The paint is still drying, and the final landscaping is going in. But the world’s first giga-mansion – The ONE on a Bel-Air hilltop – is finally nearing completion. What hasn’t changed is that eye-watering price tag, a staggering $500,000,000 as in half a billion dollars. What that impressive sum will buy you is a 100,000-square-feet, 20-bedroom compound perched high above Bel Air on four acres, with spectacular 360-degree uninterrupted views. It’s the creation of movie producer turned prolific real estate developer Nile Niami and architect Paul McClean, who have taken seven years to construct this ultimate spec-home. Among its multitude of jaw-dropping features; a 5,500-square-feet master suite, 30 bathrooms, a 30-car auto ‘gallery’, five swimming pools, a 36-seat movie theater, six-lane bowling alley, and naturally, a nightclub.
No, it’s not a great time to be selling a mega-priced mega mansion. A cooling global economy, concerns over stock market volatility, over-ambitious expectations on pricing. It’s all resulting in a global slowdown. But those with the resources are going to find an astonishing choice of remarkable properties—many now with huge price reductions. Here are 22 of the most amazing homes that lots of money can buy.
15. Owlwood Estate, Holmby Hills, California – $115 Million
This is where Some Like It Hot star Tony Curtis, along with singing duo Sony and Cher, once called home. Before them, Joe Schenck, chairman of movie studio 20th Century Fox, owned it. Now this sprawling, 10-acre slice of Old Hollywood, on South Carolwood Drive in ritzy Holmby Hills, is on market for $115 million. That’s well down from the original 2017 asking price of $180 million. Built in 1936, the Italian Renaissance-style wood-paneled mansion features nine bedrooms and 10 baths spread over 12,200 square feet. On the vast, beautifully secluded grounds there’s a tennis court, an Olympic-sized pool with a spacious pool house and four garages. And with the compound being made up of three contiguous lots, there’s plenty of room for development. Even for a small sub-division.
14. Green Gables, Woodside, California – $120 Million
As the old adage goes, if you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it. Though in the case of this massive 74-acre retreat in Silicon Valley’s Woodside, a 30-mile drive south of San Francisco, it still applies today. So unique, and so vast is the compound that the Fleishhacker family that still owns it, is refusing to set a price and will wait for (sizable) offers. All that everyone is pretty certain of, is that it will beat the previous Woodside record of $117 million set in 2012 for a nine-acre estate. It was over a century ago when banker Mortimer Fleishhacker, Sr. accumulated nine parcels of land and built an English-style mansion. Today the estate includes seven different homes with a total of 32 bedrooms, world-class gardens and a Roman pool.
13. Palazzate, St. Peter, Barbados – $125 Million
Choices, choices. You could keep this spectacular 75,0000-square-foot beachfront mansion, with its six floors, 20 bedrooms and five pools, as a palatial Caribbean single-family retreat. Or divide it up into four separate mini-mansions, one per floor and each with five bedrooms, six bathrooms and 12,000 square feet of space. Either way, the asking price is $125 million. Palazzate was developed by Bjorn Bjerhamn, who created Barbados’ St. Peter Bay Resort and Port Ferdinand Marina. The mansion took more than four years to build, and when it was completed in 2015 it was not only the most expensive in Barbados, but in all of the Caribbean. Set on a two-acre lot, the mansion is on the sugar-white-sandy beach of St. Peter on the so-called Barbados Riviera. Among its key features: a 2,500-square-feet fitness center with steam room, a 30,000-gallon aquarium, underground parking for 18 cars and slips at the nearby Port Ferdinand Marina.
12. Villa l’Echaguette, Monaco – $125 Million
From its rooftop terrace, you can gaze down at the superyachts parked in Monaco’s famous Port Hercule harbor. Or, during a weekend in May, get a million-euro view of racecars blasting around the streets below during the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix. Built in the 1860s, Villa l’Echauguette was once home to casino developer Francois Blanc, who helped transform once sleepy Monte Carlo into the playground for the rich and famous it is today. Perched on a cliff overlooking the harbor, this pink Belle Epoque villa offers 8,200 square feet of space over six floors; thankfully there are two elevators. Inside there are six bedrooms, a spacious living room that leads out on to a large private terrace, a wine cellar, a skinny 72-foot-long lap pool, sauna, guest apartment and two-car garage.
