BEVERLY HILLS, CA — The once dazzling, record-breaking property in Beverly Hills, aptly dubbed “The Mountain,” just sold at a jaw-dropping price —not the initial $1 billion asking price but for a mere $100,000. Both the asking price and the purchase price were unheard-of in the L.A. County real estate market.
So what led to The Mountain’s demise?
The property sold for a markdown of 10,000% at a foreclosure auction Tuesday, but it actually cost the buyer a lot more than that, TMZ reported.
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The Mountain hit the market in July 2018 with a $1 billion asking price, which was the most expensive listing in the history of the county, the Los Angeles Times reported. The sweeping 157-acre property on a summit overlooking the city sits at the highest point in the 90210 ZIP Code.
In 2004, the property was bought from the estate of Mark Hughes, the late Herbalife founder, by investor Chip Dickens — but only after Dickens borrowed $45 million from the Hughes estate, the celebrity news website reported.
Dickens’ $45 million debt has since ballooned to roughly $200 million with interest and fees, the Times reported. The Hughes estate foreclosed on the delinquent loan and auctioned off the property this week.
The auction was informally held behind the fountain in Pomona’s Civic Center Plaza, and only about 20 people showed up — half were regular auction attendees dressed in casual clothes and carrying lawn chairs and umbrellas, the Los Angeles Times reported.
No one made a serious bid, so in the end, the estate bought it back for $100,000 while also swallowing the $200 million delinquent loan, TMZ reported. Unsurprisingly, the lawn chair-toting auction attendees weren’t willing to do the same.
Listing agent Aaron Kirman once referred to the property as “the crown jewel of Beverly Hills.” Views stretch from downtown Los Angeles to Catalina Island, and the closest neighbor is half a mile away. Disneyland, at roughly 85 acres, is a little more than half the size of the property, according to the Times.
The mountaintop has a history of royals and celebrities. It was once owned by a sister of the late shah of Iran, the Princess Shams Pahlavi, who had planned to build a lavish palace there, the Times reported. The property was later acquired by talk show host-turned-TV-producer Merv Griffin, who commissioned prominent designer Waldo Fernandez to create a marble-and-limestone mansion. It was never built.
Related: Record-Breaking $1 Billion Property Hits The Market In 90210