The buyer of the cut-price Bel Air mega-mansion, once dubbed America’s most expensive home, has been revealed as fast-fashion tycoon, Richard Saghian, the CEO of Fashion Nova.
Saghian, 40, snapped up the huge property for a bargain $126 million at a bankruptcy auction on Thursday. Even though it sold for a fraction of its original record-setting $500 million listing, the property – which took eight years to build and boasts 21 bedrooms, 42 bathrooms, five swimming pools, a 30-car garage, a bowling alley and more – set the record for costliest house sold in auction at $126 million, with an additional $15 million auction fee
Saghian, whose fast-fashion company inked high-profile partnerships with celebrities and influencers such as rapper Cardi B, Kylie Jenner and pop superstar Lil Nas X, fended off competition from four other bidders for the 105,000-square-foot house, which is known as ‘The One.’
Saghian started Fashion Nova in 2006 in the industrial southern L.A. suburb of Vernon and continues to serve as its CEO and owns the business outright. The company’s annual sales are said to top $1billion a year. ‘The One’ is the latest in his luxury property portfolio. Saghian owns two other homes in the City of Angels, including a beach house in Malibu that he bought from Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos in 2021 for $14.7 million. He retains another home in the Bird Streets area of Hollywood Hills that he purchased for $17.5 million back in 2018.
‘The One Bel-Air is a once-in-a-lifetime property that can never be duplicated. There is nothing else like it, Saghian said in an email statement on Sunday. ‘As a lifelong Angeleno and avid collector of real estate, I recognized this as a rare opportunity that also lets me own a unique property that is destined to be a part of Los Angeles history.’
The Bel Air mansion known as ‘The One’ was sold to Saghian for just $126 million at a bankruptcy auction on Thursday, less than half of the $295 million asking price – which was already cut down from its original price tag of $500 million
Fashion Nova CEO Richard Saghian (right), 40, in a photo posted to his Instagram account on February 10, 2019 with Cardi B (left)
The privately-held retail company has 51-200 employees and has an estimated web sales range of $1 billion-to-$5 billion, according to ecommerce website Pipecandy.com. It now has five brick-and-mortar stores in LA after finding much of its early success online – mainly through its website and social media, where many Instagram influencers and high-profile artists can be seen posing with the brand’s apparel.
Saghian’s entourage were victims of an armed robbery in June after they were followed to the businessman’s Hollywood Hills home in a Rolls Royce.
The suspects demanded they surrender jewelry and other valuables – though Saghian, who had already gone inside, was not aware of the incident and was unharmed.
All the suspects were eventually arrested and one was killed by an armed guard.
The One cost Saghian almost six-to-seven times more than his other properties, but his winning bid was at a steep discount off the extravagant home’s original $295-million listing price.
‘It’s an incredible deal,’ Branden Williams told the Los Angeles Times. He listed the home with his associate and wife, Rayni Williams, as well as Aaron Kirman – a local Compass agent.
‘No one understands until they get up there. A house like this will never be built again. Whenever it sells again, it will be for even more,’ he added.
