At an Estimated $85 Million, This Condo Might Put WeHo on the Top of America’s ‘Most Expensive Condos’ List

Rendering of the 8899 Beverly Blvd. building by Olson Kundig architects (Rendering by Binyan Studios)

As evidence of its financial stability, the City of West Hollywood has boasted that it has $100 million in reserves. However, that money in the bank is only a little more than what it might cost to buy a condo at 8899 Beverly Blvd. The unit’s rumored $85 million price would put WeHo in competition with New York City for ranking first in a listing of the “Most Expensive Condos in America.

A story in the Hollywood Reporter (First Look at Massive L.A. Penthouse Poised to Shatter Condo Sales Records) says that when it opens next year the 8899 Beverly building “will offer two penthouses expected to shatter sales records.”

“On the unfinished building’s top floor, a private elevator will open onto a sprawling open floor plan with 14-foot ceilings and, most notably, the 550 feet of specialized retractable glass for a wraparound deck with 180-degree views of the Hollywood Hills. While the plan is to split the floor into two massive units, the developers — Townscape Partners — have fielded inquiries about combining them into one 20,000-square-foot unit, which would be one of the largest single-floor penthouses in the world.”

The Reporter reports that Townscape won’t discuss pricing, but that real estate experts that it has consulted have estimated the 20,000 square foot condo could go for $85 million.

The 8899 Beverly project will feature 40 condos and eight townhouses along Rosewood Avenue to the rear. The condo, except for the one on the top floor, will average 2,800 square feet.

News about the possible price of that condo is likely to upset residents who have complained about skyrocketing real estate prices and rents. That is an issue across all of California, a state whose residents have pushed back hard against new development. However, the 8899 Beverly project has been controversial since 2012 when Townscape, backed by Angelo Gordon & Co., bought the building for $39 million and announced plans to convert it from office and retail use to a condo building.

Townscape’s plans required nearly doubling the size of the 10-story building, which was constructed in 1962, 22 years before West Hollywood was incorporated as a city. The building already didn’t comply with the city’s General Plan, which was adopted in 2011, or the zoning for the area, which limits commercial buildings in the area to three stories and a smaller mass on the 1.7-acre lot. However, it was “grandfathered in” because it had been in existence before the city was incorporated.

Townscape was successful in getting the City Council to grant it an exception to zoning requirements for the property and allow it to double the size of the building. In exchange it offered almost $3.5 million in “public benefits,” which included the construction of a small park on Bonner Drive near the intersection of Robertson and Beverly boulevards, contributing $2 million to the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund, and improving landscaping along Beverly Boulevard and Rosewood Avenue.

A rendering of the view from the penthouse of the 8899 Beverly Blvd. building by Olson Kundig architects (Rendering by Binyan Studios)

Townscape also agreed to include 15 apartment units for low- and moderate-income people in the project. Its initial plan was to isolate those units in a separate building that overlooked a swimming pool that only the condo owners could use. It backed away from that plan when it was condemned as an example of the “poor door” model that developers of upscale properties used to segregate inhabitants of required low-income units from their wealthy neighbors. When the 8899 Beverly building opens next year, the affluent tenants and those of moderate and low incomes will be able to use the same elevator and have access to the same swimming pool.

The City Council gave the project its approval in August 2015 in a 3-to-2 vote. Councilmembers John D’Amico (now serving as mayor) and Lauren Meister opposed the project. Councilmembers John Duran, John Heilman, and Lindsey Horvath voted for it.

Meister said that the cash Townscape proposed to pay the city for approval of the special zoning change “is sending the wrong message: ‘You can buy a specific plan’.” D’Amico agreed. “… We know that these people invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in the makeup of this Council,” he said. Townscape and its managing partners, Tyler Siegel and John Irwin,had been among the largest contributors in City Council elections at the time, giving money not only to individual candidates but to independent campaign expenditure committees that supported John Heilman and to an unsuccessful campaign to fight a limit on City Council members terms.

WEHOville reported that in 2013 Townscape gave $2,500 to an independent expenditure committee formed to fight the City Council term limits movement. Except for small contributions from the Sunset Tower hotel and then-Councilmember Abbe Land, that committee got all of its $14,000 in funding from outside developers and the lobbyists and lawyers who represent them.Siegel, Irwin and family members also had donated $8,000 to Councilmember John Duran for his previous City Council race and for his unsuccessful race in 2014 for the 3rd District Seat on the L.A. County Board of Supervisors. Siegel also gave the maximum individual donation of $500 to Jeffrey Prang’s Council campaign, as did Irwin. Jeff Haber, an attorney with Paul Hastings, which represented the partnership of Townscape and Angelo Gordon, made the maximum individual donation of $500 to each of the Council incumbents in two elections and $500 to Mayor John D’Amico in the 2011 election.

