A Los Angeles mega-mansion, once known as ‘America’s most expensive home,’ was sold to Fashion Nova CEO Richard Saghian in a bankruptcy action on Thursday after a winning bid of $126 million – a fraction of the home’s original, record-setting $500 million value.
The Bel Air property – which took eight years to build and boasts 21 bedrooms, 42 bathrooms, five swimming pools, a 30-car garage, a bowling alley and more – set the record for costliest house sold in auction at $126 million, with an additional $15 million auction fee, on Thursday.
Saghian, whose fast-fashion company inked high-profile partnerships with celebrities and influencers such as rapper Cardi B, model Kylie Jenner and pop superstar Lil Nas X, fended off competition from four other bidders for the 105,000-square-foot house, which is known as ‘The One.’
‘The One Bel-Air is a once-in-a-lifetime property that can never be duplicated. There is nothing else like it, Saghian said in an email statement on Sunday.
‘As a lifelong Angeleno and avid collector of real estate, I recognized this as a rare opportunity that also lets me own a unique property that is destined to be a part of Los Angeles history,’ he added.
The Bel Air mansion known as ‘The One’ was sold to Saghian for just $126 million at a bankruptcy auction on Thursday, less than half of the $295 million asking price – which was already cut down from its original price tag of $500 million
Richard Saghian’s clothing brand, Fashion Nova, has found worldwide success in the fast-fashion industry due to a number of high-profile partnerships and collaborations with celebrities and prominent pop stars
Saghian, 40, started Fashion Nova in 2006 in the industrial southern L.A. suburb of Vernon and continues to serve as its CEO. His business now has five brick-and-mortar stores in LA after finding much of its early success online – mainly through its website and social media, where many Instagram influencers and high-profile artists can be seen posing with the brand’s apparel.
The privately-held retail company has 51-200 employees and has an estimated web sales range of $1 billion-to-$5 billion, according to ecommerce website Pipecandy.com. Fashionnova.com also attracts a monthly unique visitor traffic 10,443,151 visitors, the site reported.
Other than ‘The One,’ Saghian also owns two other homes in the city of Angels, including a beach house in Malibu that he bought from Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos in 2021 for $14.7 million. He retains another home in the Bird Streets area of Hollywood Hills that he purchased for $17.5 million back in 2018.
Saghian’s entourage were victims of an armed robbery in June after they were followed to the businessman’s Hollywood Hills home in a Rolls Royce.
The suspects demanded they surrender jewelry and other valuables – though Saghian, who had already gone inside, was not aware of the incident and was unharmed.
All the suspects were eventually arrested and one was killed by an armed guard.
The One cost Saghian almost six-to-seven times more than his other properties, but his winning bid was at a steep discount off the extravagant home’s original $295-million listing price.
‘It’s an incredible deal,’ Branden Williams told the Los Angeles Times. He listed the home with his associate and wife, Rayni Williams, as well as Aaron Kirman – a local Compass agent.
‘No one understands until they get up there. A house like this will never be built again. Whenever it sells again, it will be for even more,’ he added.
The 105,000-square-foot mega-mansion is still not entirely complete and needs to be granted permits by the city before being inhabited
The sale set the record for costliest house sold in auction at $126 million, with an additional $15 million auction fee
The mansion even possesses its own beauty salon, which boasts bright red walls and opaque shampoo stations
Other features of the home include a movie theatre, ‘philanthropy wing’ for charity galas, a nightclub, an outdoor running track, and a 4,000 square foot guest house
Circular seating within a grubby-looking moat offers panoramic views of the mountains and hills of Los Angeles
Insiders familiar with the court proceedings say it will have to sell for at least $200 million just to cover the costs
Estate agents suggested the conflict in Ukraine had deterred possible Russian billionaire buyers for the mega-mansion while others called it a warning of the instability of the mega-mansion market
An indoor bowling alley is yet another feature of the home, complete with digital scoreboards and lounge areas
The sprawling complex houses 21 bedrooms, a bowling alley, private theater, a night club, multiple pools, a jacuzzi, a salon, a gym and an underground garage with two vehicle turntables
A colorful glass sculpture stands erected outside the home, which took eight years to build
The home was built by Hollywood producer-turned-developer Nile Niami, 53 in 2012 with the help of 600 contracted workers
Working from home won’t be a problem at The One, where office space is plentiful
The ex-Hollywood exec reportedly was convinced he could secure an asking price of $500 million for the impressive estate
While most people would be happy with one pool, the Bel Air estate boasts several swimming pools
Williams & Williams Estates Group, along with Stuart Vetterick of Hilton & Hyland, were Saghian’s representatives in the bargain deal. They also represented him in the purchase of the Malibu home, too. Nondisclosure agreements refrained all parties from disclosing the buyer, and other bidders involved in the auction. In the days leading to the sale, multiple sources rumored that Saghian was the winner.
