N Hillcrest is newly minted billionaire’s playground

Markus Persson's $70 million spec house
Markus Persson's $70 million spec house

When spec home builder Bruce Makowsky unveiled an $85 million mansion on N. Hillcrest Drive in the Trousdale Estates area of Beverly Hills in 2014, industry insiders raised eyebrows. Sure, the cul-de-sac was a high-end enclave, but it had never commanded the jaw-dropping prices seen on the Bird Streets or Beverly Park.

But Makowsky timed his gamble just right. Just months after he listed the property, Markus “Notch” Persson, a Swedish video game designer responsible for hooking hundreds of millions to ‘Minecraft’, sold his company Mojang to Microsoft for $2.5 billion. That kind of newly-minted wealth needs an outlet to express itself, and Persson found it in Makowsky’s manse. He closed on the property, at 1181 N. Hillcrest, in 2014 for $70 million.

That deal opened the floodgates. Sellers and developers in the areas tried to out-do one another with product and price. Last month, spec home developer Nile Niami listed a new luxury home at 1175 N. Hillcrest for $100 million.

“What was once a $10 million or $20 million street is now a $50 million or $100 million street,” said one broker whose client is eying a property on Hillcrest.

Read on for a closer look at the motley crew of business moguls, foreign dignitaries and party boys trying to turn Hillcrest into the new Billionaires’ Road of the Hollywood Hills.

1175 N. Hillcrest Road
Nile Niami’s $100 million spec home, dubbed the “Opus,” spans 20,500 square feet, with seven bedrooms and 11 bathrooms. He’s throwing in a handful of headline-grabbing extras: A gold Lamborghini Aventador and a gold Rolls-Royce Dawn; 170 bottles of Cristal; $2 million in artwork and a full-time property manager, whose salary will be pre-paid for two years. Niami, the former movie producer who’s in the midst of what’s expected to be a pricey divorce, acquired the site for $9.8 million in 2012, records show. He’s also planning a $500 million spec property in Bel Air.

912 N. Hillcrest Road
An 11,000-square-foot mansion owned by Riza Aziz, a film producer and the stepson of Malaysian leader Najib Razak, could be up for grabs soon. The Department of Justice moved to seize the property last year, alleging it was bought with money misappropriated from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd fund, a state fund created in 2009. Aziz bought the property from a friend, Malaysian businessman Jho Low, a party boy tied up in the 1MDB scandal who’s also been linked to Paris Hilton. Aziz has maintained his innocence in the scandal. The property has a 120-foot-long pool, a projection room, a gourmet kitchen and five bedrooms.

Snoop Dogg, Evan Metropoulos and Daren Metropoulos party together (credit: Getty Images_

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1187 N. Hillcrest Road
Evan Metropoulos, the brother of Playboy Mansion owner Daren Metropoulos, recently scooped up this estate, formerly home to “Make Room for Daddy” star Danny Thomas, for $65 million. That’s may seem exorbitant, but it was originally asking $135 million. Metropoulos knew he had leverage, because the seller, billionaire Lebanese-British business mogul Gilbert Chagoury, has been barred from entering the U.S. on terrorism-related grounds. Chaghoury is one of the biggest donors to the Clinton Foundation. He bought the 2.5-acre, eight-bedroom, 12-bathroom estate for $15 million in 2000. Current Hillcrest residents, a fun fact on your new neighbor Metropoulos: He once told the New York Times that he had “been with more chicks than any fat guy you know, except Pavarotti.”

1015 N. Hillcrest Road
Last year, Mitch Julius, a founding member of hedge fund Canyon Capital Partners, shelled out $21 million to buy a Hillcrest Road property from the estate of Eldon Industries CEO Robert Silverstein for $21 million, according to real estate gossip Yolanda Yakketyyak. The principal lot, at 1016 North Hillcrest Road, comprises a main house with four bedrooms, a winding pebble driveway, glass walls and even a secret speakeasy. But Silverstein’s deal also included a 10,000-square-foot lot overlooking the property.

1181 N. Hillcrest Road
The shot heard ’round the real estate world. Markus Persson paid $70 million to handbag tycoon Bruce Makowsky for this 23,000-square-foot spec house, once reportedly eyed by Queen Bey and Jay Z. It features the standard eight bedrooms and 15 bathrooms, plus the perks: a 54-foot curved glass door that opens onto an infinity pool, a 2,500-bottle wine room, a candy room, a museum-style garage with a revolving floor and an 18-seat tiered screening room.

Hakkasan Group CEO Neil Moffitt (credit: Getty Images)

1169 N. Hillcrest Road
Yet another Hillcrest property implicated in the 1MDB scandal. The former owner of this undeveloped parcel, Hakkasan CEO Neil Moffitt, reportedly served as an intermediary for Khadem al-Qubaisi, an Emirati businessman and the former managing director of the International Petroleum Investment Company. Qubaisi was detained in the United Arab Emirates last year after U.S. authorities alleged he had looted millions of dollars in dealings between the Malaysian fund and IPI. Private equity mogul Alex Soltani bought the property for $22.4 million in 2016 and later flipped it to its current owner, a Chinese buyer, for $32 million in December 2016.

1163 N. Hillcrest Road
Last year, hedge funder David Kabiller snagged a Mexican-style mansion on this site as a teardown, paying $35 million for a chance to start afresh. The 7,182-square-foot, four-bedroom property was once owned by Henry Burroughs, founder of Fortress Capital. He also purchased an adjacent lot for roughly $15 million.

1174 N. Hillcrest Road
Plenty of room for blue suede shoes in this three-bedroom pad, which Elvis Presley reportedly bought for $400,000 after marrying his wife Priscilla in 1967. It was later owned by hotelier Peter Morton of Hard Rock Cafe fame, who went on to sell it for $14.5 million to Hamed El Chiaty, an Egyptian businessman. The 5,367-square-foot property is currently on the market for $30 million.

1130 N. Hillcrest Road
Hedi Gores, the co-founder of Pressed Juicery and ex-wife of private equity billionaire Alec Gores, bought her pad for $6 million in 2012, records show. She once dated “Good Charlotte” singer Benji Madden. The 5,603-square-foot property has four bedrooms and five bathrooms, according to Redfin.