Mohamed Hadid’s Bel Air mega-mansion, once intended to be sold for $100 million, is finally undergoing demolition after being entangled in a series of legal battles. Exclusive photographs obtained showcase the home being dismantled, transforming it into an expensive pile of rubble.
Hadid, the father of supermodels Gigi and Bella Hadid, acquired the property in 2011 and promptly commenced construction, squeezing a 30,000-square-foot house onto a 1.22-acre lot. However, the home exceeded the permissible dimensions and height outlined by city regulations, nearly doubling the approved 15,000 square feet authorized by the Buildings Department.
Concerned neighbors took legal action, fearing that the estate’s imposing size could result in a catastrophic slide down the steep hillside, endangering the residences below. In December, Sahara Construction purchased the property for a mere $8.5 million and agreed to cover the $5 million demolition expenses, hoping to recoup the investment through future resale and a special tax break.
Demolition work began with Sahara Construction taking on the task of tearing down the mansion. Mohamed Hadid sold the property for a fraction of his original asking price after being ordered to demolish the estate due to safety concerns. Hadid expressed his lack of sorrow in witnessing the destruction of the once-envisioned symbol of luxury and elegance, stating that he had moved on with his life and had other projects to focus on.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Craig D. Karlan deemed the massive structure a danger to the public and issued the demolition order. Over the course of a decade, the gargantuan property, which grew into a $100 million estate, became a burdensome liability for Hadid.
Hadid, who claimed to be facing significant financial losses and unable to afford the $5 million demolition cost, had previously argued in court that the structure could potentially slide down the hill and cause harm. He was prosecuted by the Los Angeles city council in 2015 for disregarding stop work orders issued for the mansion. While he declared financial distress and claimed to be in debt, his daughters Gigi and Bella Hadid are believed to be considerably wealthier, with estimated net worths of $29 million and $25 million, respectively.
The demolition process was expected to be intricate and time-consuming due to the mansion’s location atop the steep hill, which posed a risk to neighboring properties. Sahara Construction employed careful measures to ensure safety, including reinforcing existing fencing and installing strong netting capable of halting up to 20,000 pounds of debris from cascading down the hill. Additionally, the demolition engineers used the original approved plans to systematically dismantle the structure, although unforeseen challenges may arise since significant portions of the building were constructed without proper approval.
The mansion was initially envisioned as a $150 million mega-mansion, featuring a 70-seat IMAX theater and an extensive wine cellar. The house was designed to exceed the approved size by more than double. The demolition project aimed to disassemble the mansion section by section, and the process involved hydraulic excavators with special attachments, offering a more precise and secure approach than a wrecking ball.
Inside the mansion, which is now in ruins, remnants of what was once an extravagant and opulent vision can be seen. The entertainment area, with its 15-foot ceilings, 10-foot marble fireplace, and floor-to-ceiling windows providing panoramic views of Bel Air and the Pacific Ocean, now lies deserted. The IMAX theater, initially intended to seat 70 guests in red velvet chairs, awaits demolition, as does the wine cellar designed to house thousands of bottles. A Turkish bath, reflecting Hadid’s Middle Eastern heritage, adorned with ornate wood carvings, colorful ceramic tiles, and marble and mirrored walls, now stands neglected and dusty.
While the Bel Air mega-mansion has been reduced to a pile of rubble, its demolition highlights the end of an ambitious and controversial project. Mohamed Hadid, despite the legal battles and financial setbacks, has shifted his focus to other ventures. The remnants of his once-grand vision serve as a reminder of the complexities and risks involved in constructing lavish properties in exclusive neighborhoods. As the Bel Air hillside undergoes transformation, the future of the property remains uncertain, leaving space for new possibilities in the realm of luxury real estate.