More than three years after it first hit the market, one of the Los Angeles market’s most notorious spec-mansions — the real estate white elephant formerly known as Opus — has finally found a buyer. The 20,000-square-foot contemporary made global headlines in summer 2017, when it debuted with a $100 million asking price and perhaps the raciest real estate marketing campaign of all time: a promotional video showing nude women, covered in gold paint, cavorting together in bed.
The decidedly unsubtle message to sex-starved tech entrepreneurs and other businessmen: cash in your latest app, sell your company. Buy this house and you’ll buy a harem of women to go with it; live like a modern-day Casanova. An appropriate message for the L.A. buyer pool, perhaps, but the plan failed.
It took a change of realtors, multiple price reductions — to a final $60 million ask — and a second, far more subdued marketing campaign to sell Opus. While it doesn’t appear the transfer has officially recorded, the deal is all but done, according to sources. And in an appropriate twist of irony, the buyer is female.
The new owner, who goes by the Americanized moniker Josephine Yeh but whose legal name is Bin Fen Cheng, hails from the affluent San Gabriel Valley city of San Marino, where she’s lived for more than two decades in one of the neighborhood’s largest and most lavish estates — a place she custom-built herself.
For its part, Opus is nothing if not large and lavish, albeit in a more flashy, popping-bottles-of-Cristal-in-Saint-Tropez sort of way. Flush with success — and cash — from several of his earlier real estate projects, Niami paid $9.8 million for the one-acre property in 2012. He quickly razed the existing structure and built his new residential showcase to be grander and gaudier than his previous works, complete with extravagances such as a walk-in champagne refrigerator, and a subterranean auto museum with a gold Lamborghini and a gold Rolls Royce, plus enough white marble to make a foreign potentate — or a “Miami Vice” villain — blush crimson. For all this, he believed, a buyer would pay him something close to $100 million.
And who could blame him? The house next door, a comparably sized and similarly extroverted contemporary mansion, had sold for a record $70 million to Minecreft billionaire Markus “Notch” Persson. Notch flew in from Sweden just to see it, lured by the slick marketing campaign. The home’s Instagram-famous candy wall and underground auto museum were appealing, and $5,000 in catered sushi sealed the deal.