Bruce Makowsky Luxury Mansion – $94 million

Approximate value



Bruce Makowsky, the property developer, has successfully offloaded his opulent mansion for a staggering $94 million.

The extravagant residence not only includes the lavish living space but also boasts 150 pieces of unique artwork, classic cars valued at $30 million (according to his estimate), a dozen high-performance motorcycles, and a decommissioned helicopter.

After a span of two years, during which there were two reductions in the asking price and a contentious legal battle against the country’s largest real estate platform, Bruce Makowsky bids farewell to Bel-Air with a significantly augmented fortune.

The inclination towards understatement is conspicuously absent in this narrative. Yet, in a real estate market flooded with extravagant speculative homes, providing the wealthy with colossal options, the perception of receiving substantial value for one’s considerable wealth stands out as a compelling selling point.

Bruce Makowsky's Mansion

The Bel-Air residence presents an expansive 38,000 square feet of interior space, featuring 12 bedrooms, 21 bathrooms, a 40-seat home theatre, and a four-lane bowling alley. This translates to a cost exceeding $6,500 per square foot. In contrast, a luxurious spec house in Los Angeles changed ownership last year for $100 million, averaging around $3,300 per square foot.

Makowsky contends that the mansion justifies its price tag. “It exudes quality and boasts a truly spectacular appearance,” he remarked. “It evokes a sensation that can only be likened to the experience of being in heaven.”

Makowsky entered the real estate realm after a successful career in fashion and cable television. Over three decades, he and his wife, Kathy Van Zeeland, designed women’s shoes and handbags, promoting them through television infomercials. In 2008, they sold the business to Hong Kong-based Li & Fung for a reported $330 million. Subsequently, Makowsky redirected his wealth into the development of speculative homes in Los Angeles. One of his notable successes was a 22,300-square-foot mansion in Beverly Hills, which he sold for $70 million to Markus Persson, the creator of the video game Minecraft.

However, Makowsky is not the sole participant in the speculative real estate game.

Inside of Bruce Makowsky's luxury mansion in Bel-Air

Back in 2014, property developer Jeff Greene put forth a 25-acre Beverly Hills estate, featuring an extensive 53,000 square feet of living space, with an ambitious price tag of $195 million. In the subsequent year, film producer Nile Niami announced the commencement of construction on a colossal mansion spanning 74,000 square feet, boasting “almost every amenity available in the world,” and had intentions of selling it for a staggering $500 million. In the preceding year, residences in California, Florida, New York, and Nevada entered the market with asking prices exceeding $100 million, exemplifying the super-luxury sector where sellers fearlessly seek sums that would have been deemed outrageous just a few years prior.

However, in this realm, the listed price often falls short of predicting the actual selling price. A notable example is Hugh Hefner, who sold his notorious Playboy mansion in Holmby Hills, California, for $100 million last year—merely half of the initial listing price. Similarly, the mansion sold by Makowsky to Persson had an original listing price of $85 million.

Bruce Makowsky's Cinema Room

Makowsky stated, “I am convinced that by creating the absolute pinnacle of luxury, there will always be a discerning buyer.” He emphasised that his speculative homes are addressing a gap in the Los Angeles real estate market.

According to his argument, individuals of immense wealth are investing hundreds of millions in yachts and aircraft, possessions that often see only a few weeks of use per year. “Yet,” he continued, “these ultra-wealthy individuals find themselves residing in homes valued at $20 or $30 million. This is primarily because residences tailored specifically for billionaires have yet to be constructed.”

Bruce Makowsky's mansion

Judging from the sort of art and toys Makowsky has used to fill his new house, those underserved billionaires may be in the market for shiny surfaces, tasteful nudes, and wall-mounted candy dispensers. Among the objets d’art sprinkled judiciously across the home’s four floors are jewel-encrusted guitars, giant black-and-white photographs of Cher, and an onyx stone sculpture of an Hermès Birkin handbag.

At times, the house appears to be more of a tribute to affluence than a practical dwelling for the wealthy. Developer-provided photographs showcase a seating area cordoned off by a velvet barrier, adorned with enlarged images of Brad Pitt, Jack Nicholson, and Angelina Jolie. In one of the master bedrooms, a glass-encased cashmere Hermès blanket is mounted as if it were a piece of art. Another room features a modified chainsaw with its blade replaced by Rolls Royce hood ornaments, perched on a pedestal; behind it stands a large photograph of a model seated in an orange-upholstered car, wielding the same modified chainsaw. These are not, in other words, works of art that will be appearing anytime soon at Christie’s.

Massage room at Makowsky's Bel Air mansion

Makowsky, for his part, remains confident that the home’s combination of location, design, and art curation will help him land an extravagant buyer. “I understand how rich people want to live, because I’m very wealthy,” he said. “The right person is going to walk into this house and lose their mind.”

You can see a few of the home’s more outlandish pieces below.

Oversized Leica camera sculpture

Oversized Leica camera sculpture
Designed by the artist Yibai Liao, the sculpture is made of polished stainless steel.

Helicopter from the TV series Airwolf

Helicopter from the TV series Airwolf
This deactivated Bell 222A helicopter was used on the television series Airwolf, which ran for three years in the 1980s.

Hermès blanket encased in glass

Hermès blanket encased in glass
This Hermès Equateur blanket is made with cashmere and embroidered with beads and pearls—though its texture doesn’t matter, given its “Starfire” glass panelling.

Champagne pinball machine

Champagne pinball machine
Described by the developer’s prospectus as a “whimsical art piece,” it’s unclear whether the installation includes genuine Champagne and pinball.

Custom electric guitars

Custom electric guitars
Rock Royalty Guitars is a “luxury design house” that builds “the finest and most opulent custom guitars in the world,” according to the prospectus. The guitars featured above are in spinning display cases.

Vintage copper-and-gold gas cans

Vintage copper-and-gold gas cans
They date from 1892 and are described as having a “rich history.”

Chrome-plated machine gun sculpture

Chrome-plated machine gun sculpture
The piece, by sculptor Gale Hart, is one of numerous gun- and bullet-themed sculptures around the house.

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