The 105,000-square-foot mega-mansion is still not entirely complete and needs to be granted permits by the city before being inhabited
The sale set the record for costliest house sold in auction at $126 million, with an additional $15 million auction fee
The mansion even possesses its own beauty salon, which boasts bright red walls and opaque shampoo stations
Other features of the home include a movie theatre, ‘philanthropy wing’ for charity galas, a nightclub, an outdoor running track, and a 4,000 square foot guest house
Circular seating within a grubby-looking moat offers panoramic views of the mountains and hills of Los Angeles
Insiders familiar with the court proceedings say it will have to sell for at least $200 million just to cover the costs
Estate agents suggested the conflict in Ukraine had deterred possible Russian billionaire buyers for the mega-mansion while others called it a warning of the instability of the mega-mansion market
An indoor bowling alley is yet another feature of the home, complete with digital scoreboards and lounge areas
The sprawling complex houses 21 bedrooms, a bowling alley, private theater, a night club, multiple pools, a jacuzzi, a salon, a gym and an underground garage with two vehicle turntables
A colorful glass sculpture stands erected outside the home, which took eight years to build
The home was built by Hollywood producer-turned-developer Nile Niami, 53 in 2012 with the help of 600 contracted workers
Working from home won’t be a problem at The One, where office space is plentiful
The ex-Hollywood exec reportedly was convinced he could secure an asking price of $500 million for the impressive estate
While most people would be happy with one pool, the Bel Air estate boasts several swimming pools
Williams & Williams Estates Group, along with Stuart Vetterick of Hilton & Hyland, were Saghian’s representatives in the bargain deal. They also represented him in the purchase of the Malibu home, too. Nondisclosure agreements refrained all parties from disclosing the buyer, and other bidders involved in the auction. In the days leading to the sale, multiple sources rumored that Saghian was the winner.
‘The One’ would not only extend the businessman’s portfolio of lavish homes in the area but it could also turn into a social-media marketing tool for online influencers modeling the brand, as the home could be used as a familiar setting to show off the company’s affordable and trendy designs.
However, two years ago, Versace accused Fashion Nova of breaching copyright rules by knocking off two iconic designs and a famous split-below-the-navel Jungre dress that Jennifer Lopez rocked to super-stardom when she wore it at the Grammys that year. In 2021, both parties agreed to a non-disclosed settlement, according to court records.
The lawsuit claimed Fashion Nova deliberately copied the dresses ‘in conscious disregard of Versace’s superior rights’ and that it also copies other designers, such as Adidas, to sell low-price clubwear following fashion whims.
‘Fashion Nova’s ability to churn out new clothing so quickly is due in large part to its willingness to copy the copyrighted designs, trademarks and trade dress elements of well-known designers like Versace, and trade on their creative efforts in order to bolster Fashion Nova’s bottom line,’ the suit claimed.
‘To that end, in blatant disregard of Versace’s rights, Fashion Nova is designing, manufacturing, producing, marketing, distributing, promoting, offering for sale and selling in interstate commerce apparel bearing designs that are the same or substantially similar to the Versace copyrights.’
More so, Versace claims Fashion Nova uses other tactics to confuse fashionistas, even using trademarks that are ‘confusingly similar.’
‘Moreover, Fashion Nova uses other unauthorized search engine optimization tactics and/or social media spamming so that Fashion Nova webpages show up at or near the top of relevant search results and misdirect consumers searching for Versace Apparel,’ it adds.
These are example of the design Versace claims were ripped off by Fashion Nova in a lawsuit from 2019. Both parties agreed to a settlement to resolve the case in July of last year
Fashion Nova, which is currently promoting its new spring collection with items sold mostly under $30, has recently faced allegations of theft from its suppliers, forcing the company to re-evaluate its contracting practices.
In January, the brand agreed to pay $4.2 million to the U.S. government after coming under scrutiny for blocking negative reviews of its products on its website. It called the allegations ‘inaccurate and deceptive.’
There’s also an ugly truth behind the brand’s successful formula: hiring illegal workers on low wages to stitch Fashion Nova garments together, the federal Labor Department has found. Factories that pay workers as little as possible under the table are not uncommon in Los Angeles. Many workers who work behind sewing machines are undocumented and are unlikely to ask for raises from their bosses.
Richard Saghian’s clothing brand, Fashion Nova, has found worldwide success in the fast-fashion industry due to a number of high-profile partnerships and collaborations with celebrities and prominent pop stars
‘It has all the advantages of a sweatshop system,’ David Weil, who led the United States Labor Department’s wage and hour division from 2014 to 2017, told the LA Times.
On a yearly basis, the department exposes allegations of wage violations at sewing contractors in Los Angeles, often appearing out-of-nowhere to review payroll data, interview employees and questions factory managers and owners.