  1. It’s like that Bravo show Million Dollar Listing. The prices are so exaggerated by 10s of millions on that show.

    This condo for 100 million.

    It’s not even in Beverly Hills.

    Didn’t Candy Spelling pay 25 million FOR TOP TWO FLOORS of fancy Century City Condo. With views and amenities galore.

  2. The real issue here is how the City negotiates “development agreements”; invariably the City underestimates the value of the concessions to the developer and the residents get the short end of the stick. We need to bring in reputable forensic accountants and put formal guidelines for development agreements. The whole process is so wide open that it leaves the process open to abuse and appearances of corruption. We need to tie the public benefit to the value of what is being given away; this is just common sense. If we would have received 10% of the value of this uber-luxury condo we would have $8.5 million that could have been applied to affordable housing on top of the units we were entitled to under our Code. That $8.5 million could have financed 16 to 18 additional affordable units. It is time to start asking hard questions about this entire process. Just as in the Arts Club project, the residents are getting chump change in return for multi-million dollar concessions from the City.

  3. Who cares…if they want to waste their money in a smoke and mirrors small City in the county of Los Angeles…then why not…it should have stayed a gay village…that is where its’ history is and will always be. We as Americans tend not to treasure historical roots of any kind.

  4. $85 million, when that money could go a long way to house everyone in LA. Give the Rich a choice: be taxed, or be imprisoned after a Populist revolution. Their choice.

    1. It’s not illegal to be rich. Tax is theft, especially extreme tax where you have no control what is done with the money. What you’re advocating for is theft from someone who you know nothing about that may buy this property. How many jobs did they create? What charities do they donate to? Some wealthy people do amazing things that help people. They can also uplift an area that was depressed (aka gentrification). People hate that word but the fact is most people like nice things and it starts with a wealthier person to finance creative projects and encourage more people to upgrade their properties, businesses etc.

      If everyone keeps demonizing rich (I’m not one of them), we’ll all be living in pre-war Soviet housing with DMV/big govt attitudes that you’re nothing but a number with no chance for self-actualization, improvement, etc.

      1. And if we keep letting the rich and corporations run amock with a “let the wealthy fo whatever they want and price out the poor and middle class” attitude, we’ll keep living in pseudo-Medevil fascistic, segregated, unaffordable housing with little chance of upward mobility. Most of the rich hoard their wealth in a closed loop alt-economy and do next to nothing to advocate for change or policies that benefit anyone other than themselves.

        1. If you want to see how the rich feel about the environment, look at their SUV’S, gas vaporizing Sports Cars, jettsetting airplane travel, huge homes to heat and cool, exotic food from across the globe with a massive carbon footprint. This building is the epitome of tone deafness. You think our democratic city is any different than Republican behavior? Nope. I find it hard to bash Trump while driving a G wagon with the turbo and getting 8 miles to the gallon. Which incidentally, Trump raised more money in California this month then the Democrats. Don’t let the rhetoric fool you

      2. No, being rich is not a crime. But most of my experience (retired) shows you don’t get rich by being a kind person. The result, I found, the greater family wealth 30 million.

        The family is as a whole (enough money for all & multi generational)..

        The more and more above such wealth have shown me families, each person & the whole group) disgruntled, angry, bad personal relationships… Getting exponentially worse as wealth increases.

        They can’t see it, let alone consider money can ruin a happy life.

        But that applies to everything in life. Whatever issue at hand, we all get a tunnel vision. Not a dis on anyone.

        If you are extraordinarily wealthy, just saying, you are expressing a lot of anger over your wealth. Perceptions people think you must have done something wrong to be so rich… That is a real manifestation of you, as expressed taking time to be so angry and believing taxes are theft.

        Why aren’t you happily enjoying your wealth on a Vay-K to Hawaii?

  5. I wonder who those “special,” seemingly connected folks are, that will get to live in the 8899 Beverly Bl.low income units?

