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Los Angeles mega mansion fire sale

14:30 AEST Wed Apr 18 2012
MSN NZ Money staff
The main entrace to the extravagant mansion in Los Angeles
The main entrace to the extravagant mansion in Los Angeles

An empty Los Angeles mansion so extravagant it failed to find a buyer after the 2008 US housing crash is going back on the market for a fraction of its original price.

With 17 bathrooms, a 17-car garage, marbled floors, gold leaf ceilings, a vineyard, horse stables, tennis court and a lake, the gaudy residence is one of California's most sought-after mansions — despite having never been sold, Reuters reports.

PHOTOS: An inside look at the extravagant LA mansion

Instead Villa del Lago, perched on a 12.5 acre, $3.42 million (NZ$4.16 million) swathe of prime Newport coast land, has remained an empty monument to pre-GFC extravagance.

Although once valued at $87 million (NZ$105 million), real estate pundits are not expecting the auction to fetch anything like the original asking price set at the peak of the US property bubble.

Some observers are even suggesting it could sell at just a quarter of that price when it goes up for auction on April 26.

Conceived in 2003, the Tuscan-style villa was the result of a partnership between billionaire property developer John McMonigle and La Jolla Bank.

Work began in 2004, but in 2010 La Jolla Bank went under and in April 2011 McMonigle filed for bankruptcy, leaving the property 90 percent complete.

Its current owner OneWest Bank — which acquired La Jolla — is hoping to recoup money lost when the property market went belly up.

The agent in charge of selling the property, Rob Giem, told Reuters an open house inspection was attended by 700 people with dozens of potential buyers registering their interest.

But Newport real estate agent Michael Gosselin said what it will sell for in the recovering US real estate market is anybody's guess.

"The house is spectacular. It's unique," Gosselin told Reuters.

"For the right buyer, it would be fantastic. I just don't know how many buyers like this are out there any more. I'll be curious to see what it sells for."

User comments
Will such vulgarity be sought in the new world we live in now, have we not learnt the lesson of excess that this home eptimises. Surely anyone considering a bid would have to wonder if the bad luck of the owners of this beautiful home may also befall them as it appears not to be able to be owned. Fire sale i think not just banks recouping their loss just on a bigger scale here. Good luck Rob with the sale Im sure your commission wont be discounted to the Bank