‘The One’ mansion saga: from a $500M listing to its $141M auction sale

Around 2015, Nile Niami, a former American movie producer and real estate developer, was convinced that his new project would make him a worthy spot in the history books.

He was only beginning to construct a massive residential estate comparable in grandeur to the magnificent mansions of the Gilded Age.

It was also boasting that it would be one of the largest homes ever built in Los Angeles, with a price tag of $500 million.

the one mansion in bel air, seen from above with the city of los angeles in the background
Aerial view of The One mansion in Bel Air, Los Angeles. Photo credit: Marc Angeles, Joe Bryant and Douglas Friedman

However, you are aware of the popular saying that some things simply sound too good to be genuine.

What is the reason behind all the commotion about this particular house? The property, known as ‘The One’, is set to be sold at an auction in 2022 for a staggering initial price of nearly $500 million. Ever since news broke about the dramatic sale, our newsfeeds have been filled with updates on the ongoing saga surrounding this mansion.

Firstly, this mansion is located at Air Bel Way Airole 944 in Air Bel, Los Angeles. It sprawls across a hilltop, overlooking the city, and is an impressive residence with a sheer size of 105,000 square feet.

In the upcoming years, the City Council of Los Angeles passed an anti-mansionization ordinance that regulates the scale of new construction in single-family neighborhoods.

This suggests that the mansion, together with the infamous $40 million property featured on Netflix’s Selling Sunset, could never be built in the current era.

According to reports, the residents of this hilly neighborhood faced two difficult and packed years while excavating the hilltop plot on which this magnificent house was constructed, a process that lasted for two years.

A never-ending catalog of astonishing facilities

Then there is the never-ending array of luxurious facilities that accompany this residence.

entrance to The One mansion, with a sculpture and intricate chandelier
Inside The One mansion in Bel Air, Los Angeles. Photo credit: Marc Angeles, Joe Bryant and Douglas Friedman

Nile Niami went to extraordinary measures in the construction of this residence, integrating every possible opulent feature you can envision into the blend.

You have 21 bedrooms, 7 half-bathrooms, and 42 bathrooms in your three-bedroom guest house. It also includes 6 elevators, a cigar room, a library, five swimming pools, a nightclub, multiple kitchens, a four-lane bowling alley, a gym, an aquarium with a salon, a 50-seat theater, a track running underground, and a 50-car garage with a moat.

No kidding, this is all a part of just one residence – that’s why it’s known as ‘The One.’

luxury living room with glass windows inside The One Los Angeles
Inside The One mansion in Bel Air, Los Angeles. Photo credit: Marc Angeles, Joe Bryant and Douglas Friedman

This enormous estate was designed by the acclaimed architect Paul McClean, who has worked on luxury developments for celebrities such as Beyonce and Jay-Z.

To put it mildly, it also experienced numerous highs and lows. The assistance of 600 construction workers was necessary and the entire undertaking purportedly took nearly a decade to finish.

indoor pool inside The One Los Angeles
Inside The One mansion in Bel Air, Los Angeles. Photo credit: Marc Angeles, Joe Bryant and Douglas Friedman

When dreams transform into horrifying experiences

Experts in real estate were initially skeptical about this house from the very beginning, as it had a price tag of $500 million, which was simply unheard of in this world. Not only that, but the property also boasted jaw-dropping amenities that were unmatched by any other.

However, Nile Niami was determined to not abandon his dream — until circumstances compelled him to do so.

As per Mansion Global, Niami acquired the plot in 2012 for $28 million. He enlisted Paul McClean in 2015 to create the colossal residence and began promoting the project as unparalleled and exclusive, titled ‘The One’ and singular. However, Niami was not the sole speculative developer active in the industry, and his ventures were beginning to stagnate.

ALSO REFERENCED: What Are Spec Homes? A Recent Background & the Largest, Most Daring Spec Mansions to Be Brought to Life.

Unfortunately, there were multiple issues with the multiplication. In the year 2018, Hankey Don, a real estate investor, acquired a loan of $82.5 million from Air Bel ‘The Keep’ project mansion. He had already accumulated debts amounting to hundreds of millions, and he still had five of his speculative homes up for sale.

The structure had cracks and issues with water damage due to the prolonged development process. Furthermore, it lacked a certificate of occupancy as a result. Allegedly, it exceeded the permitted size, posing challenges in marketing the home.

The idea was simple: Nile Niami would build and sell The One, the biggest and most extravagant new home in the country. Then things went sideways. @ldarmiento reports: https://t.co/elBUZ6yIfb

Eventually, in March 2022, the house was ultimately placed into bankruptcy and scheduled for an online multiday auction. However, Niami was not ready to give up the property. In 2021, Don Hankey filed to foreclose on One The.

Who purchased the mansion known as ‘The One’?

However, Richard Saghian, the proprietor of the clothing label Fashion Nova, had some doubts and reservations when he previously toured the lavish residence known as ‘The One’ located at 944 Airole Way. Nevertheless, a potential buyer eventually materialized.

He was able to acquire the one-of-a-kind property at a substantial markdown through the auction. His bid of $126 million emerged as the winning offer, which was significantly lower than Niami’s desired price of $374 million and well beneath the auction’s asking price of $295 million.

Richard Saghian’s $126 million bid translated into a final selling price of $141 million, once all fees and commissions were accounted for.

As per Fortune Magazine, Saghian purchased a Malibu residence worth $14.7 million from the CEO of Netflix. He possesses additional properties in Southern California and is familiar with the Los Angeles real estate market.

Luckily, he managed to secure the funds and saw a unique opportunity to own an unmatched property in the heart of Air. One of the new owners is reportedly an avid real estate collector and a big fan of Paul McClean, the designer.

According to the LA Times, The One mansion has the potential to serve as a remarkable marketing asset for displaying the brand’s designs. Fashion Nova, his fast fashion company, reportedly boasts yearly sales surpassing $1 billion.

The transaction of The One Bel Air remained one of the most expensive ever documented in Los Angeles, despite the absence of the groundbreaking sale price of $500 million that Nile Niami had envisioned. Nevertheless, it failed to fully offset the property’s remaining financial obligations or the capital invested by Niami in the undertaking.

Sometimes, discovering The One doesn’t result in a joyful conclusion. According to a representative from Niami, the real estate developer ultimately suffered a loss of ‘$44 million on the venture, in addition to sacrificing a decade of my life.’