A giant Los Angeles parcel could become the priciest piece of real estate ever sold. And it doesn't even have a house on it.
"The Mountain" is a 157-acre property on a summit above Beverly Hills, the highest point in the 90210 zip code. The estate includes 360-degree views of Los Angeles County, including Catalina Island, on a clear day.
The plot comprises 17 parcels of land, with six zoned for homes. The lots are ready to build on with water, sewer and utility lines. It also includes a backup generator that can power 300,000 square feet during a power outage.
The land comes with permission to build 1.5 million square feet of living space, which Bloomberg calculated would cost an additional $4 billion.
"This is the only opportunity to own your own mountain that looks down at all of Los Angeles," Aaron Kirman, the broker representing the property, told CBNC. He described the likely buyer as "an individual who wants to build his or her own compound. Kirman told The New York Times there could be 50 to 100 people -- all billionaires -- in the market for such a property. He had reached out to five, the Times reported.
The sprawling estate was previously known as "The Vineyard" before being rebranded as "The Mountain." In the late 1970s, the sister of the Shah of Iran acquired the property, but after her brother was deposed in the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the lot lay undeveloped for nearly a decade. Media mogul Merv Griffin bought it in 1987 and started to build a compound before refocusing his efforts on the Beverly Hilton Hotel. In 1995, Griffin sold the land to Mark Hughes, the billionaire founder of Herbalife, for $8.5 million.
When Hughes died in 2000, the land was held in trust for his 8-year-old son and prompted a number of lawsuits and accusations of mismanagement, The New York Times reported. In the years since, celebrities including Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise have looked into buying the lot, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which published a lengthy piece in 2015 detailing the property's convoluted history.
The property has occasionally been rented for events, such as in 2014, when Rihanna headlined a charity fundraiser there. It's set to hit the market on Aug. 6.