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Mohamed Hadid starts demolishing Bel Air spec mansion

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The courts have ordered Hadid to demolish the home’s third story

An aerial photo of a half-finished mansion jutting out of a hillside.
901 Strada Vecchia, seen in the summer of 2018.
Courtesy of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips

Spec mansion developer Mohamed Hadid is starting to demolish part of his illegally-constructed estate in the hills of Bel Air.

In demolishing the third floor of the 30,000-square-foot megamansion and a pool deck set into the hillside, Hadid is complying with a court order that was issued in 2017, according to the city attorney’s office.

That year, Hadid pleaded no contest to criminal charges related to his work on the property. The charges were brought by the city attorney, who accused Hadid of violating building codes by not getting permits for parts of the house, including a full-story basement. (Construction continued after stop-work orders were issued).

The court order says Hadid must begin removing the third story of the partially complete residence at 901 Strada Vecchia by February 1, according to the city attorney’s office.

But neighbors John and Judith Bedrossian and Beatriz and Joseph Horacek—whose homes sit below the hill on which the Hadid mansion is perched—filed a request for a temporary restraining order last week to try to stay the demolition.

They’re asking the courts to require that Hadid create a demolition plan and get approval from the building and safety department before proceeding. They also want the demolition to be under constant supervision of city inspectors.

“Every single time Hadid has been allowed to do work at the property, he has used that time to perform work illegally,” says Victor de la Cruz, an attorney who also represents the neighbors.

“Given unprecedented scale of all the illegal construction here,” there needs to be more oversight, de la Cruz says.

Demolition would typically require a permit and approval of a plan for the work from the city’s building and safety department, but because the structure was unpermitted to begin with, Hadid does not need the city’s permission to demolish it, says department spokesperson Kim Arther.

Until Thursday’s court hearing, only interior demolition on the third floor is allowed, according to Gary Lincenberg, another attorney representing the neighbors. Lincenberg says some demolition work is already underway.

Messages to Hadid’s lawyers were not returned.

In addition to the ongoing civil case involving Hadid, the house is reportedly the focus of an FBI probe into possible wrongdoing by am inspector working on the site.