WHEN FIRST PLACED ON THE MARKET, THIS STUPEFYING 38,000 SQUARE FOOT ESTATE WAS THE MOST EXPENSIVE HOME IN THE UNITED STATES. PRESENTING A VISUAL TOUR OF A RESIDENCE THAT SIMPLY DEFIES ADJECTIVES
BY SUSAN HORNIK
In his twenty years of real estate experience, Shawn Elliott, managing director of Nest Seekers Ultra Luxury division, has never experienced a residence like 924 Bel Air Road a $188 million mansion built by developer Bruce Makowsky.
“It’s simply incredible. We call it the eighth wonder of the world!” enthused Elliott. “Even A list celebrities who have come through to tour the property are completely amazed.”
The 38,000 square foot, 12 bedroom, 21 bath estate is situated at the top of Bel Air a neighborhood in the Westside area of Los Angeles and in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains. It is, the realtor explained, the last of its kind, in part because local building regulations have changed to stipulate that no further residences of this size are legally permissible.
“They don’t let you build more than 17,000 square feet on a hillside anymore,” said Elliott, “so that makes this house even more special.”
Makowsky’s mission was, he details on the site dedicated to the home, “to create the most extraordinary, exciting, and dramatic contemporary estate ever built…in the most beautiful place in the United States. I searched by land and helicopter to find a setting worthy of this masterpiece, and found it within the platinum triangle of Beverly Hills, Holmby Hills, and Bel Air. This enclave is home to the most affluent people in the world, from captains of industry to the Hollywood elite.”
The resulting property is new, and has been on the market since last year (at the time of first listing, it was the most expensive for sale home in the nation) its site once occupied by a ranch style house that was torn down. Former football star turned television host Michael Strahan owned the previous home on the plot, and intended to build a 6,000 foot dream house there. But, after getting the hosting gig for Live with Kelly and Ryan in New York City, he sold the land to Makowsky in late 2013. The current structures at 924 Bel Air Road required four years to complete.
“You can get in your car and be 90 minutes away from snowboarding and 40 minutes away from surfing,” said Elliott. “And the views are incredible, day or night; to the east, you can see the snow capped mountains of Mount Baldy, and if you look west, you’ll see the beaches of Malibu.”
One of the home’s unique design features is its myriad of exotic stone and marble types on walls and countertop surfaces. Of the 50 different stones used in the house, 40 had never before been utilized for such purposes in the U.S.
“There is beautiful onyx you can only find in countries like Greece and Turkey and other sought after types like black quartz crystal, which are very expensive,” said Elliott. “Bruce travelled the world and had people helping him find fantastic stones that you just don’t see every day.”
The mansion, the realtor further explained, also has “revolutionary and evolutionary” home technology, including three screening theaters. The outdoor version features a screen 18 feet wide by 12 feet high that pops up just next to the pool, while the bar area screen is 25 feet wide by nine feet high. Lastly, there’s a 40 seat Dolby screening room, which currently boasts the largest residential projection surface in the world. The home also has an impressive indoor/outdoor sound system one made plain to just about anyone in or on its sprawling footprint via more than 350 speakers. There are also five bars, an auto gallery, two wine cellars, a spa, and gym. The exuberant and luxurious amenities don’t end there. “In the game room, for example, there is a wide assortment of candy from Dylan’s Candy Bar, and a gorgeous four lane bowling alley,” said Elliott. Among its gastronomic attributes are no fewer than three kitchens one for family dining, another a professional chef’s show kitchen, plus an additional dedicated to staff use. In another adventure in numerical superlatives, there are, count them, 135 art installations throughout. “The pieces are from all over the world sourced from Art Basel and Art Hamptons, among other venues and are typically very expensive; the price range starts at $10,000 and goes up to a million dollars and more,” said Elliot. “Not only is Bruce a luxury developer, he is also a modern artist. Fifteen percent of the art in the estate he created,” adding that curating in a variety of realms is also a developer fascination. Makowsky individually selected just about every piece in the home, and his fascination extended to careful selections down to linen and flatware. “He is a genius; it’s unreal how much detail he put in. Everything had to be the very best.”
The estate includes a staff of seven at the service of a new owner. “If you need a full time chef, masseuse, fitness trainer, security guard, driver, or house manager, their services will be paid for up to two years,” said the realtor, who then pointed to one of many water features that mark the site.
“Look at these natural stone walls with water cascading down,” he said. “The pools also have spectacular water features. Plus, there are two infinity pools, one off the master bedroom, and the spectacular main water feature is 85 feet wide!”
The mansion even has a helicopter and landing pad. Its current occupant is a twinengine Bell 222A, which was the main character on the 1980s TV series Airwolf. While copters are no longer permitted to land in Bel Air, it’s impressive to behold as an art piece nonetheless, as Makowsky had the item restored.
Finally, if Bel Air ever experiences an earthquake, the estate is more than ready.
“The foundation is as solid as a rock—the home was built with concrete and steel. So, if ever something should happen, there is no place I would rather be,” said Elliot.
924 Bel Air Road