Spec mansion marketing shifts from champagne fridge to organic pantry

Sex isn’t selling, so over-the-top bachelor pads like the one Nile Niami dubbed “Opus,” are undergoing family-friendly transformations

TRD LOS ANGELES /
May.May 06, 2020 01:15 PM
The living room at the Opus (Credit: JIM BARTSCH via Forbes)
The living room at the Opus (Credit: JIM BARTSCH via Forbes)

What happens when sex doesn’t sell? If you’re an agent trying to move one of the dozens of sleek spec mansions that dot Los Angeles, you rebrand, even if it costs millions of dollars.

For years it’s been hip to position the ultramodern mansions as ultimate over-the-top dens on iniquity, targeting largely male buyers with walk-in champagne refrigerators, shark tanks and nightclub-style décor. But many haven’t been selling, so agents are now appealing to wealthy families, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Nile Niami’s monster creation in Beverly Hills, dubbed Opus, was the poster child for risqué marketing. Its infamous 2017 teaser video featured barely-dressed young women having a leisurely day of posing provocatively around the 20,500-square-foot mansion.

But earlier this year, Niami unloaded the property to one of his lenders, Joseph Englanoff, after several price cuts. Englanoff and the listing agents, Branden and Rayni Williams, quickly renamed it 1175 Billionaires’ Row and overhauled it as a family-friendly abode for a future buyer.

They removed the gold design accents, replaced the dark stone floors with wide plank oak and turned the Cristal champagne fridge into an organic pantry. The gold Lamborghini in the driveway was even replaced with a Porsche Macan SUV.

The rebrand cost $2 million and the property is set to hit the market asking $58 million, just below the lowest price tag Niami put on the home.

Douglas Elliman’s Fredrik Eklund similarly rebranded a Beverly Hills mansion this year. He reshot listing photos during the day and filmed a video trailer featuring himself, fellow listing agent Ben Bacal — who operates under his own Revel Real Estate brand — brand and a swarm of kids playing around the backyard.

“We wanted to get the eyeballs of parents — wealthy parents,” Eklund told the Journal. “And we wanted brokers who’d looked at the property before to see it in a new way.” [WSJ] — Dennis Lynch


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