Real Estate

The Slick Marketing Video Behind ‘Catastrophic Failure’ Spec Home Sale

The marketing video behind 1155 Angelo Drive exudes a calm, modern coolness. But at the time the video was made, developers behind the property were already likely aware of significant waterproofing issues present throughout the home.

The camera pans down a tree-lined driveway and comes to rest momentarily on a chic entryway with floor-to-ceiling windows, skylights, and marble walls and floors.

Then, the video tour of the modern home continues throughout the rest of the house, with the camera often resting on a number of high-end touches — marble fireplaces, an expansive bar for entertaining, a marble master tub, a wine cellar, a sauna, the home’s pool and expansive outdoor leisure spaces.

The marketing video behind 1155 Angelo Drive exudes a calm, modern coolness. But at the time the video was made, developers behind the property were already likely aware of significant waterproofing issues present throughout the home following wet weather in the area during the winter of 2018-2019, according to a report from The Real Deal.

Unfortunately, those waterproofing problems were undetected by experienced German real estate investor Ekkehart Hassels-Weiler when he was purchasing the spec home for $43 million during the summer of 2019, which happened to be an unusually dry season.

Hassels-Weiler had purchased a number of luxury properties before, including four Manhattan penthouses totaling over $130 million, an estate in the Hollywood Hills and two houses in the Bird Streets neighborhood of Los Angeles. He and his representatives had also visited the Angelo Drive property six times before signing the contract, according to The Real Deal. Meanwhile, global luxury development firm London & Regional Properties, helmed by brothers Ian and Richard Livingstone, also put their stamp of approval on the project.

However, Hassels-Weiler’s experience, caution and assurance from developers involved in the project ultimately couldn’t protect him from the home’s concealed construction flaws, according to a lawsuit filed last week in L.A. County Superior Court on behalf of Hassels-Weiler and Westlake Investments XXXV LLC.

The suit claims the property’s developers hid serious flaws in the building’s construction, which resulted in extensive water damage and made the home “uninhabitable.” London & Regional Properties, Ian Livingstone and Max Fowles-Pazdro (another developer and fashion designer on the project) are all named as defendants in the suit.

During one of his visits to the property prior to closing in July 2019, Hassels-Weiler or one of his representatives caught on to some issues with the home. He or one of his constituents met with Livingstone at that time over concerns about the windows and HVAC system, according to the lawsuit. Livingstone made assurances for remedies in response, writing in an email, “I look forward to closing the deal quickly and delivering a perfect residence which you can enjoy for a long time to come!”

However, after Hassels-Weiler moved in months later, the waterproofing issues became apparent once rain led to leaks “on almost all installed door and window units,” “excessive roof ponding” and deficiencies in the wall cladding, according to the complaint. The suit added that the home’s structure and interior finishes have also suffered extensive damage as a result. On top of that, the HVAC issues were never fully resolved, and the home also has a number of plumbing and electrical problems that came to light in subsequent inspections.

“The result is a catastrophic failure of the building systems and components,” the complaint concludes.

Neither the defendants nor the plaintiff commented on the case to The Real Deal.

Hassels-Weiler is seeking $36 million in damages.

Email Lillian Dickerson

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