Media mogul Byron Allen is building a Beverly Hills megamansion
CEO lands $82M in financing for demolition project
Media mogul Byron Allen is building a megamansion in Beverly Hills after securing more than $80 million in financing, adding to a collection of luxury homes from New York to Aspen to Maui.
The Entertainment Studios CEO, who got his start in show business as a comedian when he was still a teenager, filed plans to build a 24,000-square-foot mansion on Calle Vista Drive, property records show.
Allen took out an 18-year, $37.8 million mortgage from Bank of America and landed a $45 million line of credit for the project, set to mature in 2024, according to records. Allen signed the loan documents.
He wants to demolish an existing 12,000-square-foot structure on the site and build a two-story home with a bowling alley, an underground theater, gym and six-car garage. Neither Allen nor a spokesperson returned emails or calls seeking comment.
“I’ve never heard of a larger mortgage,’’ said Ira Meltzer, who arranged the loans but declined to confirm the borrower’s identity. Meltzer operates One Million Dollar Plus, which caters to high net worth individuals, he said. “This is more than Beyonce and Jay-Z’s,” referring to the $52 million loan the power couple took out on their Bel Air mansion a few years ago.
Allen’s financing was based on the future value of the property, Meltzer said. When the project is completed, he estimated it will be worth $150 million.
“Valuations are challenging when they’re done off spec developments,” appraiser Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel said. In November, a 20,000-square-foot Beverly Hills mansion from spec developer Nile Niami sold for $38 million — a drastic drop from its original $100 million asking price.
But Allen’s home won’t hit the market once it’s finished. The new mortgage stipulates he has to live there for at least a year after construction is finished. Meltzer confirmed his client was not planning to put the house up for sale and would keep it as his primary residence.
Since 2016, L.A. homes that have sold for more than $100 million have averaged 24,000 square feet on about six acres, Miller said. Allen’s planned home meets the average size, though the property is just over an acre.
Allen originally bought the property in 2012 for $17 million — next to a house now owned by Apollo Global Management CEO Leon Black, records show. Since then he has bought multimillion-dollar homes in Aspen and Maui and a unit at Vornado Realty Trust’s ultra-luxury 220 Central Park South condo tower in New York.
Allen’s real estate purchases are dwarfed by the acquisitions his media companies have made. In 2018, Entertainment Studios acquired The Weather Channel for a reported $300 million and last month another one of his companies, Allen Media, bought seven television stations for $380 million.
Allen, who moved to L.A. at the age of 7 from Detroit, worked his way up in show business. He wrote jokes for the TV show “Good Times,” appeared on the “Tonight Show with Johnny Carson,” and landed a spot on “Real People,” one of the earliest reality shows. His routine included a joke about the value of money.
“I love old people but never ask them for money,’’ he said on the Tonight Show when he was 18. “They start reminiscing. ‘Grandaddy, could I get a quarter for a popsicle?’ And he’s like, ‘A quarter? For a popsicle? I once bought a 20-room house with a quarter.’”