Hacienda de la Paz is one of the most intriguing mansions in the Los Angeles area. The intrigue probably is because the home looks like the normal wealthy mansion on the outside, but when they hear it is over 50,000 sq ft., they start to wonder because it just doesn’t look that big. But the fact is 31,000 sq ft of the mansion is actually underground. But there is a pragmatic reason for its subterranean sprawl: local politics. The estate is located in one of the wealthiest suburbs of L.A., a gated hilltop suburb called Rolling Hills, where zoning restrictions prohibit homes taller than one story, so as not to block pristine ocean views. To comply, the owner John Z. Blazevich, spent 17 years excavating downward to create his dream estate, which includes nine bedrooms, 25 bathrooms, a guesthouse, two tennis courts, and two pools. There are actually no living quarters underground whatsoever. Only the extra amenities are subterranean. Blazevich hired architect Raphael Manzano Martos, who restored a number of Spain’s grand palaces and served as curator to Spain’s King Juan Carlos. There’s also a 10,000-square-foot underground hammam, or spa, and a 15,000-square-foot indoor tennis court that doubles as a ballroom. Thousands of international craftsmen were employed to make the dream a reality, including one painter who lived and worked on-site for over a decade. Three hundred actual Moroccan people worked on the intricately carved sandstone ceiling, archways, and capitals in the hammam. Artisans from Spain created the wooden interlocking ceilings, masons from Portugal worked on the limestone bricks in the driveways, and Spanish and Indian silk and wool experts wove the custom carpets. Crazy as it may sound, once the home was complete to his satisfaction, Blazevich put the 8-acre estate on the market. He originally listed it for $53 million, then the asking price was dropped to $48 million, then $40 million. After not selling the huge home after many years in June of 2018 it was rumored to be in a ‘sale pending’ state, as announced through global luxury firm Concierge Auctions. That sale however, never closed. I would say at that point Blazevich had tired of the sale and announced the home was to sell at auction, without reserve, via Concierge Auctions. Owner Blazevich is a seafood magnate. In 1984, Blazevich founded Contessa Premium Foods in San Pedro, Los Angeles, CA so Hacienda de la Paz was well equipped for food prep with four kitchens and two kitchenettes; several outdoor food prep spaces, one with a pizza oven; facilities for pressing oil from olives harvested on the property; and more than 100 fruit trees, including lemons, oranges, avocados, figs, and, of course, olives. There’s also a large vegetable garden area, and herbs are planted around the estate, even between the steppingstones, giving the owner plenty of recipe ammo. There’s a chapel with hand-painted murals and a confessional all the way to surprisingly sustainable energy sources. Heating and cooling systems run on geothermal power, which also heats the hammam pool. Blazevich says he has reduced his energy bill and carbon dioxide emissions by 65%, compared with a conventional HVAC system. And because designers used the same classical techniques employed in Andalusia’s great estates—sturdy adobe walls and carved wooden screens covering most of the windows—the air-conditioning system is hardly ever used. The home and amenities already have A-list fundraising facilities built right in. Millions of dollars have been raised at charity events held in the subterranean marble ballroom (which is also a tennis court) built into the side of the hill, which has vehicle access for deliveries and exotic autos to be displayed. The 10,000-square-foot hammam with whirlpools, massage rooms, and tearooms with silk-lined walls is perfect for “ladies’ day” fundraisers. The rest of the grounds can accommodate hundreds of people at a time. So with all these custom, luxurious features, Realtor.com’s contributor Lisa Johnson Mandell asked why the heck would the owners want to part with it? “It’s a little big for just the two of us, don’t you think?” Blazevich asks, explaining that now that his son has left the nest and the artisans have completed their work and gone home, the facilities don’t get used as much as they deserve. Blazevich and his wife are ready to move on and spend more time with family in Croatia. Thank you to Realtor.com and Lisa Johnson Mandell for the report to help write this story. Lisa is an award-winning writer who covers lifestyle, entertainment, real estate, design, and travel. Find her on AtHomeInHollywood.com.
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