11. Palazzo di Amore, Beverly Hills, California – $129 Million
Why buy a vineyard in Napa Valley when you can grow your own grapes right in the middle of Beverly Hills? That was real estate mogul Jeff Greene’s thinking when he bought his spectacular, 25-acre Palazzo di Amore—or Palace of Love—for $35 million in 2008 and spent many more millions renovating it and planting vines. In addition to the 35,000-square-feet main house with its 200-seat dining room, the Tuscan-style estate features a two-level, 15,000-square-feet entertainment ‘complex’ with bowling alley, 50-seat movie theater, a ballroom with DJ booth and revolving dance floor and parking for 150 cars. Greene first listed the estate in 2014 for a jaw-descending $195 million. After a year off the market, he re-listed in 2017 with a $66 million price cut.
10. Petra Ecclestone’s London Mansion – $130 Million
The Twittersphere was on fire recently with news that Formula One racing heiress Petra Ecclestone had listed her spectacular historic London mansion, Sloane House, for £100 million, or $130 million. The listing supposedly came in reaction to her sister Tamara’s equally-lavish Kensington home being burglarized and an estimated $67 million worth of jewelry snatched. Even at $130 million, the 14-bedroom mansion is something of a steal; the 31-year-old reportedly paid $85 million to the previous owner, JCB earth-mover billionaire Lord Bamford, then spent another $33 million on a makeover that included digging down to create one of the biggest private basement swimming pools in London. If Ms. Ecclestone’s name sounds familiar, remember that last July she sold her 56,000-square-foot LA estate, built for the late TV producer Aaron Spelling, for $120 million.
9. Gemini, Manalapan, Florida – $137.5 Million
Talk about a return on investment. Back in 1985, media mogul William Ziff bought a 15-acre ocean-to-lake Palm Beach lot for $5 million. He built a couple of houses on it, along with a nice pool and, 31 years later in 2016, listed it for a staggering $195 million. Not surprisingly it didn’t sell. And today, even with a $57 million price cut – it’s now listed at a still eye-watering $137.5 million—Gemini is still looking for a buyer. But everything about this compound-by-the-sea on Manalapan island just south of Palm Beach, is eye-watering. Its main house spans no less than 62,200 square feet and comes with 12 vast bedrooms. There’s also a seven-bedroom guest residence called Mango House, plus two four-bedroom beachside cottages, and another guesthouse with seven studios. Even by Palm Beach standards, Gemini is unique.
8. 90 Jule Pond Drive, Southampton, New York – $145 Million
Back in 2017, the asking price for this spectacular 42-acre oceanfront compound on Jule Pond Drive, once owned by Henry Ford II, was $175 million. Alas, not even a $30 million price ‘re-alignment’ has seen any serious hand-raisers materialize. In addition to its magnificent quarter-mile of beachfront—still the largest ocean frontage in the entire Hamptons—the estate features a cavernous 20,000-square-foot main residence, renovated in 2008, that boasts a 48-foot-long living room and 12 bedrooms. In the expansive grounds, there’s a tennis court, pool and pool house and two golf greens. The current owner is portfolio manager Brenda Earl, a former partner at equity fund Zweig-Dimenna. She bought the estate in 2002.
7. Villa Firenze, Beverly Park, California – $165 Million
Two years on the market and there are still no hand-raisers for the third most-pricey property in the City of Angels, Villa Firenze. Perched on seven prime acres of security-obsessed Beverly Park, high in the hills above Beverly Hills, this sprawling compound is home to American billionaire Steven Udvar-Hazy, CEO of aircraft leasing giant Air Lease Corporation. Styled like an Italian palazzo, the 20,000-square-foot main house is complemented by a 5,000-square-foot guest house, a pool house and two other guest houses, bringing the total living space to more than 28,000 square feet. Other features include an additional 2.8-acre adjoining lot ripe for development, a huge swimming pool, tennis court and 30-car motor court.
