Is the Spelling mansion worth every penny of its $200M ask?

Los Angeles /
Oct.October 06, 2016 06:21 PM

It may not have a sexy grotto or a film credit in “The Godfather,” but the Spelling mansion has its own secret weapon — unlike some other recent L.A. mega-listings, it may actually be worth its asking price.

The 56,500-square-foot Holmby Hills mansion owned by British heiress Petra Ecclestone Stunt hit the market Tuesday for $200 million, or roughly $3,500 a square foot. The number is certainly jaw-dropping. Yet, if the property sells for its listing price, it would be a price-per-square-foot bargain compared to the Playboy Mansion, which sold to Daren Metropoulos over the summer for $5,250 a square foot.

Luxury estate experts told The Real Deal that the 123-room Spelling mansion sale will likely steal the title from Hugh Hefner’s party palace to become L.A.’s priciest ever home trade. 

“It’s an epic mansion that’s solidly built,”said Ben Bacal of Rodeo Realty, who has been inside the renovated abode. “It’s elegant but it has a sexy, rock n’ roll feel.”

The renovations are the selling point that differentiates the property from its peers in the ultra-luxury category, and make the 1988-built French chateau worth its ask, Bacal said.

“It’s 100 percent worth it,” he said.

The renovations have their own backstory. Dubbed the Manor by the estate’s original proprietors, Candy and Aaron Spelling, the property hit the market for the first time in 2011, five years after Aaron Spelling’s death. Stunt, then 22 years old, plunked down $85 million to buy it — and instantly became a fixture on the L.A. social scene, at least for a hot second.

The heiress, who has since married businessman James Stunt, quickly got to work to rid the property of Candy’s kitsch aesthetic, hiring 500 employees to transform the property, according to an interview she gave to W Magazine in March 2012. She installed a giant exotic fish tank in the study, a bowling alley in the basement and a spa with three hair stations. Celebrity designer Gavin Brodin, who is also British, led the makeover.

Although the exact amount remains undisclosed, Bacal estimated that Ecclestone’s renovations cost at least $30 million. Hilton & Hyland’s Rick Hilton, who has the current listing for the property with colleague David Kramer, told TRD the total cost was probably higher.

“She’s made it brighter and added more contemporary tones,” Hilton said.

The sale of the Playboy Mansion played a part in deciding the value of the Spelling manor, he said. Cut down from its listing price of $200 million, that property sold for $105 million — with the stipulation that Hugh Hefner be allowed to remain on site until his death.

“We feel it’s a fair price given the location, the amount of land, the size of the house and how hard it would be to recreate it,” he said. “It’s in a better location than the Playboy Mansion, which also needs everything redone.”

But if you ask Compass broker Greg Harris, the Spelling mansion’s most valuable asset is its size.

“She’s selling a big house, she’s not selling history,” he told TRD.

Still, some said $200 million may be a reach. There’s only a handful of people in the world who could afford it, after all. Hilton said the firm’s marketing efforts will include reaching out directly to domestic and international billionaires.

“It’s a reasonable ask, but I don’t think they’ll get it,” said Michael Nourmand of Nourmand & Associates. “I think they’ll get something in the $150 million to $170 million range.”

That would still be record-breaking, of course.

“I have no doubt in my mind it would still be the most expensive sale in L.A.,” Nourmand said.


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