Real estate developer Bo Zarnegin is betting a prime piece of 10-acre real estate in Beverly Hills can beat a down market.
Zarnegin -- the co-developer with his brother Robert of the Peninsula Beverly Hills Hotel -- is listing his six-bedroom, seven-bath estate for a decidedly ambitious $54.95 million, according to Blockshopper Los Angeles. That puts it in a class of just a handful of listings in Los Angeles to top the $50 million mark.
The property, called Terrazza al Cielo and located off Coldwater Canyon Drive, includes a two-level, 6,377-square-foot country-style main house built in 1939, a two-bedroom, two-bath pool house, a recently refurbished guesthouse, stables, a gym, detached staff and apartments, all set on 10.5 acres right in the heart of one of the most posh areas of Los Angeles.
"It's a very unique property," says listing agent Mark Whitehead. "It's pretty rare to find this much land in Beverly Hills and to have it as private as it is and with so much usable land. Over seven acres is pretty flat. You can walk the whole property."
What's striking about the listing is that Zarnegin paid a fraction of the listing price in 2006, when he picked up the property for just $8.825 million, reports Blockshopper.
According to Whitehead -- who would not comment on the identity of the owner -- the jaw-dropping mark-up is not as surprising as it may sound.
"The owner has added a lot and spent a lot of money on it. When it was bought, it was in a pretty bad state. It was kind of run down, ” says Whitehead. "He spent an absolute fortune on the landscaping and bringing the structures back."
The property, which offers panoramic city and ocean views, has had just four owners in its 72-year history. According to Whitehead, it was built by someone associated with Paramount Studios, though he could not provide the name. The listing boasts, "several reception rooms. Multiple fireplaces tastefully maintained and flanked around a private motor courtyard," with enough space for 14 autos. Hiking trails are accessible from the property.
Also, according to the listing, zoning allows the owner to enlarge the main house to up to 60,000 square feet.
Is it worth the premium? Hilton & Hyland agent and former Million Dollar Listing star Chad Rogers says, "a seller can ask whatever they want, it doesn't mean there's any validity to it." Pointing to the widely-publicized sale of Candy Spelling's 56,300-square-foot compound, "it was listed for $150 million, and sold for $85 million. So a property is worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it. Buyers set prices, not the sellers."
Zarnegin -- who could not be reached for comment -- may not be a motivated seller. Though Whitehead would not confirm the report of whom the seller is, he said that the individual owns two other houses in Beverly Hills and had planned to live in the listed house but that he had slowly been renovating the property. After the New Year, he intends to add a music studio, tennis court and clubhouse to the estate. "If no one buys it by the time he’s done, he may just say, 'I'll sell the other ones and we'll live there.' He would sell it if he gets his price."
Whitehead added that "a well-known celebrity had looked at it and went so much as to write a contract but couldn't come up with money. There was talk there but when the day came to produce, I guess the ship had sailed."