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Behold the Bel Air (Los Angeles) real estate venture called The One. (There is no other One… it’s the only One). This exercise in wretched excess on steroids (with sugar on top) is a house, in case you couldn’t figure that out. It’s 105,000 square feet clad in white marble, has five pools, a large nightclub, 40-seat home theater, bowling alley, tennis court, running track, putting green, a 30-car garage, and a moat!  All on three little acres. Views of distant downtown LA. One could easily imagine Christopher Walken ranging through the austere chambers with a Glock “Nine,” firing potshots at the art.

The developer, a sometime film producer named Nile Niami, lost control of the project when he missed a payment to an outfit called Westlake Finance, known to be an aggressive lender with a bent for hair-trigger foreclosures.  Niami’s company, Crestlloyd LLC, went bankrupt and The One veered into receivership. Originally priced at $500-million, to make it the most expensive private home in America, it goes on the market this month priced at $295-million. The outstanding debt on the place is $165-million. If no one snaps it up, it goes to auction.

Note of interest: when the project got into trouble, Mr. Niami rented The One out as an “event space.” The nightclub was used to put on shows featuring holograms of Whiney Houston and Michael Jackson performing their hits. Holograms are lovely people. They don’t fight over their pay or make outlandish demands for exotic snacks in the Green Room.

If you happen to be in LA this month, go visit the place on its cut-de-sac, Airole Way off Stradella Road (map below).
Thanks to Joey King for the nomination.

 


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About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency and the four-book series of World Made By Hand novels, set in a post economic crash American future. His most recent book is Living in the Long Emergency; Global Crisis, the Failure of the Futurists, and the Early Adapters Who Are Showing Us the Way Forward. Jim lives on a homestead in Washington County, New. York, where he tends his garden and communes with his chickens.

7 Responses to “January 2022” Subscribe

  1. tucsonspur January 4, 2022 at 3:10 am #

    Some might say it’s ostentasteless like Trump. No, fuggedaboutit, nowadays he couldn’t even afford the upkeep. Besides, there’re more than miles of distance between LA and NYC.

    It’s ‘The One’, but it probably won’t be the only one of its type. They say that if you’ve got it flaunt it, but these days it seems that you can flaunt it even if you haven’t got ‘it’, it meaning the actual money. Mettle and moxie though can often lead to massive amounts of munificence.

    Niami wants to create the ‘ONE Coin’, crypto stuff backed by the house. Supposedly the value of the home will be ‘tokenized’ and sold in something like a realm of digital real estate.

    All in all, it’s really quite striking for a house and would splendidly accommodate even a large family, but of course the design seems to have more in mind than traditional family values, what with all those Playboy covers and such, so something like orgies and gangbangs comes to mind considering LA’s often libidinous, lewd and lascivious reputation.

    Success and excess often go hand in hand. Is Nile just a pimp of profligacy, just an odious ogre of oneiric overindulgence? See him and the ‘Wings of Angels’ here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_H2xmRseiDw&t=316s

    • MaryQueen January 4, 2022 at 11:28 am #

      That YouTube does come off as a parody, as many of the commenters point out. In the 1970s it sure would have been.

      But the 2020s with its obscene excess of the recent covid19 billionaires shows now this is perfectly normal.

      What a horrid place, it’s like a sterile hotel.

  2. gusgus2022 January 4, 2022 at 11:38 am #

    I will never understand why for what you pay to build a personal shopping center you could live by the beach in LA ….plus Belair etc isn’t that nice considering what’s houses cost
    After 25 years living there I hate that place it’s the worst of suburbia ,miles and miles of 50s tracts and unbearable depressing traffic .
    The DWP has a photo archive ,and looking from 1890 to the 40s the Automobile really does look like a plague .

  3. tom clark January 4, 2022 at 8:42 pm #

    A million here, a million there, pretty soon you’re talkin’ real money!

  4. SvrzoH January 5, 2022 at 12:09 pm #

    Just a three decades ago, ability of some (read “an ordinary guy who made it big”) to build such a monstrosity was viewed as what makes this country great.
    Nauseating roller deck of by default rooms what a new construction demands in this area. No mentioned, but I am certain that list includes “panic room” too.

  5. anmariwakaranai January 8, 2022 at 1:59 am #

    I can see Christopher Walken as ‘the Continental’ getting lost looking for Annette Funechello, (sp?, rip), in a spoof light porn, every sprawling room filled with wacky woke Hollyweirds looking to con their next vic.

    The Continental…

    https://youtu.be/0vuOnVNiYtg

  6. Ishabaka January 17, 2022 at 9:26 am #

    Unlike the other buildings featured, this isn’t hideous. Seems to be more resentment of the rich than architectural criticism.

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