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Massive Beverly Hills Site Once Listed For $1B Gets New Broker

Amazon's Jeff Bezos toured the site. Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt showed some interest and some other marquee names also reportedly took a look.

But the The Mountain, a 157-acre parcel of land on a hilltop in Beverly Hills, is still on the market.

The Mountain in Beverly Hills

Two years after being listed for a whooping $1B by real estate broker and CNBC TV host Aaron Kirman, The Mountain has a new broker.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the owner of the site, a trust controlled by the son of late Herbalife founder Mark Hughes, has tasked Cushman & Wakefield's Doug Harmon and his team with the monumental task of selling the massive site. 

Harmon is a New York-based real estate investment broker known for selling high-rise residential units to high net worth old and new-money families from around the world. Last year, according to the WSJ, Harmon brokered 17 properties valued at $6.9B.

Like those before him, Harmon has a tough task. The site, which encompasses 17 residential parcels, has been entangled in legal woes for years

The site was once owned by Princess Shams, the elder sister of the late Shah of Iran, and later sold to television producer Merv Griffin. Griffin then sold it to Herbalife co-founder Mark Hughes for $8M in 1997. When Hughes died three years later, the property went to a family trust. 

The family trust sold it a couple of years later to an Atlanta-based investor, who borrowed money from the trust to acquire the property. Unable to develop the land over the years, the original $45M loan ballooned to $200M. The investor then transferred the property to a limited liability company, Secured Capital Partners. That company declared bankruptcy last year, according to reports

The Hughes Trust forced a foreclosure auction and later that year repurchased the site for $100K, about 0.01% of the original list price and forfeiting the $200M debt they were owed, according to the LA Times.

More litigation from the former owner disputing the foreclosure auction could be in store in the future, according to reports.

But if anyone can get a highly complex deal done, Harmon is the right person, Jamestown President Michael Phillips told the WSJ.

“He never sleeps,” Phillips said. “He’s surround-sound 24 hours a day when he’s committed to a transaction.”