6. Casa Encantada, Bel Air, California– $225 Million
When it quietly hit the market in October, the 60-room Casa Encantada, sprawling over eight and a half acres of tony Bel-Air, became the most expensive piece of real estate on sale in the US. Dating back to the 1930s, the estate was once owned by hotel magnate Conrad Hilton. Today it’s home to financier Gary Winnick, whose company Global Crossing installed ocean-floor fiber-optic cable to connect four continents and 27 countries. Winnick paid a reported $94 million in 2000 for the Georgian masterpiece, and proceeded to spend another small fortune employing a team of 250 craftsmen to undertake an exhaustive two-year restoration.
5. Mesa Vista Ranch, Pampa, Texas – $250 Million
You might have thought that the death last September of 91-year-old oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens might have had his heirs rethinking the $250 million price tag of his beloved Mesa Vista Ranch in the Texas Panhandle. Not so; it’s still a nice, round quarter of a billion dollars. Take it or leave it. Boone Pickens spent close to 50 years assembling the property which today covers over 65,000 acres, or over 100 square miles. What it includes is miles of the rushing Canadian River, four homes including a 33,000-square-feet main lodge, a private airport with 6,000-foot runway and terminal building, a 30-seat home theatre, golf course, tennis course, and a two-story stone kennel with 40 bird dogs.
4. Gateways Canyons, Gateway, Colorado – $279 Million
Discovery Channel founder John Hendricks is still waiting for that ‘right’ buyer to come along – with a spare $279 million. The 8,700-acre Gateways Canyons Ranches and Resort was the dream of Hendricks to build a massive compound in the teeny town of Gateway, Colorado about 180 miles west of Aspen. The billionaire bought his first parcel of land here in the 1990s, and kept on buying till he reached today’s massive acreage. The huge property includes a 22,000-square-feet main house he calls West Creek Ranch Residence. Then there’s the 72-room full-service Gateway Canyons Resort and Spa. And even a car museum, the Gateway Colorado Auto Museum, with around 55 classic cars from Hendricks’ own collection. Add to all this a grass airstrip, airplane hangar and two helipads. With Hendricks and his wife Maureen spending less time at the ranch, he says it’s time to sell. Just not at any price.
3. Pierre Cardin’s Bubble Palace, France – $390 Million
Looking like a set from a shag-a-delic Austin Powers movie, fashion icon Pierre Cardin’s wild Cote d’Azur vacation home, le Palais Boules, or Bubble Palace, delivers total sensory overload. Designed in 1975 by Hungarian architect Antii Lovag, this cluster of pink upturned flower pots overlooking the shimmery Mediterranean close to Cannes, took 14 years to build. Cardin, now 97, bought the compound in 1992 and listed it for sale in 2017 after a five-year restoration. The asking price? A jaw-dropping 350 million euros, or $389 million today. With 26 barnacle-like pods, 13,000-square feet of interior space, 10 bedrooms, several swimming pools, a 500-seat amphitheater and not a straight line in the place, this bubbalicious compound is certainly an acquired taste.
2. 24 Middle Gap Road, Hong Kong – $447 Million
A year on, and there are still no takers – and no price drop – for this run-down, dingy, four-bedroom fixer-upper on a third of an acre in Hong Kong. Could it be the seemingly-astronomical $447 million asking price? Probably not. That’s because the 5,700-square-foot tear-down sits on arguably the priciest piece of real estate on the planet – the gated Middle Gap Road community that’s part of Hong Kong Island’s The Peak neighborhood – short for Victoria Peak. Case in point; an empty lot on nearby 75 Peak Road sold, not so long ago, for a staggering $657 million, according to The Real Deal Hong Kong. Even so, $447 million may be wishful thinking on behalf of the unknown owner. That said, Christie’s International currently has a listing for a five-bedroom townhouse in The Peak with a $154 million asking. As they say in the property business: location, location, location. And locations don’t come any more prestigious than the Peak, on Hong Kong Island. In most other posh parts of the planet, this unassuming, colonial-style 5,700-square-foot, four-bedroom home built in 1991 wouldn’t get a second glance. But because it’s perched atop the Peak, comes with views of Deep Water Bay and is just a 10-minute drive from Hong Kong’s Central Business District, it’s listed for an unthinkable $447 million. Of course, any buyer will probably have the house torn down and a shiny new mega-mansion built on its third-of-an-acre wooded lot.