The 157-acre hilltop event space in Beverly Crest known as Vineyard Beverly Hills was put up for sale earlier this year with a website advertising that the owners were hoping for a single buyer looking to come forward with $1 billion or more. That creative estimate for the property's worth is now taking a backseat as previously stalled plans to put six megamansions on the site are now back on. Each humble residence is expected to be about 40,000 square feet and sell for as much as $120 million each, says the LA Business Journal.
The possible size and sale prices for the mansions come via Jeff Hyland, president of brokerage Hilton & Hyland, who's got an exclusive contract to sell the houses, assuming they're built. Hyland goes on to say that the $1-billion ticket price advertised on the website was—surprise!—"bogus," and that the property was never on the market. The website has since shuttered "temporarily."
The desirable property, one of the last big undeveloped ones in the area, has an illustrious past. First purchased by the sister of Iran's last shah, it was then sold in 1987 to Merv Griffin, who planned to build a 58,000-square-foot mansion and a "couple of lakes" on the spot. That never happened, though Griffin did get a chance to grade the land and separate it into six separate parcels before selling it to Herbalife founder Mark Hughes for $8.5 million. Hughes planned to use the property for a 45,000-square-foot estate that would cost an estimated $50 million to build.
Hughes died unexpectedly before he could start construction, and his trust sold the land to current co-owners Victorino Noval and Charles "Chip" Dickens (collectively, Tower Park Properties) in 2004 for $24 million—a transaction that's kept any development on the site in a real estate limbo for years since. It started when Tower Park Properties defaulted not too long after the sale was finalized; they filed for bankruptcy in 2008, at which time their debt to Hughes's estate (originally, with interest, about $80 million) was reduced by the trust to a more reasonable $58 million.
The Hughes trust says TPP hasn't paid anything and disputes the lower, $58-million figure (the three trustees that made the deal with TPP have since been ousted from the trust). But this week, a bankruptcy court ruled that the lower number stands, and now that the ruling's been made, Hyland says that those mansions are finally moving toward construction for the first time in a while. Goodbye, fancy event space, hello neighbor-infuriating construction projects!
· Situation Looking Up for Buyers of Mountaintop [LABJ]
· Bev Crest "Vineyard" Will Not Entertain Offers Under $1 Billion [Curbed LA]