In investigations conducted from 2016 to 2019, federal authorities learned that most of Fashion Nova’s clothing was being manufactured in at least 12 factories that owed $3.8 million in back wages to hundreds of workers, according to internal federal documents that were reviewed by The New York Times.
In 2018, Saghian shared that roughly 80 percent of the brand’s clothes were made in the United States. However, since then, Fashion Nova’s supply chain model has changed and now the brand says it produces less than half of its clothing items in Los Angeles. It’s overall percentage of clothes made in the United States remains unclear.
The company is also not directly involved with factories. Instead, it orders in bulk through companies that design the clothes and then ship fabric to separately owned sewing contractors, where underpaid workers stitch the clothes together and attach a Fashion Nova label on them.
The One, which is also a popular filming spot, is the chef-d’oeuvre of 53-year-old former film producer turned real estate developer Nile Niami. He initially listed the home for $500 million after its completion in 2020 but was forced to file it into bankruptcy after Crestlloyd, the home’s limited liability company, defaulted on $106 million in construction loans to L.A. billionaire Don Hankey.
Although some in the L.A. real estate bubble have labeled the residence as ‘garish’ and ‘flashy’, others have seen the home as a lifelong dream – with an endless list of amenities: a sky deck with cabanas, multiple pools, a private movie theater, a private bowling alley, a billiard room, a candy room, salon and spa and a private nightclub.
The house also boasts 21 bedrooms and 42 full bathrooms and is covered in marble and glass. It was designed by Orange County architect Paul McClean, who also worked on Saghian’s Hollywood Hills home in the past.
Prior to his winning bid for ‘The One’, Saghian also owned mansions in Malibu (pictured) and in Hollywood Hills
The Fashion Nova CEO dropped $14.7 Million on Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos’ Malibu retreat two years ago
The 3,800-square-foot home features a private courtyard with a pool. A separate structure in the pool area also hold a pool
The roughly 3,800-square-foot beach house features sets of glass doors that open to an ocean-facing deck
Saghian’s Malibu home also boasts a sky-opening roof for warm beach days on the Pacific coast
The property’s covered patio/teahouse also takes in the ocean on Carbon and La Costa beaches, some of the most coveted coasts in California
This Hollywood Hills mansion formerly owned by DJ Avicii, is now in possession of Fashion Nova CEO Richard Saghian
In June 2021 one person was fatally shot and four others where wounded in a robbery attempt near the home
The home boasts an impressive wardrobe, where one wouldn’t be short of space to place their clothes
The 7,000 square-feet home boasts six bedrooms and seven bathrooms, in comparison to ‘The One’
Located on a hill above the Sunset Strip, the house is on one of the Birds Streets in the Hollywood Hills area
Concierge Auctions, which handled the sale, told the Los Angeles times that the online auction for the home was a bit of a bust. Saghian’s winning bid was set at $126 million, with the total cost to the buyer rising to $141 million with the 12 percent auction fee. And although the price set a new record for the most expensive house ever sold at an auction, it amounted to significantly less than half its $295-million listing price.
Before it was sold, three dozen prospective buyers toured the five-acre property in the last few months, including billionaires from across the U.S., Middle East and Asia.
However, when the auction opened on Monday, only five bidders from the U.S. and New Zealand made offers on the ‘white elephant’ super-home, with the winning buyer remaining unidentified until paperwork is submitted to a U.S. Bankruptcy Court next week.
Real estate agent Brent Change, of Compass, said the sale was cautionary tale of the mega-mansion market and said the Russian invasion of Ukraine last week might have deterred potential buyers.
‘The buyer pool for this is very small, and with everything happening in Russia, all of a sudden those Russian billionaires who may have been your best bet to buy it are pulling out,’ he told the LA Times.
