It took six years for this $65 million megahome to rise up on a ridge in Los Angeles.
Back in 2014, an outdated mansion sat on the half-acre lot at 1108 Wallace Ridge. It was on the market with an asking price of $18 million. Like many of the potential buyers who saw the Beverly Hills listing, developer Michael Chen loved the site, but he saw no value in the 6,300-square-foot house on the property.
“It was a tear-down,” Chen said.
Nonetheless, the developer and his investor were drawn to it. The property is in the exclusive Trousdale Estates section of the 90210 ZIP code — an area Chen was betting would see a dramatic increase in value. So Chen and his partner pulled the trigger and bought the property for $15 million. They paid almost $2,400 per square foot for a four-bedroom home they planned to bulldoze.
“The main decision-making to buy this lot was that it was a front-row view property with one of the only daylight basements in Trousdale,” Chen said.
The opportunity to rebuild with a sun-drenched basement was important, Chen said, because in this part of Beverly Hills, home heights are strictly limited to 14 feet.
While he couldn’t build above the height restriction, he said, he was clear to build below ground level. And since the site sits on an elevated ridge overlooking Century City, the basement could have a wall of windows and impressive views of the skyline. In other words, the new basement level wouldn’t look or feel like a basement at all.
Building a much larger lower level could add valuable square footage — and millions of dollars in value — to the new residence.
The objective with the redesign was to maximize the new home’s views, square footage and curb appeal.
Tens of millions of dollars later, the new residence is a whopping 18,000 square feet — almost three times the size of the original home. Its ultra-luxe modern design is a symphony of glass, stone and vertical louvers with seven bedrooms and 14 baths.
Chen originally built the home for his investor and himself to enjoy as a vacation property for a few years and eventually sell when the timing was right.
“If we were building as spec, we wouldn’t have spent as much money as we did,” said Chen.
The developer won’t reveal exactly how much it cost to build, but he claims it’s in the “tens of millions.”
By the time the home was finished in the second quarter of this year, luxury home sales — a category that starts at $8.8 million — in Los Angeles were averaging $2,078 per square foot. During the three-month period, 112 luxury home sales were sold, up 138% from the second quarter of 2020, according to the Elliman Report. The properties were averaging 89 days on the market.
Those market conditions persuaded Chen and his partner to abandon plans to use the home as a vacation property. Instead, the pair put it up for sale in April, represented by real estate brokers Aaron Kirman of Compass, and Adam Rosenfeld at the Agency RE.
“Timing-wise it was a good time to sell,” Chen said.
In the middle of a global pandemic, 1108 Wallace Ridge hit the market for $65 million. That’s about $3,600 per square foot — and a $40 million premium over its 2014 price.
Here’s a look around one of the most expensive new homes for sale in Beverly Hills.
A spiral staircase covered in Venetian plaster and marble steps leads to the lower level.
At the center of the lower level is a 150-year-old olive tree imported from Tuscany. Chen said the tree’s installation required a 110-ton crane and 15-person crew.
The infinity pool on this level includes a lap pool and views of Century City.
The home’s wellness center includes a glass-enclosed steam room, sauna and massage table.
The entertainment area on the lower level features a stone bar.
The dining room sits atop a marble bridge above a waterfall and overlooks the olive tree growing in the courtyard.
Among the 14 bathrooms are two identical powder rooms covered in Venetian plaster and a designer sink that appears to peel open from the wall.
The home’s 4K ultra HD screening room seats 24.
The wine cellar and tasting room includes storage for more than 2,000 bottles.
The butler’s kitchen has four ovens, three sinks, a stove top with 18 burners and a separate entrance for staff.