‘The One’ would not only extend the businessman’s portfolio of lavish homes in the area but it could also turn into a social-media marketing tool for online influencers modeling the brand, as the home could be used as a familiar setting to show off the company’s affordable and trendy designs.
Fashion Nova, which is currently promoting its new spring collection with items sold mostly under $30, has recently faced allegations of theft from its suppliers, forcing the company to re-evaluate its contracting practices.
In January, the brand agreed to pay $4.2 million to the U.S. government after coming under scrutiny for blocking negative reviews of its products on its website. It called the allegations ‘inaccurate and deceptive.’
The One, which is also a popular filming spot, is the chef-d’oeuvre of 53-year-old former film producer turned real estate developer Nile Niami. He initially listed the home for $500 million after its completion in 2020 but was forced to file it into bankruptcy after Crestlloyd, the home’s limited liability company, defaulted on $106 million in construction loans to L.A. billionaire Don Hankey.
Although some in the L.A. real estate bubble have labeled the residence as ‘garish’ and ‘flashy’, others have seen the home as a lifelong dream – with an endless list of amenities: a sky deck with cabanas, multiple pools, a private movie theater, a private bowling alley, a billiard room, a candy room, salon and spa and a private nightclub.
The house also boasts 21 bedrooms and 42 full bathrooms and is covered in marble and glass. It was designed by Orange County architect Paul McClean, who also worked on Saghian’s Hollywood Hills home in the past.
Prior to his winning bid for ‘The One’, Saghian also owned mansions in Malibu (pictured) and in Hollywood Hills
The Fashion Nova CEO dropped $14.7 Million on Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos’ Malibu retreat two years ago
The 3,800-square-foot home features a private courtyard with a pool. A separate structure in the pool area also hold a pool
The roughly 3,800-square-foot beach house features sets of glass doors that open to an ocean-facing deck
Saghian’s Malibu home also boasts a sky-opening roof for warm beach days on the Pacific coast
The property’s covered patio/teahouse also takes in the ocean on Carbon and La Costa beaches, some of the most coveted coasts in California
Concierge Auctions, which handled the sale, told the Los Angeles times that the online auction for the home was a bit of a bust. Saghian’s winning bid was set at $126 million, with the total cost to the buyer rising to $141 million with the 12 percent auction fee. And although the price set a new record for the most expensive house ever sold at an auction, it amounted to significantly less than half its $295-million listing price.
Before it was sold, three dozen prospective buyers toured the five-acre property in the last few months, including billionaires from across the U.S., Middle East and Asia.
However, when the auction opened on Monday, only five bidders from the U.S. and New Zealand made offers on the ‘white elephant’ super-home, with the winning buyer remaining unidentified until paperwork is submitted to a U.S. Bankruptcy Court next week.
Real estate agent Brent Change, of Compass, said the sale was cautionary tale of the mega-mansion market and said the Russian invasion of Ukraine last week might have deterred potential buyers.
‘The buyer pool for this is very small, and with everything happening in Russia, all of a sudden those Russian billionaires who may have been your best bet to buy it are pulling out,’ he told the LA Times.
Saghain’s $126 million didn’t even come close to the total amount of claimed debt tied to the property, which entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with roughly $180 million in secured and unsecured debt. That figure has risen to $256 million this year as more creditors have filed claims, according to a March 2 court filing.
Nile Niami, 53, a Hollywood producer-turned-developer, started construction the home in 2013, but the firm set up to build the superhome later went bankrupt
Hankey, a billionaire who serves as the CEO of the Hankey Group, said he wanted to recoup the millions he invested in Niami’s The One mansion development
L.A. Billionaire and little-known king of subprime car loans, Don Hankey told The L.A. Times that he expects the auction price to be enough for him to recover from the construction loans he pumped into the project, though he faces additional penalties and fees. Many of the property’s other creditors will also suffer losses.
