It is a fall from grace story with all the components of a Hollywood blockbuster, featuring tens of millions of dollars, glamorous real estate and dashed dreams. Its protagonist: a cosmetic dermatologist to the stars, known for his Botox and buttock-enhancement procedures, who tried his luck as a megamansion developer.
The resulting Bel-Air mansion, complete with a DJ booth, a Champagne tasting room and an NFT art gallery, is now slated to hit the auction block after the developer, Alex Khadavi, filed for bankruptcy protection, court records show. In a bankruptcy court hearing in Los Angeles on March 30, Judge Sheri Bluebond indicated that she could soon sign off on the sale of the property, Dr. Khadavi’s largest asset, by auction with a reserve price of $50 million. A reserve price is the minimum amount that the owner of an auction item will accept as the winning bid.
The 21,000-square-foot mansion is the brainchild of Dr. Khadavi, 49, with slick black hair and high cheekbones, whose penchant for perfectionism led him to spend roughly $30 million on the home’s construction, not including land cost. That was about three times his originally projected budget, he said.
Dr. Khadavi, who was born in London and raised for a few years in Iran, bought the site, located on tony Sarbonne Road with 360-degree views spanning from the San Gabriel Mountains to the Channel Islands, for $16 million in 2013, he said. Like a number of L.A. developers who piled into the luxury-home market over the past few years, Dr. Khadavi had little experience in the field, a fact he acknowledged. He said that, though he had purchased and remodeled a number of homes in the area, they were primarily in the sub-$1 million price category. He also said he didn’t have connections with the types of contractors capable of taking on a project of this scale.
He spared no expense, splashing out on the most expensive materials, such as high-end calacatta extra-gold marble and staining the wood floors with 24-karat gold dust.
“The marble budget was $10 [per square foot],” Dr. Khadavi said. “I clearly made a mistake because we bought $150 [per square foot] calacatta extra gold. It’s like if you go in to buy a Prius and they show you a Ferrari.”
The modern, seven-bedroom house is the product of Dr. Khadavi’s wild imagination and reflects his passion for digital art, music and design, he said. It sits behind large, mirrored-steel gates and features unusual amenities such as a secret DJ platform that emerges from the floor on a hydraulic lift and an NFT art gallery featuring pieces by artists such as Bighead, a record producer and DJ who worked on the production of the 2017 hit “Gucci Gang” by hip-hop artist Lil Pump. There is also a formal dining room, a movie theater, a car museum, a massage room, a tequila bar and a Champagne tasting room.
Dr. Khadavi installed a series of jets in the outdoor pool that are designed to pump in time with music and designed a digital laser show modeled after Disneyland’s elaborate World of Color attraction. Dr. Khadavi’s version involves a rotatable 3-D laser projector on the roof that casts light in the shape of a rhombus over the pool. Dr. Khadavi said much of the home’s design was inspired by the “golden ratio” and Italian mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci’s mathematical sequence, which some consider the key to the human perception of beauty.
About halfway through the project, which Dr. Khadavi said was originally intended for his personal use, he realized that his aspirations for the property had outgrown what he could actually afford to maintain. He would have to put the property on the market. “I dreamed too big,” he said.
Costs were exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, which disrupted the construction schedule, he said. Crews were often out because they said a member had come down with the virus. “People don’t take pride in what they do. Nobody wants to work these days,” Dr. Khadavi said.
Within the first year, he had parted ways with his architect and primary contractor, he said, and he later ran into issues with the work his contractors had performed. A beam they had installed was blocking the views from the primary bedroom and had to be ripped out, he said. Contractors also failed to adequately waterproof the guesthouse. “I had to rip up a million dollars of marble,” he said.
Dr. Khadavi put the property on the market for $87.777 million in May 2021, listing it with high-end agents Aaron Kirman of Compass and Mauricio Umansky of The Agency. The 7s in the price were a reference to his favorite number. (He and his family relocated to the U.S. from Iran when he was 7 years old amid the revolution.) Dr. Khadavi said he operates dermatology practices in the Encino and Thousand Oaks areas of Los Angeles. He first started buying and renovating homes about 12 years ago.
A few weeks after putting the property on the market, he filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, records show. His largest creditors include Axos Bank, a subsidiary of Axos Financial Inc., which lent around $27 million for the construction of the house, records show. A spokesperson for Axos Bank declined to comment.