  6. You have proved my point. The village that was quaint and ours as lgbtq community. WeHo originally regentrified by the gays brick by brick house by house and once affordable for single gay men persons. The big construction and those grossly blessed with copious amounts of cash the new language spoken at WeHo City Hall and “inclusionary” tenants based on income percentage is like a Band Aid on a stab wound. These big developments are made with little regard to the community of lgbtq that had to fight to be who they are, experience hatred gay bashing. Now mainstream yuppy straight couples with their children and nannies, professional couples are displacing the soul of commuity our little piece of Los Angeles is no more, nothing being doneto help the homeless surely the developers had step over one they try not to aknowledge because deep down they know their greed is the malignant tumor slowly killing what really made West Hollywood WeHo. It wasn’t City Hall or greedy developers and landlords.

    1. Mario. I am not profiling low income people. I am saying that that putting 13 units of low income housing in a luxury condo building doesn’t make asmuch sense as collecting money from these luxury b uilding to build affordable housing that can accomodate more people. It would make more sense to designate those 13 units to help build affordable units. Under my idea if the designated the units 13 units as affordable assistance units, you set a price of say 2,000 as what the affordable price would have been, and they go out and rent it for market rates of say 6,000 the 4k per month would go the affordable housing trust. If you take 4k month per month per each 13 units for the year you would generate 624,000 dollars a year for as long as the building exists. You could then go out and build way more than 13 more modest units and help more people. Also West Hollywood has gotten to expensive for even those who are making what you call elitist money. I don’t understand why you think it makes any sense to put affordable units in building that 90 percent of the population can’t afford to live in. This is not the 1980’s anymore and times have changed, so a lot of people may not have the luxury of living in one of the most desirable neighborhoods in all of the Los Angeles area anymore for an affordable price.

      1. The entire “Weho Affordable Housing Units” is about getting Zoning increases by a list of things, which CA law requires (if one wants to build bigger that zoning restrictions.
        1. Create new low income units
        2. Add new parking spaces
        3. Add specific amount of greenspace
        4. Comply with LEED building

        A bunch of legally required things to be able to build this and the growing number of HOUSING BLOCKS lining our Boulevards.

  7. This is a prime example of why affordable units should not be included in every building. Why does someone who can’t afford the rent in the city get to live in a building that other people who could be making decent money can’t even afford to live in. Having affordable units in a building where one of the properties could be worth as much as 85 million dollars is laughable to me. I think it would make much more sense to have the developers contribute more money to the affordable housing trust so they can use the city can construct whole buildings of affordable units where you could get more bang for you buck then offering a small amount of affordable units in luxury condominiums . The point of affordable housing is to get as many people as possible into modest apartments. It’s not to get the few into luxury condominiums.

    1. Absolutely. I do not agree with affordable housing in upscaled housing. If I were paying that much for a condo, I would not buy it if there was such a huge difference in price for units in a premium building. Makes absolutely no sense. For moderate housing, maybe but even then I think we need to face the facts of life…we don’t all qualify to live in the same spaces. You have to work harder to get to a certain level of service, prestige and accommodations. Another reason CA is a mess.

      1. That would make you automatically assuming and profiling a certain element you obviously look down on. Making you a part of the problem. If only the homeless and low income had that luxury. Truly I don’t give a damn about how much John, Mary and Paul had to pay to fill above it all. Elitism is selfish and why we have this issue with homeless and now many single gay men and women struggling to keep that zip code. Those of you with the big bank accounts don’t be so selfish. If you are truly concerned about having low income tenants I your building. Then get all of the other elitist to help fund more security monitoring the building 24/7. Just because they are low income don’t judge. Because most of the selfish, arrogant and elitist that oppose affordable housing in their building I’ll profile now who materialistic knowing the cost of everything and the value of nothing. Maybe God made it so the person I’m replying to doesn’t have the money to afford to live in such a place join the crowd, I’m educated and with my highest paying job I would be check to check not much to put into saving.Lastly, even though the “zoning” was approved that builder didn’t care about why the added floors would not be possible under current zoning. Perhaps obstructing other people’s views perhaps a selling point when considering buying their places. His money could have found other buildings to make his new money ostentatious 85 million dollar condo and. WeHoVille found that now West Hollywood has gotten outrageously expensive like New York. Frankly, to brag about that is in poor taste.

      2. What they could do is designate them as affordable and set what the affordable price would be and them rent them to people who can afford them at fair market value. Then every year the difference between the affordable price and the fair market value should be contributed to the low income trust ever year. This would create a annuity that would go into the trust ever year forever and do much more good then giving a few lucky people the opportunity to live a luxury building.