Niami, the home’s developer, also claims that he is owed $44.4 million. Court files don’t offer details on the claim, but a person familiar with the bankruptcy said it arises from the loans the developer made to the project.
U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Deborah Saltzman will hold a hearing later this month on whether to approve the sale. In making her determination, the judge will consider whether she believes the winning bidder has the financial power to close the sale, its effect on creditors and other issues.
Lawrence Perkins, a Crestlloyd manager, evoked the possibility that Saghain may not end up owning the home and that it is ‘his responsibility’ to find ways for offers to keep rolling in for the bankrupt estate.
Under the auction agreement’s terms and conditions, Saghian is legally obliged to close the sale by March 21.
Saghian may also have to work on renovations for the home – as it is not entirely complete.
The house does not have a certificate of occupancy and needs permits for grading, electrical and other work. It also has construction defects and holds a couple of zoning regulations, according to allegations in court documents. Local homeowner associations have called the home a ‘brewing scandal’.
Who is Richard Saghian – Fashion Nova CEO?
Richard Saghian, 39, is the chief executive of privately-owned Fashion Nova, a fast-fashion company and a social media phenomenon that has achieved rapid growth through its work with influencers and its speed at delivering trend-led pieces.
Saghian was introduced to retail through his father, who owned women’s clothing stores where Saghian worked during his summers. He founded Fashion Nova in 2006 as a chain of stores selling low-price ‘clubwear’ and apparel in Los Angeles-area malls. He launched the e-commerce site in 2013 and Instagram was central to the online business from the start.
With 60,000 followers on his personal account prior to the launch of Fashion Nova, Saghian parlayed this audience into a loyal following for his then-emerging brand. Jumping on the social media-marketing wave early, Saghian was one of the first to recognize that social platforms would soon be integral to successful branding.
The company quickly became a cult hit, catering for all body types and ethnicities, including many who said they felt ignored by mall retailers that offer limited plus-size lines. Its signature tight, high waisted ‘bodycon’ style was credited with setting the Instagram-aesthetic look, characterized by affordable on-trend clothing endorsed by influencers and celebrities alike.
The brand counts over 15 million followers across its Instagram accounts and many users routinely tag their selfies with the hashtag #NovaBabes. The value of Fashion Nova’s social media exposure is more than that of H&M and Zara combined.
Around 2,000 influencers — including celebrities like Cardi B, Kylie Jenner, Khloe Kardashian and Nicki Minaj — create roughly 6,000 pieces of content about the brand each month, making it one of the most talked-about brands online despite being virtually unknown in high fashion circles. According to WWD, just a single post by Kylie Jenner returns millions of dollars in revenue for Fashion Nova.
Fashion Nova works with about 1,000 different manufacturers to release 600 to 900 new styles per week, a pace Saghian said he wants to increase. Many items are made in Los Angeles, though the company also works with vendors in China. It is also widely popular in Canada and the United Kingdom.
Richard Saghian, 39, and Meek Mill attend Fanatic Super Bowl Party on February 12, 2022 in Culver City, California. Saghain’s Fashion Nova brand works closely with up and coming models, influencers and artists to promote its apparel on social media
In 2016, the company banked on its sizeable popularity with plus-size consumers, launching the Fashion Nova Curve line. The brand also launched a menswear line in June 2018.
Social media tactics such as responding to tagged posts and comments have given Fashion Nova relatively high levels of engagement, which is the reason the brand is ranked as highly trustworthy among Gen. Z shoppers.
In 2018, Fashion Nova’s online metrics surpassed legacy brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Chanel. In the same year, the company turned profitable, growing by a staggering 600 percent.
Later that year, Fashion Nova came under social media fire for its celebrity knock-off styles, copying the likes of Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian and designs by indie labels. The brand also struck a deal with rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine in which he would name-drop the label in a song, however the lyrics were pulled following a dispute between Nicki Minaj and Cardi B, a brand ambassador.
In 2021 the company also faced allegations of wage theft by its suppliers, prompting it a few years ago to tighten up contracting practices. In January, it agreed to pay $4.2 million to settle government allegations that it blocked negative reviews of its products on its website but called the allegations ‘inaccurate and deceptive.’
Little is known about Saghian’s personal life and whether the businessman has a partner or kids. He is reportedly worth $50 million, according to MD Daily Record.