In Los Angeles, where the median household income is $56,000, a $500 million house is rising.
Nile Niami, a film producer and speculative residential developer, is pouring concrete in L.A.’s Bel Air neighborhood for a compound with a 74,000-square-foot (6,900-square-meter) main residence and three smaller homes, according to city records. The project, which will take at least 20 more months to complete, will exceed 100,000 square feet, including a 5,000-square-foot master bedroom, a 30-car garage and a “Monaco-style casino,” Niami said.
“The house will have almost every amenity available in the world,” he wrote in an e-mail. “The asking price will be $500 million.”
To give you some sense of perspective, this compound has almost twice the square footage of White House, and is 100 times the size of the Brooklyn apartment that you could never afford anyhow. Upon completion, it would be the biggest house built in America in the past century, and the price tag would be the most expensive of any home in the world. The price tag (which, along with the square footage, has risen rather steeply as the house has neared completion) is aspirational; there is no guarantee that someone will pay $500 million for it. It could end up going for as little as several hundred million dollars. Who knows?
The important thing to remember is that we live in an era when a wealthy developer feels comfortable investing the money up front to build a grotesque and obscene hilltop mansion on spec, secure in the knowledge that there is so much unused wealth sloshing around the world that some rich idiot will pay a grotesque and obscene amount of money for this monstrosity purely for the sake of decadence.
Tax the rich and don’t stop taxing them until the idea of such a real estate atrocity manifesting itself in reality strikes us all as impossible.