Beverly Hills : Sheik's Lot May Be Subdivided

Beverly Hills developer Cesar Lopez Jr. said he will seek administrative approval from the city next month for his final subdivision plan for a Sunset Boulevard property once owned by a flamboyant Saudi Arabian sheik.

The 3.58-acre property gained notoriety in the late 1970s when Sheik Mohammed al-Fassi and his then-wife, Sheika Dena al-Fassi, decorated the estate with explicitly painted nude statues visible to passers-by. An arson fire gutted the $6.4-million mansion in 1980, and Sheika al-Fassi received the property a few years later as part of an $81-million divorce settlement.

Lopez' Beverly Hills development firm, Custom Space Builders, acquired the property and demolished the mansion last year with the city's blessing. Lopez said his company finally gained title to the property when the escrow with Sheika al-Fassi closed April 30, clearing the way for the firm to seek final approval from the city and begin construction.

Lopez said he plans to build a $10-million, 15,000-square-foot French-style home on a two-acre parcel, one of two to be created in the subdivision. A Florida doctor has expressed interest in the estate home, Lopez said, but he refused to disclose the name of the prospective buyer.

The remaining 1.58 acres at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Alpine Drive is being offered for sale for $4 million, Lopez said.

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