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.

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