LOS ANGELES — It begins on the famed Sunset Boulevard, the iconic vein that travels 22 miles across the Los Angeles basin.
Traveling toward the sea, along the hipster cafes of Silverlake, the gritty sidewalks of Hollywood and perfectly clipped lawns of Beverly Hills — it’s arguably the Southland’s very own “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” But turning north into the hills, and through the stately Bel Air East Gate, is a street that leads to the hilltop where one man’s dream is realized — to the tune of $250 million.
Welcome to 924 Bel Air Road — a massive modern spec house built from the ground up, without a buyer lined up. It’s created a buzz in the luxury real estate sector, smashing the record as the highest asking price ever listed for a home in the United States.
But to billionaire developer Bruce Makowsky — who built the home entirely with his own capital — it’s a passion project. “I started with nothing; I’ve worked my entire life. I was always taught by my parents, if you’re going to do something, don’t do it half way. Be all in.”
That go big, or go home attitude is the foundation for big ideas: A $30 million classic auto collection. A wine cellar that holds 2,500 bottles. A 40-seat movie theater. And that’s just the beginning. “What I wanted to do was create the most beautifully curated home with everything you could possibly want inside of it,” he said. “This is brand new, four levels, super modern and has every bell and whistle…it’s on billionaires’ bucket list.”
Go big or find another home
So what can a potential homeowner get for a quarter of a billion dollars?
Let’s start with the ground floor. It’s a sprawling, 11,000 square-foot entertainment escape, with an auto gallery of 12 rare, classic luxury cars as the centerpiece. “We’re looking at a brand new Pagani Huayra. They only made 100 of these, this is the only one in the world that is black and gold. It’s a beautiful, $2.5 million car,” Makowsky says.
“This is a 1936 540 k Mercedes, it was owned by a baroness. The value is almost $15 million, and it comes with the house. It’s absolutely spectacular.” There’s also a limited-edition Spyker, which was used in “Basic Instinct,” (a separate floor houses 10 motorcycles and “every day” cars to scoot around town in — a Rolls Royce, a Bentley and a Bugatti Veyron).
Need a little pick-me-up after a waltz through the auto oasis? Just steps away is an entire wall filled with candy — 26 polished, stainless steel consoles towering overhead, filled to the brim with just about every candy one can think of — including some throwbacks like Mary Janes, and of course — chocolate gold coins. It’s a signature piece for Makowsky. He built his fortune on a handbag and luggage empire, and by developing eight other multi-million dollar homes. The candy wall is always a big hit, no matter who walks in the door, he said.
The family gaming area is a wide-open space filled with custom-made foosball, ping pong and pool tables with all the trimmings. And a few steps away — a four-lane bowling lounge, fit for a party of 16.
“The house comes with all the shoes, from infants up to size 14. There are mega-TVs…and it’s day-lighted, you get a natural breeze off the ocean as you’re playing,” Makowsky said. On the walls overlooking the bowling area is one of 130 featured art installations — this one consists of bowling pins in 30 different finishes, ranging from silver to gold and gold rose.
“The home technology in this house is unrivaled,” Makowsky says, walking into the screening room. “It’s a 40-seat indoor Dolby Atmos theater, with the largest Stewart screen they’ve ever made. It’s 25 feet wide.” Not sure what you’re in the mood to see? There are 7,000 movies and movies loaded into seven Kaleidescapes to choose from.
The audio/visual technology is a constant theme throughout the house — complementing the highlights, which are around every corner. Just outside the theater sits a 22-seat bar, poised under what Makowsky believes is the largest TV to ever be put inside a home in the United States — standing at 28 feet long, by 7 feet tall.
Attention to detail
The second level houses the 85-foot infinity pool, where a $2 million hydraulic outdoor screen programmed to rise from the hillside provides outdoor thrills. And beyond? 270 degree views stretching from Downtown Los Angeles to the Pacific Ocean. “At night time, you feel like you’re at the Hollywood Bowl,” Makowsky says.
No stone is left unturned. The home comes with a seven-person staff for two years, including a masseuse, world-class chef, and a chauffeur. Roberto Cavalli settings adorn the dining room table. The crown jewel of the home, as Makowsky describes it, is a polished, stainless steel stair case — which weighs four tons and took two years to build.
And on the penthouse rooftop? What’s arguably the most striking ornament- a helipad with the original Airwolf Bell222 helicopter.
It’s clear from the attention to detail that the home is a labor of love. But at $250 million, who would buy it? “There are only about 3,000 people, I believe, in the entire world who can afford this home,” Makowsky said. “My last three homes were bought by billionaires. They’re not from Southern California, and they love it out here.”
Makowsky has been in this house for the last four years, 12 hours a day. The foundation for his dream was simple. “I wanted to make sure that when you come into this house, you have the feeling that you’re as close to heaven as you can be…so special that you just never want to leave.