There’s an upstart upfront on the scene.
Timed to coincide with the television industry’s traditional upfronts presentations — which took place this month featuring fewer stars and amid picket lines — an event featuring some of the leaders of the luxury real estate world gave guests a private sneak peek at a slew of upcoming residential and retail projects at the London Hotel on May 8.
The inaugural invite-only event bills itself as the Upfronts, in a literal play on the name of the TV presentations in which new shows are previewed for ad buyers and press. Agents from Hilton & Hyland, The Agency and Carolwood Estates were among the 70 or so guests in the audience inside the hotel’s screening room, where the presentations kicked off with realtors-to-the stars Branden and Rayni Williams of The Beverly Hills Estates previewing a house they are building in the Hollywood Hills with Jason Somers of Crest Real Estate. Called Stanley 2, the hillside, 13,509-square-foot mansion, due to hit the market in July, is a bold all-black. “We take really big design risks in that way,” said Rayni Williams.
Next up, mega-selling Compass agents Tomer Fridman (known as the Kardashian family’s go-to broker) and Sally Forster Jones showed never-before-seen interior renderings and floor plans at the anticipated Rosewood Residences Beverly Hills. Slated to open near the Peninsula Hotel in 2024, the building has 17 units — what Fridman calls “estate-alternative residences” — with one example shown clocking in at 4,083 square feet of interior space and nearly 2,700 square feet of outdoor terraces.
Top commercial real estate broker Jay Luchs, vice chairman at Newmark, gave an exclusive look at Malibu’s 112,000-square-foot Cross Creek Ranch retail and office complex, while developer Ricardo Santa Cruz arrived from Mexico to preview Xala, a sustainable high-end residential development that counts Richard Gere as a strategic partner and is set to include home sites and boutique hotels on the Costalegre coast. Only 13 percent of Xala’s total 3,000 acres will be developed.
And Isidora Fridman of Sotheby’s International Realty showed the final unit that’s still available at the John Pawson-designed Jaffa Hotel in Tel Aviv (which was ranked last year as the world’s third most expensive city in which to live). Listed for $59 million, the Jaffa Penthouse includes six bedrooms and 16,145 square feet of living space.
Also at the real-estate showcase — which was dreamt up and presented by luxury real estate public relations firm The Society Group, partnering with The Wall Street Journal — developer Ardie Tavangarian of Arya Group previewed his latest project.
Known for creating mega-houses such as the San Onofre Estate in Pacific Palisades — which sold in 2021 for $83 million and was featured on season four of Succession — Tavangarian is currently putting finishing touches on Villa Siena, a seven-bedroom, 35,000-square-foot mansion. It features a 10,000-pound front door and was designed to preserved 50 mature oak trees on the property. Rayni Williams, who introduced the house with a video which she referred to as a “trailer” for the project, noted it’s currently the largest home being built in Bel Air.
Rounding out the presentations — which were geared toward fellow luxury real estate agents in the business — developer Ramtin “Ray” Nosrati of Huntington Estate Properties gave a look at two houses he’s developing: Allure, an approximately 14,000-square-foot two-level contemporary mansion which he’s building on an acre in Bel Air, and an untitled project he’s looking to complete in early 2024 that includes a 800-foot bridge, which was necessitated in order to secure permits on its hillside spot.
Many of the properties are so unique that there aren’t quote, unquote comps for them, said Rayni Williams, proclaiming: “We’re gonna make the comp.”