At a price of US$195-million ($220-million CAD), only the richest need apply to buy the most expensive house ever to go on sale in America.
The Beverly Hills estate, nicknamed Palazzo di Amore – or palace of love – comprises a main house that is more than 35,000 sq. ft. – so large that an elevator was installed to save time climbing the vast number of staircases. The dining room table is big enough to host up to 250 guests at a time.
At 25 acres, the grounds will also take a bit of upkeep.
Visitors must approach down a quarter-mile drive, but can park wherever they like: the garage can accommodate 27 cars and there is on-site parking for up to 150. A floating-style glass walkway over pools lined by 70-year-old olive trees leads to the complex, which has limestone floors with marble and maple inlay and hand-painted ceilings.
Neighbours include Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, and the director Ridley Scott. Hugh Hefner and his Playboy mansion are just a mile away.
Until this weekend, the California property, which is located two miles from the Beverly Hills Hotel, had been rented out for US$475,000 a month.
Now the estate is being sold by the property billionaire Jeff Greene, who paid $35-million for it in 2007 and spent the past eight years and $25-million developing it.
The 59-year-old – a friend of the former world boxing champion Mike Tyson – refers to the Mediterranean-style home as “a palace for the modern era.” Mr. Greene, who married his wife Mei Sze there in 2007 with Tyson as the best man, said he had always intended to sell it, but construction was not completed until last month.
“True to its name, Palazzo di Amore, this estate has been a labour of love for me,” Mr. Greene said. “In creating a palace for the modern era, I have set the highest standards of craftsmanship and artistry in every detail.”
But the businessman, whose net worth is estimated at US$3-billion, may still end up disappointed: Jonathan Miller, an appraiser with Miller Samuel, was not convinced that it would sell for the asking price: “What’s unusual is the estate size,” he said. “Still, $195-million is a huge number.”
A similarly sized mansion in nearby Holmby Hills sold for US$102-million in March — US$23-million under the asking price after years on the market. If the Beverly Hills home does reach its listing price, it will overtake an 18-acre estate in the Hamptons, belonging to the late Wall Street investor Christopher H. Browne which was sold to an unnamed buyer earlier this year for US$145-million.