Beverly Hills mansion built on speculation is listed at $85 million


Newly listed in Beverly Hills: A move-in-ready home with a Dom Perignon-stocked 2,500-bottle wine room, an 18-seat tiered theater with a 14-foot screen and a $200,000 candy bar.

Price: $85 million.

The mega-mansion is the latest offering from handbag tycoon Bruce Makowsky, who appears bent on reinventing the ultra-high-end market for contemporary homes in the well-heeled Platinum Triangle, the area encompassing Beverly Hills, Bel-Air and Holmby Hills.

Set on roughly an acre in the Trousdale Estates neighborhood, where a $36-million home might be purchased as a tear-down, the nearly 23,000-square-foot residence was built and furnished without a buyer. Although building the mansion on speculation was immensely risky, Makowsky’s timing seems perfect, housing experts say.


Ready-to-go homes are in demand among today’s global and mobile billionaires, who don’t want to spend several years building dream homes, real estate agents say. Home sales in the upper price strata are at all-time highs statewide, according to second-quarter statistics from real estate information service DataQuick. And Los Angeles’ home sale price record was broken this year when the Fleur de Lys estate sold for $88.3 million, or $102 million if one counts the furnishings and artwork.

“The air is very thin at the ultra-luxury end of the market,” said housing analyst Paul Habibi, a real estate lecturer at UCLA. “However, there are currently a few different factors providing strong tail winds to this segment.”

The resurgence of the stock market is lining the pockets of the wealthy, he said, who as a group are richer than they have ever been before. And affluent international home buyers continue to push prices skyward.

In response, “developers just keep outdoing themselves,” Habibi said. “It’s a full-service home concept and a place to showcase high-end furniture and equipment.”

Ben Bacal of Rodeo Realty and Branden Williams and Rayni Romito of Hilton & Hyland/Christie’s International Real Estate started showing the Makowsky mansion to potential buyers weeks before it officially came on the market.

The cavernous home, tucked behind a sleek gate and a water-cascading wall, exudes a testosterone-fueled Hollywood vibe with James Bond, James Dean and Muhammad Ali motifs throughout the house, including a $200,000 sculpture of a giant blue hand grenade and a replica of Dean’s motorcycle.


The main living area has an automated 54-foot custom-made curved glass door that electronically opens to panoramic views, stretching from downtown Los Angeles to the ocean, and an infinity-edge pool that juts out onto a knoll.

This is a price range at which dropping names matter, and high-end brand names are everywhere: Fendi, Bentley and Louis Vuitton furnishings, Miele and Gaggenau appliances, Julien sinks, KWC faucets, Ralph Lauren lighting, Crestron control systems, Lutron electronics. The lids on the Toto Neorest toilets raise when someone enters a bathroom. There’s Via International audio and video.

A stocked, 12-seat vodka bar occupies one wall of the main living room. An eat-in kitchen with seating for 12 sits off the other side of the room beyond the breakfast room.

An 18-foot back-lighted honey onyx table that seats 24 stretches down the center of the dining room. Above the table hangs a custom-made chandelier from Venice, Italy, that consists of 156 hand-blown glass pendants. The Roberto Cavalli place settings cost $3,700 each.

There are eight bedrooms and 15 bathrooms.

Not all the over-the-top accouterments are on the main floor.

Off the stairwell on the lower level is a candy wall that could be the envy of socialite Candy Spelling, known for her own candy collection when she lived in Holmby Hills. With its long row of 25 bins, storage chutes and contents, the candy wall cost $200,000 to create.

The black-tile and mirrored garage has a lift that whisks collectible cars (not included in the purchase price) down to the lower lounge level where they create a museum-like display behind glass on one side of the room. A life-size turntable spins the automobiles into viewing position.

A 007-themed tequila bar looks onto three 90-inch high-definition televisions that bring in the views from the roof of the house as a sort of faux window. A chromed 50-caliber Ma Deuce machine gun sits on display.

This is Makowsky’s sixth house project since moving several years ago to L.A. from New York, where he and wife Kathy Van Zeeland made their fortune in the fashion industry.

But the $85-million custom home is unlikely to be his crowning achievement as a developer. Makowsky has three larger projects underway.