The business of building super fancy, super expensive spec houses for no rich person in particular is booming around Los Angeles, and everyone involved is pretty confident that it's going to stay hot forever. "No one is worried about it until the music stops. And it hasn't stopped yet," realtor Ben Bacal tells the Wall Street Journal today. (Bacal was one of the agents who marketed the bananas Beverly Hills house that Minecraft creator Markus Persson purchased for a record-setting $70 million last year.) If that sweet music hasn't stopped yet, it's safe to assume it never will!
Constructing a spec house is not for the faint of heart, though. For starters, these brave developers are basically just bleeding money the whole time: "When you're building a home like this, there is no budget," says Shelly Osadon, one half of a husband and wife team financing a $35-million house in Beverly Hills. "Well, there was a budget, but we quickly abandoned it," chuckles her husband. What exactly is jacking up costs so high?
It's almost impossible to anticipate some of the things a megamansion needs to set itself apart from the rest of the super-luxe herd, perhaps because part of the trick is "wowing buyers with amenities and design elements they didn't know they wanted." After all, who knows they want and truly need a $200,000 candy room until it's there, packed with M&Ms, staring them straight in the face? Anticipating the secret yearnings of the wealthy is a challenge for both the imagination and the pocketbook. But luckily, the Osadons and prolific LA megamansion developer Mohamed Hadid have provided a few details about their spec babies as jumping off points:
— an in-home IMAX that Hadid says will be the largest home theater in a residence anywhere
— a staircase that costs "several hundred thousand dollars," unlike those "more typical high-end staircase," which cost about $30,000 to $40,000
— "custom-designed wall coverings for the home's elevator"
— a sushi bar
— a 7,000-square-foot master suite
— "a custom chandelier with 25 handblown glass balls"
— $5,000 "hands-free" toilets (yes, of course they have heated seats) for each of the ten bathrooms in the house
— $350 electric toothbrushes "custom designed by 'dentist to the stars' Jon Marashi"
The Osadons' house is on the market for $35 million, and listing photos clearly show off that pricey, hand-blown light feature in the entry. Hadid's current mansion, the one with the enormous IMAX, is in limbo after the city ordered a halt to construction for murkiness surrounding his permits (in response to very angry neighbor complaints). He says that when the house is finished, it's expected to list for somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 million, which is quite a priceupper from its 2013 proposed price of $45 million.
· The Race to the $100 Million Spec House [WSJ]
· Spec Megamansion King Goes Modern in Bel Air, Asking $45MM [Curbed LA]
· Spec Houses [Curbed LA]