      3. Yeah the uber wealthy definitely work way harder than the “working” poor. Keep the lazy poor people out of WeHo!

      4. CA is wealthy, thriving, beautiful, innovative, educated, and the world’s fifth largest economy. Don’t like it? Gtfo and move to glorious, low tax red state paradises like Mississippi and Montana, full of dirt poor, uneducated, methed out deplorables with skyrocketing suicide, domestic violence, and drug abuse. The only thing that’s a mess is the total failure of right wing policies at every level of government.

    2. I thought as a believer in affordable housing, but the concept OF BUILDING NEW LOW COST BUILDINGS/UNITS is irrational.

      Rich people (which is not a crime) want and have the money to build new homes or condos.

      Adding their rich desires results in older, less chic homes and apartments vacant for less rich.

      L. A. started downtown (of today) the MOST EXPENSIVE MANSIONS we ON BUNKER HILL (today, the north west part of downtown (Wells Fargo Center, L. A. Music Center (chandler, Taper & Ahmsson theaters)

      The rich moved west, Mansions Built, then moved farther west to WindsorSquare/Hancock Park. As a result, all the land east of Hancock Park to downtown has the low income properties Apartments only.

      That’s how city growth works.

      THIS Project, the HOA will be extraordinarily high. Only the rich who bought and pay should have pool and amededy access.

      Yeah, affordable housing has no pools, parks, fancy access.

      That’s how it works in the whole city. To microchosism of one building being a happy homogenous of Uber Wealthy & regular low income people WILL NOT BE A HAPPY PLACE for anyone living there.

      1. Again I agree with Jason (and Jonathan) but not with Mario (though respect his or her freedoms of speech), who is making an emotional plea that EVERYONE deserves a luxury condo and at the same time of life. If a unit is selling for 85 million and it has people paying less than 500k for an affordable one and no HOA for the same services/luxuries, how is that fair? It’s not. And usually those with affordable housing can’t even afford one for 100k. I can barely afford my mortgage on a very modest building, but I choose to live here and accept what I committed to: a market system. I can’t control supply and demand. This area is next to Beverly Hills and it was bound to be upscaled. Some people have difficulty facing the realities of life which a therapist helped me with years ago. I recommend the same for others. I’m not rich, though I judge people who make their wealth in corrupt ways. But that’s not my business. As said, it’s not a crime to be wealthy and to aspire to having nicer amenities. I’m grateful people can still have what they want in this country rather than being demonized all the time for their good fortune and/or hard work.

    3. I agree with you.

      Question, what is defined as affordable housing in this building with a $85Million? $ 4 million? 🙂

    4. Many developers have contributed money instead. Have you seen the City build any affordable buildings? Where would they put the buildings? Stop being so elitist. Are you saying that poor elder or disabled people are not worthy?

      1. Again, another emotional plea, this time from “long time resident”; at our core we are equal/worthy but in reality we have a system in place that rewards those who put in the extra work/sweat equity, education, etc. to live in a luxury building. Even those who make 100k a year can’t afford to live in this building but if you are borderline homeless (or not far from poverty level) then you get to live here. Really? Sorry but when the “affordable housing” push becomes EVERYONE can live in a luxury condo, then you’re losing the argument and not taken seriously by rational minds. The money put into these affordable housing funds could be used to buy older buildings that need a makeover and structural improvements and then rented out for those who qualify for a modest building based on their income. We all don’t “deserve” to live in a building where a unit is selling for 85 million.

        1. Regarding the idea of buying & rehabbing an older building makes SO MUCH Sense, this is probably why it most likely will never happen. The bureaucracy of local govt is weighed down in so many rules, processes, votes, paperwork, etc. it’s extremely hard to get anything done.

      2. Long Time Resident let’s have the developers contribute more money. Also you can’t blame the developers or the buyers of expensive properties for the cities inability to get anything done with the money they contribute. As for where the properties would go? They would go the same place as any new building. The city would buy land and then build the affordable units there. It’s not being elitist to suggest a different alternative to the current strategy of adding 5-10 affordable units for every new residential project. At that rate we will get at most 100 units of affordable units for every 10 properties built. Do you really think that getting that small amount of additional affordable housing stock is really going to solve the problem or even make a small dent? Also, at least for me I am not saying that anyone is not worthy. I am saying that there is a better way to get more affordable housing so we have do less of figuring which of the elderly and poor are worthy for the small amount of luxury rentals that are designated affordable as opposed to building real affordable at a lower price that provides modest accommodations to the many.

  8. Very interesting – the financing of candidates/council-members part.
    As far as the condo…why?
    Why here?

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