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Big home, big deal: The Manor in Holmby Hills sets an L.A. County price record at $119.75 million

Big home, big deal: The Manor in Holmby Hills sets an L.A. County price record at $119.75 million
In 56,500 square feet, the W-shaped mansion has 123 rooms, including 14 bedrooms and 27 bathrooms. (Jim Bartsch)

Los Angeles’ ailing luxury real estate market just received a shot in the arm: The Manor, a 56,500-square-foot chateau in Holmby Hills, has sold for $119.75 million — the highest home price in Los Angeles County history.

The astronomical sale closed Tuesday, according to the Multiple Listing Service. It represents another notch in the belt for the county, which saw its price record shattered last year by the $110-million deal for Hard Rock Cafe co-founder Peter Morton’s Malibu beach house.

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It’s the fourth sale of $100 million or more in L.A. and the third in Holmby Hills, which saw two record-setting sales of $100 million in 2016: deals for the Playboy Mansion, and for a nearby mega-mansion built on speculation.

It’s a mammoth price for what is the largest home in L.A. and among the largest single-family homes in the U.S.

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Set on 4.7 acres where crooner Bing Crosby once had a home, the Manor has more than one acre of living space. To put that into perspective, it’s just shy of a professional football field’s worth of elbow room -- including the end zones.

The mansion is 1,500 square feet larger than the White House, which has about 55,000 square feet of space.

The Manor was built in 1991 for late producer Aaron Spelling and his widow, Candy Spelling. She then sold it to its current owner Petra Ecclestone, daughter of Formula One billionaire Bernie Ecclestone, for $85 million in an all-cash deal eight years ago.

Nicknamed “Candyland” during the Spellings’ reign, the W-shaped estate introduced extravagance unrivaled at the time: 20-plus customized rooms including a flower-cutting room, a humidity-controlled silver storage room, a barbershop and multiple gift-wrapping rooms.

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A French wine and cheese room was furnished with sidewalk-cafe-style tables and chairs — plus French music. A one-lane bowling alley featured its own shoe closet.

A staff of 30 was employed to run the place.

Ecclestone, 30, made some lavish changes of her own during her stay, opting for more contemporary interiors. Among her additions were a lounge/entry lined in black-striped marble, a large aquarium in the study and a nightclub makeover in the basement level.

What was once a room specifically used for Candy Spelling’s doll collecting was converted into a hair salon and massage parlor.

The home now holds 123 rooms, including 14 bedrooms and 27 bathrooms.

There’s also a tanning room, solarium and game room. Rolling lawns, rose gardens, citrus orchards, statues, koi ponds and fountains fill out the grounds, which include a swimming pool, spa and tennis court.

Ecclestone originally shopped the limestone-draped mega-mansion as a pocket listing in 2014 at $150 million before bringing it to market in 2016 at a 33% premium: $200 million.

At the time of the sale, it was on the market for $160 million.

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The $119.75-million closing weighs in as the priciest sale in California history, edging out a neoclassical-style mansion in the affluent Silicon Valley community of Woodside that sold for $117.5 million in 2013.

The national record still belongs to a New York penthouse towering over Central Park for which billionaire Ken Griffin paid $238 million in January.

UCLA real estate professor Paul Habibi said the Manor sale is a good sign for developers seeking massive sums for their estates because of the precedent it sets.

“If $120 million is the new benchmark, that makes it more plausible to sell a home for $75 million or $100 million,” he said.

Habibi emphasized caution, however, noting that while market conditions are ripe for such a transaction, buyers willing to drop nine figures on a house aren’t exactly dependent on the whims of the market.

“They’re not looking for affordability thresholds, and they’re not dependent on mortgage rates. Estates like these have an extremely limited, idiosyncratic buyer pool,” he said.

Regardless, the sale is a boon for a luxury residential market that has cooled significantly year over year.

As of June, there were about 230 recorded sales of $5 million or more this year, down from 273 deals during the same period last year.

Among deals closing for $10 million or more, the market has seen a drop of more than 25% year over year (approximately 62 in 2019 versus 86 in 2018). Sales of $20 million or more are down roughly 50% (approximately 14 in 2019 versus 29 in 2018).

As the weather heats up, however, so does the high-end market. Two transactions topped $40 million in May, including musician Adam Levine’s Beverly Hills mansion that sold to talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres and her wife, Portia de Rossi, for $42.5 million.

Last week, Uber co-founder Garrett Camp quietly dropped about $71 million on a newly built home in Trousdale Estates.

The Platinum Triangle — Bel-Air, Holmby Hills and Beverly Hills — is no stranger to massive sales. This year alone, the wealthy area has seen 11 property transactions of $20 million or more, records show.

“Holmby Hills is probably the most affluent submarket in L.A. County,” said Habibi, noting that its central location and large lots are a draw for the rich.

The mammoth deal once more raises the bar for what someone is willing to pay for a home in L.A. County — a bar that many others have been trying to raise themselves.

In nearby Bel-Air, handbag tycoon Bruce Makowsky has been taking his 38,000-square-foot spec house on and off the market for the last two years. Once listed at $250 million, it recently relisted for $150 million, but it has yet to entice a buyer.

A few miles east in Beverly Hills, Nile Niami’s hyper-luxury mansion, dubbed Opus, remains unsold as well. Originally listed for $100 million, the golden-gated estate received a $15-million price cut two years ago.

Their struggles exemplify the hoops developers jump through to make their estates stand out from the glut of ultra-luxury listings.

Makowsky’s home comes with a helicopter, Hobie Cat sailboat, two wine cellars stocked with Champagne and a $30-million fleet of exotic cars — including a Bugatti, Rolls-Royce and vintage Allard. He also sweetened the pot with a candy room stocked with cylinders of sweets.

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Others throw money into marketing. When listing a 157-acre piece of prized land above Beverly Hills for $1 billion last year, agent Aaron Kirman said he set aside up to $1 million for a marketing campaign that would allow him to jet around the globe to shop the property.

Society Group Chief Executive Alexander Ali, who handled the marketing for Kirman’s listing, has built a business around unusual campaigns, often hosting themed parties for mansions on the market. His last bash, titled Warhol’s Trousdale Disco, featured Andy Warhol’s first car, eight of his artworks, a tin foil elevator modeled after his famous Silver Factory art studio and catering from Burger King, which this year ran a 45-second Super Bowl ad featuring the late artist silently eating a Whopper.

The buyer of the Manor, who remains unknown, was represented by Jeff Hyland of Hilton & Hyland, a Beverly Hills real estate firm.

A trio of brokerages held the listing: Kurt Rappaport and Daniel Dill of Westside Estate Agency, Jade Mills of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage and David Parnes and James Harris of the Agency.

Ecclestone isn’t moving far. Public records show she picked up a newly built mansion a few miles west in Brentwood last week for $22.7 million.

It’s a bit smaller than her old place — eight bedrooms and 11.5 bathrooms in 13,500 square feet — but she’s in good company. Records show the estate sits across the street from the home of Lakers star LeBron James, who bought his stylish place for $23 million two years ago.

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