value.

EB-5 investors are California dreamin’

West Coast, best coast. That’s certainly the attitude among EB-5 investors, the majority of whom choose to live in California, according to a recent report from the Department of Commerce. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services data recorded between 2009 and 2014, over 8,000 EB-5 investors and their family members resided in California    more than half of all EB-5 investors in the U.S.

The second-biggest EB-5 hotspot trailed far behind. New York had roughly 1,500 EB-5 residents during the same period. California also surpassed New York and all other states when it came to total EB-5 investment. The Golden State saw nearly $1.5 billion flow through its regional centers into 38 projects between 2012 and 2013, while New York saw $1.2 billion in 17 projects, the report found.

“California attracts a lot of investment because of its size and population, and EB-5 is a job creation program after all,” said Gregory Karns, an attorney at Cox Castle & Nicholson who specializes in Asian investment. Investors can also expect larger returns in L.A. than they would get in New York because L.A. has more-favorable capitalization rates and underwriting terms, he said.

Another pull is that the majority of EB-5 investors are Chinese nationals, and Los Angeles County has no shortage of established Chinese enclaves, such as Arcadia in the San Gabriel Valley.

Related Articles

Cammeby's International Group founder Rubin Schron and, from top: 194-05 67th Avenue, 189-15 73rd Avenue and 64-05 186th Lane (Credit: Google Maps)

Ruby Schron lands $500M refi for sprawling Queens apartment portfolio

Wendy Silverstein, co-head of WeWork’s real-estate fund, is out

WeWork’s side businesses are fizzling

Normandy Founder Finn Wentworth, Columbia CEO E. Nelson Mills, 799 Broadway and 250 Church Street (Credit: Google Maps)

Columbia acquiring Normandy for $100M in New York real estate’s latest megamerger

WeWork abandons Seattle co-living plan, Barneys bidding begins: Daily digest

Alex Sapir’s massive Opportunity Zone site in Miami hits the market

Michael Cohen and Donald Trump (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

Trump exaggerated building values to get financing, tax documents show

Brokerage firms are strategizing ways to make up losses after the cost of application fees was capped at $20. (Credit: iStock)

Brokerages on rental application fee cap: “It hurts”