Teddy Roosevelt once said “He with the big stick wins, except when attacked by he with the bigger stick. So always carry the biggest stick.” (We paraphrase.)
Nile Niami seems to have taken that bigger-is-always-better mantra to heart. For the uninformed, Mr. Niami is arguably LA’s most successful spec-builder of mega-mansions, the outrageous kind with indoor and outdoor swimming pools, bowling alleys, and even underground operating rooms.
One of our readers was kind enough to notify us that Mr. Niami’s latest project in Bel Air has just hit the market, asking a billionaires-only $65,000,000. The listing includes a slickly-produced YouTube video. Check it out. Even if this place isn’t your cup of real estate tea, it’s certainly somethin’.
Built by the venerated Paul McLean — LA’s go-to mega-mansion architect — the bulky white-and-grey porker weighs in at 27,000-square-feet of living space, about 13 or 14 times the size of the average American home. Yes, kids, this place dwarfs most every house in the country, and even most of the homes in the exclusive Bel Air neighborhood.
Perched on just under an acre of flat land in prime lower Bel Air, the “contemporary manor” (per the listing) is blessed with head-on views of the sixth fairway on the golf course of the uber-posh Bel Air Country Club. Behind the house, a long row of ficus trees provide privacy, and there’s a dark-bottomed swimming pool plus a large patch of grassy lawn.
We were expecting an underground “auto gallery” of some sort, but it appears as though this place has a simple and very conventional four-car garage. Oh well, at least there’s lots of driveway and motorcourt space for guest parking. Gotta have room for charity galas and such.
The interior goes all-in for the drama with its white-and-black theme interspersed with lurid pops of color. Check out that couch! And that kitchen! Oh my, we mistook that for a Rodeo Drive boutique display case at first. The chevron-patterened French Oak floors appear to have been ebonized and polished to within an inch of their lives.
Add some track lighting and you’d feel transported to the VIP section at the world’s swankiest nightclub.
All the requisite mega-mansion checkboxes have been ticked — there’s a ballroom, a wine cellar, a movie theater with both bar and couch seating, a wet bar carved entirely from black marble, a “wellness center”, and a lounge area equipped with the biggest red sectional couch we have ever laid eyes upon.
Still, no indoor basketball court or bowling alley? A missed opportunity, Mr. Niami!
The master suite is almost tomb-like with the amount of space it contains. There are his and hers bathrooms and closets — his done up in a dizzying amalgamation of mirrors and black marble, hers in lighter, brighter colors. An additional seven bedroom suites are scattered throughout the residence. And for times when the owner desires a meal with a view, there’s a rooftop terrace with space for an outdoor dining set.
From what we can tell, Mr. Niami is in the latter stages of completing another mega-mansion that sits directly behind the place we have just discussed. And he’s still trying to sell his Opus confection over in Trousdale Estates — it’s currently listed at $68 million, way down from the original ask of $100 million more than a year ago.
But his magnum opus, his chef d’oeuvre, his pièce de résistance, is undoubtedly The One, a 100,000-square-foot giga-mansion set on a high Bel Air knoll overlooking all of the LA basin. He’s been working on that place for nearly six years, and we expect to see it on the market sometime in the coming months, asking a hellacious $500 million. Fasten your real estate safety belts for that big stick.
Listing agents: Branden & Rayni Williams, Hilton & Hyland