CNS – The high cost of gasoline, the credit crunch and the rest of economic woes now festering do not appear to have much of an effect on the pace of mega-mansions being built in the city’s priciest neighborhoods, it was reported. For example, a 32,000-square-foot beaux-arts mansion in Beverly Hills, complete with gold-plated door knobs, is taking shape on Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills on the same lot where a Saudi sheik razed a mansion years ago, the Los Angeles Times reported. In Bel-Air, businessman Eri Kroh is asking for permits to fill in a canyon and put up a 30,000-plus square-foot single family home.
Just down the hill, workers recently were building retaining walls for a giant lot that real estate experts say could soon feature one or two giant palace-like homes.
“Does anybody need 40,000 square feet?” asked real estate agent Stephen Shapiro of the Westside Estate Agency.
“No, [but] these are our current-day aristocrats and feudal leaders … and this is what they want.” John Finton, who is overseeing construction of the 32,000 square-foot house on Sunset Boulevard for businessman C. Frederick Wehba Sr. and wife Susan, said he knows of at least 20 homes of 20,000-square-feet or more under construction or about to break ground in Beverly Hills, Bel-Air and Holmby Hills. Finton’s job site at Alpine Drive is infamous as part of the former estate of Sheik Mohammed al Fassi. At one point, the house was painted a garish lime green, and the statues surrounding the home were painted, including the genitalia.
According to the Los Angeles County assessor, there are fewer than 60 homes countywide with more than 20,000 square feet in the county and fewer than 10 with more than 30,000. So if 20 castle-like homes of 20,000-square-feet or more are under construction, that would represent an uptick. Many of the largest homes in the county are concentrated in Beverly Park, a gated neighborhood the hills south of Mulholland Drive in the city of Los Angeles.
Several houses there are at least 25,000 square feet, The Times reported.
The grandad of them all, however, remains the mansion of the late Aaron Spelling. At 50,000-plus square feet and 123 rooms, the Holmby Hills estate has no equal.