That escalated quickly.
The property’s 10-figure sticker price makes it the most expensive listing in the county by a long measure. Another undeveloped tract of land nearby hit the market last year for $250 million and has yet to find a buyer. A hilltop parcel owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen now looks like a bargain at $150 million.
Andy Butler, marketing director for listing agent Aaron Kirman, tells Curbed the price tag isn’t just a headline grabber.
“This kind of property doesn’t exist anywhere else,” he says. “It really sits in its own ballpark.”
The parcel is being advertised as “The Mountain,” and consists of 157 grassy acres in the 90210 zip code.
The property has a long and tangled history, and was once owned by Shams Pahlavi, sister of the Shah of Iran. Later, television magnate Merv Griffin bought the plot with plans to develop an extravagant home, complete with a helipad. Griffin never followed through with that scheme, and the land remains undeveloped.
Property records show it now belongs to a limited liability company associated with Victor Noval, son of Victorino Noval, a businessman and philanthropist convicted of mail fraud and tax evasion in 2003.
In 2015, a website advertising the property launched with a disclaimer stating that offers under $1 billon would not be considered. Later, the younger Noval clarified that the property was not for sale and would instead be used for fundraisers and other events.
Three years later, with LA’s real estate market reaching unprecedented heights, the parcel’s owners appear to have reconsidered that stance, and the astronomical asking price is back.
The property has long piqued the interest of high-profile buyers; according to the Hollywood Reporter, both Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt considered purchasing portions of the tract, and Rihanna hosted a charity gala there in 2014.
But would anyone seriously consider paying $1 billion for an empty piece of hillside?
Butler says yes, based on the “intrinsic value” of the land, which offers views across the LA basin. Multiple offers under $1 billion have already been turned down, he says.