Strada Vecchia has officially sold, heralding an apparent end for spec developer Mohamed Hadid’s partially-built, long-derided Bel Air mansion after years of legal disputes, safety warnings and high-end drama.
The new owner is Sahara Construction Company, a firm based in Ventura County that had been negotiating with a court receiver over the property in recent months. The firm bought the property in conjunction with an LLC named Re Della Strada, which means “king of the strada” in Italian. ” Under the terms of the deal, Sahara will pay $5 million and also undertake the court-mandated demolition of the structure, as well as stabilize the hillside on which the structure was built.
Concerns over the mansion’s precarious condition — especially in extreme weather — have been at the center of an extended legal battle over the property.
“We feel quite relieved to finally have come to a conclusion,” said Joe Horacek, a neighbor who has long wanted the building demolished and, along with his wife, Bibi, led a civil case against Hadid over the property.
“There were a lot of discussions in court about ‘Could this house actually be demolished safely?’ and you’ve just always got unknown risks.” But, he added, “it feels like it’s behind us and it’s going to be done.”
A judge signed an order approving the sale on Wednesday.
Under the terms of the deal, the $5 million will first pay off legal fees and other expenses incurred on the property, with any remaining funds then allocated to creditors.
The deal represents a conclusion to a saga that ranks among the longest and most salacious construction disputes in L.A. history.
After buying the property in 2011, Hadid began building an extravagant, 30,000- square-foot spec project, only to run afoul of the building department because the project exceeded approved plans. In 2017 the celebrity developer pleaded no contest to criminal charges over the construction and was sentenced to community service.
In 2018, Horacek, a high-powered entertainment lawyer, joined with other neighbors to file a civil suit. As part of that suit the court ruled the property was dangerous — there was a risk it could collapse or slide down the steep hill under extreme weather conditions — and seized control.
The court also ordered a tear down, but the multi-million dollar estimated cost of demolition presented another dilemma, and for months the court attempted to sell the property to raise funds for the job.
After a court-run auction failed to produce bids deemed high enough to cover all the costs, Sahara came up with an alternative offer in which the construction firm would carry out the demolition itself, potentially saving millions.
Under the terms of the deal, the court receiver will supervise the demolition, which must “commence promptly” and has to be entirely completed by next September.
Hadid declined to comment. Sahara Construction did not immediately return a message seeking comment.