The home, known as Villa Firenze in Beverly Hills, sits at 28,000 square feet across nine acres. Owner Steven Udvar-Hazy listed it at $165 million in 2018 but took it to Concierge Auctions after being unable to find a buyer.
The auction will take place later this month and has no minimum bid or reserve price, according to realtor.com. This means that, theoretically, someone could buy it for as little as $1.
The mansion, which was built in 1998 after nine years of construction, is listed with Jeff Hyland of Hilton & Hyland. The estate is located in the gated community of North Beverly Park favored by celebrities including Eddie Murphy and Sylvester Stallone.
The property was built with extravagance in mind — it boasts 13 bedrooms, 17 bathrooms, eight half bathrooms and three guest homes. It opens onto a palm-lined courtyard that can fit up to 30 cars and features a mansion filled with grand entryways, arched passages and vaulted ceilings.
The main house includes a library, gym, home theater, media room, den and wine cellar. The outside grounds have a landscaped garden, a pool, tennis courts, jogging trails and a pool house.
Udvar-Hazy, who was born in Hungary and immigrated to the U.S. in childhood, is currently executive chairman of the airline leasing company Air Lease and worth around $4 billion. At the moment, the highest auction sale in history is held by Florida’s Playa Vista Isle, which sold for $42.5 million in 2018. It was originally listed for $159 million and, like the Villa Firenze, proved to be a long and difficult sale.
In general, grand estates tend to sit on the market for long periods of time because buyers with sizable funds prefer to build custom properties. Often, auctions are a way to unload the home and create a sense of urgency in the sale.
Agents predicted the estate could sell for anywhere between $40 and $100 million. They pointed out, however, that while an auction is a good way to guarantee a sale it can also devalue a property by painting it as a necessary sale.
“It is more like a fire sale,” Rochelle Maize, executive director of the luxury estates division at Nourmand & Associates, told realtor.com. “It puts a desperate, negative spin on the property. In the past, auctions have not worked in selling ultrahigh-end properties and have been fraught with lawsuits. The seller would be much better off realigning the property to the real market value and creating a new marketing strategy.”