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While it’s hard to imagine that an undeveloped property topping out at a whopping 260 acres could still exist in Los Angeles, just such a parcel is currently up for auction. The private Senderos Canyon spread is located in Bel Air and represents 6 percent of the total land mass of the ultra-pricey L.A. neighborhood.
“It’s about three times the size of Disneyland,” says co-listing agent Scott Tamkin of Compass’ Tamkin Real Estate Group. (Note: While Disneyland theme park itself is around 85 acres, the entire Disneyland resort including hotels and California Adventure is about 500 acres.)
The seller, who is unidentified, has set a minimum bid of $39 million for the crown-jewel property, which was last on the market in March for $60 million. It had first hit the market back in 2013 with a price tag of $125 million. Senderos Canyon is being auctioned by Paramount Realty USA and bidding for the 260-acre Bel Air property is open through March 15. “We feel now is the ideal time to let the market bring the best offer,” says Tamkin. Adds Paramount Realty founder Misha Haghani, “This property falls into a category we commonly refer to as unique and difficult to value — these types of properties really make great candidates for an auction. There aren’t many comps for a property like this. We were shocked to learn when this assignment first crossed our desk that there were 260 acres of property that hasn’t been developed in Bel Air.”
On Feb. 17, the Los Angeles City Council, responding to a motion filed by council member Katy Yaroslavsky, voted to explore purchasing the Senderos Canyon tract.
One of the challenges in selling the property is finding a moneyed buyer who would either want such a large chunk of land for themselves or who would be willing to go through the complicated process of developing it. The untitled land is zoned residential and equine, according to Tamkin. “Ideally it would be used for residential or perhaps a wellness center. Someone could build up to 17 homes by right,” he says, adding that to build more homes than that number would require a variance.
Attempting to rezone the property and develop it for commercial uses such as a shopping center or hotel would likely be considerably more difficult to pull off. For example, a proposed Bulgari Hotel in Benedict Canyon has already encountered stiff community resistance.
The seller of the Senderos Canyon property, which according to The Real Deal is a limited-liability company called Giro Properties — is also offering a discount of $2 million to a buyer who would close the deal before April 1. That’s the date that the city of Los Angeles’ new Measure ULA transfer tax, which raises money for affordable housing, goes into effect. For real estate sales of more than $10 million, the new tax will add 5.5 percent to the transaction. “Essentially the seller is passing on those savings to a buyer who submits an acceptable bid and closes by the end of March,” says Haghani.
Auctions of multi-million-dollar properties in L.A.’s most expensive residential neighborhoods are not unheard of. In 2021, the Hearst Estate sold at auction for $63.1 million to billionaire Nicolas Berggruen, while last year Fashion Nova owner Richard Saghian submitted a winning $141 million for developer Nile Niami’s mega-mansion The One (initially listed for $295 million).
One of the biggest private land deals in Los Angeles recently was the sale of the late Paul Allen’s Enchanted Hill estate in Beverly Hills; the 120-acre property sold in December 2021 for $65 million.
“This could really be the ultimate playground for the high-net-worth individual,” says Haghani of Senderos Canyon, envisioning that an owner may want to build their own private golf course or plant a vineyard. “We sold a 33-acre property in Pennsylvania for an NHL hockey owner and he put in ATV trails on his 33 acres. Imagine what you could do with 260 acres.”
Updated, Feb. 21: Added information about Los Angeles City Council plans.
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