It is one of the great what-might-bes of Los Angeles real estate. A 157-acre mountaintop property once envisioned as a mansion-in-the-sky for the Shah of Iran’s family remains unbuilt and unbought.
After an earth-moving project three decades ago created 15 acres of flat land, a procession of global billionaires, Hollywood royalty and actual royalty have made the half-mile drive uphill to take in the panoramic ocean and city views.
Nothing has come of those efforts. The reasons why vary, but one thing seems clear: the current owners of 1652 Tower Grove Drive in Beverly Hills Post Office keep shooting for the moon — and shooting themselves in the foot.
Thorny legal battles set off by the sudden death of an owner, broken deals, exorbitant price tags — not to mention the sheer patience that would be required to build anything there — have kept the property, currently dubbed “The Mountain of Beverly Hills,” from joining the ranks of the swankiest addresses in L.A.
For years, the owners have sought to create a mythology around the property, touting that it was “nearly twice the size of Disneyland.” In reality, however, the Mountain’s nearly 25 acres of usable land today is closer to the size of 19 football fields.
The owners also stressed, court records show, that the property was worth “not less than $500 million.” But that didn’t stop Aaron Kirman, a star agent at Pacific Union (now Compass), from listing the property for $1 billion three months ago. That sticker price set a new record for an L.A. listing but drew snickers from Kirman’s competitors, who see it as a PR stunt.
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The odyssey of the Mountain: Inside the struggle to sell 157 acres atop Beverly Hills