Today, some head shaking, stomach churning, nausea really, brought on by an immodest building project.
In the continuing supercilious competition among the bigger-is-better boys, a residential compound is rising in the high class hills of Bel Air that takes “Mac mansion” up a few immoderate notches to what can be labeled “macro-mansionization.”
Priced at 500 million dollars, it is being developed by real estate speculator Nile Niami, a fringe film producer. The project on a 4 acre site is not to be mistaken for gentrification, an up scaling of sorts of a community, but more like an act of a neighborhood-based “lebensraum.”
Foundations already have begun on the 74,000 square foot main residence, including a 5,000 sq. ft. master bedroom. Also indicated in the L.A. city approved plans are three adjacent structures, presumably for guests and household help, which would bring the architectural conceit to an excess of 100,000 sq. ft.
This would make it equivalent in size to, say, a 100-unit apartment house. For further comparison, in nearby Beverly Hills, the Spelling mansion, which drew much derision when built nearly 30 years ago, is 56,000 sq. ft.
The historic Hearst Castle on the central California coast is 68,500 square feet, and in Washington, the White House accommodating the president plus a large staff in its west wing, is a mere 55,000 square feet.
Architectural renderings indicate a boxy machine-like, two story modern design of light horizontal volumes accented by cantilevers, displaying extensive glass walls, and squatting in a moat, above what appears to be the garage, for an estimated 30 cars.
With four swimming pools, a lawn the size of a football field, are indicated in the plans, and landscaping one can only imagine for a Jurassic Park. The number of employee needed to maintain this extravaganza no doubt will be in the dozens and generate many daily trips. It is not known whether an E.I.R. was required .
The developer is quoted saying the project will feature “almost every amenity available in the world,” including a “Monaco-style casino.”
For this conceit, I’m painting it the color of shame.
I’m Sam Hall Kaplan, on KBU.FM