“The One” Project Heads into Foreclosure!

Nile Niami, Hollywood film producer turned real estate spec developer who gained a name for himself in the real estate industry by building mega-mansions in Beverly Hills and other prestigious Los Angeles neighborhoods has seen his latest spec home development called “The One” begin the foreclosure process. The mammoth Bel-Air mansion is a staggering almost 100,000 square feet. Originally Niami had planned to sell the property for half a billion dollars, but it appears now that will be unlikely.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Hankey Capital had Niami served with a notice of default for not making the required payments on his loan. The notice of default is technically the start of the foreclosure process and Niami must pay back the loan within 90 days or risk losing the home in a public foreclosure auction sale. The original loan amount of $82.5 million has grown to over $110 million.

“We felt the owner of ‘The One’ was distracted from the job at hand, which is to bring the biggest and best house in the United States to market for sale, We hope our actions will kick off the official listing.”

Don Hankey, chairman of Hankey Investment Co. via Los Angeles Times:

To avoid foreclosure, assuming he cannot pay back the loan amount in full, Niami can renegotiate a new agreement with Hankey Capital for smaller payments however this is unlikely to occur.

The owners of a 157-acre lot in Beverly Hills nicknamed “Mountain” in a similar situation had outstanding loans on the property in the amount of $200 million. After the threat of foreclosure, the owners attempted to declare bankruptcy to delay the foreclosure sale from taking place on the land. However, this tactic ultimately failed and the land was sold at a Pomona courthouse foreclosure auction.

In Niami’s case, it is not the first time he’s received a notice of default on a property he owns. In 2020, Niami received two separate notices of default on other properties he paid for with loans. One was a Hollywood Hills property located at 1369 Londonderry Place with $10 million loan. The other was a Bel-Air mansion with $23.4 million of loan which he has stated he plans to list this property for $59 million.

In 2019, Niami borrowed $200,000 from Compass via their loan plan to renovations to list program on a different Bel-Air property. When he failed to sell the property, Compass filed a lawsuit against him to seek the loan repayment.

During an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Niami stated that he had to halt construction on several properties in the past because he didn’t have enough financing secured to pay for them. In some instances, he would sell properties to raise enough cash to fund the construction of other extravagant properties.

Unfortunately, Niami has not closed many profitable sales recently. In 2020, he sold an extravagant Beverly Hills mansion called “Opus” for $38.3 million with an original listing price on the home of $100 million. In an interesting turn, the buyer was one of the original lenders who helped finance the home’s construction. The buyer, Joseph Englanoff, then turned around and resold it for $47 million within the same year. All he had to do was rebrand the home to reach a higher sales price.

In 2019, there was another case where Niami attempted to sell a home in West Hollywood for $55 million. The property had rare luxurious features such as a cryogenic chamber and glass-bottomed pool. However, Niami was unable to find a buyer for it and the property went into foreclosure.

Niami’s main gimmick is adding over-the-top luxurious amenities to his homes, with the hope that buyers would flock to buy them. He even went so far as to put animal skeletons and champagne vaults into some of his homes.

His recent Bel-Air estate is the definition of over-the-top. It is a 100,000-square-foot mansion on 8 acres of land. The interior of the home has every wild amenity you could imagine for a home of this price including a juice bar, 4-lane bowling alley, nightclub, golfing simulator, yoga platform, swimming pools, and a 50-seat private movie theatre.

In 2017, Niami wanted to list the Bel-Air home for $500 million, however the listing never made it to the marketplace. Meanwhile, he has had to deal with the $1 million+ annual property tax bill for it. That is undoubtedly an expensive tax bill, but it is also a costly house. From the beginning of its construction, his whole goal was to build the urban world’s most expensive home. Little did he realize that he’d be stuck paying for it almost seven years after construction began.

Niami is currently accepting applications from qualified buyers interested in purchasing “The One” in Bel-Air. He’s hoping to find a buyer soon because the taxes, outstanding loans, and city violation fines are adding up quickly.

The property is currently listed off market and repped by Aaron Kirman of the Aaron Kirman Group at Compass as well as Branden Williams and Rayni Williams of Williams & Williams Estate Groups.