Saghain’s $126 million didn’t even come close to the total amount of claimed debt tied to the property, which entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with roughly $180 million in secured and unsecured debt. That figure has risen to $256 million this year as more creditors have filed claims, according to a March 2 court filing.
Nile Niami, 53, (left) a Hollywood producer-turned-developer, started construction the home in 2013, but the firm set up to build the superhome later went bankrupt. L.A billionaire Don Hankey (right), the CEO of the Hankey Group, said he wanted to recoup the millions he invested in Niami’s The One mansion development
L.A. Billionaire and little-known king of subprime car loans, Don Hankey told The L.A. Times that he expects the auction price to be enough for him to recover from the construction loans he pumped into the project, though he faces additional penalties and fees. Many of the property’s other creditors will also suffer losses.
Niami, the home’s developer, also claims that he is owed $44.4 million. Court files don’t offer details on the claim, but a person familiar with the bankruptcy said it arises from the loans the developer made to the project.
U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Deborah Saltzman will hold a hearing later this month on whether to approve the sale. In making her determination, the judge will consider whether she believes the winning bidder has the financial power to close the sale, its effect on creditors and other issues.
Lawrence Perkins, a Crestlloyd manager, evoked the possibility that Saghain may not end up owning the home and that it is ‘his responsibility’ to find ways for offers to keep rolling in for the bankrupt estate.
Under the auction agreement’s terms and conditions, Saghian is legally obliged to close the sale by March 21.
Saghian may also have to work on renovations for the home – as it is not entirely complete.
The house does not have a certificate of occupancy and needs permits for grading, electrical and other work. It also has construction defects and holds a couple of zoning regulations, according to allegations in court documents. Local homeowner associations have called the home a ‘brewing scandal’.
Who is Fashion Nova’s CEO Richard Sarghian ? What’s his net worth?
Born in 1982, Saghian is 40-years-old. He founded Fashion Nova in 2006 as a chain of stores selling ‘clubwear’ apparel in malls throughout Los Angeles before launching the e-commerce website in 2012.
That’s when the company started to find rapid growth, providing clothes to a wide range of clientele.
And as of March 2022, Fashion Nova has more than 21million followers throught its Instagram page.
Roughly 2,000 influencers — including Cardi B, Kylie Jenner, Nicki Minaj and Adrienne Bailon — post an estimated 6,000 posts and stories per month of themselves posing in the brand’s apparel.
As of late, it is rumoured that Saighan is reportedly worth $50million according to MD Daily Record.
Fashion Nova’s exponential growth is all thanks to its social media marketing strategy.
The brand’s Instagram page is viewed by about a million followers a month.
Richard Saghian (left), is the CEO of Fashion Nova, a company promoting high-profile partnerships with celebrities and influencers such as rapper Cardi B, Kylie Jenner and pop superstar Lil Nas X. Pictured: Richard Saghian and Meek Mill attend Fanatic Super Bowl Party on February 12, 2022 in Culver City, California
‘All the knowledge I gained from having brick and mortar stores, I utilized for the website. Being able to listen firsthand to my customers gave me information of what women wanted, what was missing, and what was needed,’ Saghian told Paper in 2018.
‘I realized early on, getting into the minds of my customers is what helped me grow. I don’t think I would’ve been able to do it without all my retail experience from the brick and mortar days to the e-comm days.’
Fashion Nova’s social media exposure is valued to be higher than H&M and Zara’s audiences combined.
The brand also works with more than 1,000 manufacturers to get an estimated 600-900 new styles out per week.
Most pieces are now manufactured in Los Angeles, but the clothing line was subject to controversy due to its ties with factories that underpay illegal workers and its ties with Chinese vendors.
Two years ago, Fashion Nova also found itself involved in a lawsuit with Versace after the Italian clothing manufacturer accused the brand of copying its patterns and styles for many of its clothing.
Not much is known about Saghian’s personal life and it remains unknown as to whether the business is married or has children.