There’s living high on the hog, and then there’s taking things to ridiculous new levels of luxury.
Tradition-bucking, convenience-obsessed one-percenters are forgoing the purchase of sprawling Malibu estates and McMansions in gated communities. Instead they’re leasing swank apartments in towering, amenities-packed buildings.
The current epicenter of the trend is Ten Thousand—aka the 10K building—a 40-story edifice on the border of Beverly Hills and Century City at 10000 Santa Monica Boulevard where rents start at $10,000 and go up, up, and up to $65,000. Why own property when you can pay by the month and enjoy out-of-this-world perks, from robot butlers to a Rolls-Royce Phantom that will ferry you home after one too many drinks.
“It’s a four-star prestige-hotel experience that isn’t a hotel,” says Scott Segall, a top Douglas Elliman/Fredrik Eklund real estate agent who works with the megarich but doesn’t have business dealings with the property. “It has unobstructed views in every direction. It has everything. It’s the place you go when you get caught cheating on your spouse and don’t have time to pack anything. Or you’re an heiress fresh out of rehab.”
The 283-unit building opened to a torrent of publicity in 2017 with more than 2,000 people on the wait list, according to the developer, Crescent Heights. “Our occupancy remains record-breaking,” says Jennifer Monir, the company’s regional director of business development. Current residents include pop star Demi Lovato; LeBron James’s business partner Maverick Carter; Magic Johnson’s son E.J.; and the recently indicted attorney Michael Avenatti, who’s known to wander through the building yelling loudly on his cellphone.
“It really is the 2020 equivalent of Melrose Place,” says one tenant, who like all residents we spoke to asked to remain anonymous for fear of upsetting their neighbors.
But unlike the ’90s drama’s sexy WeHo creatives and blue-collar types, the cast of 10K is of a different caste. The youngest residents tend to be college kids from the Middle East and Asia. “I have many friends who’ve installed their kids going to USC and UCLA there,” says one wealthy Beverly Hills business owner. “Many from Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Hong Kong, China. The building is well known in international business circles.” It’s also home to Saudi and Qatari princes, Russian oligarchs, and Chinese industrialists who are regularly seen trotting across the park with security teams in tow.
Then there are the “billski bros,” which one resident describes as “young urban professional douche bags constantly yammering about selling their companies for ‘big billski’ in the elevator.” Other common species in the building are thirsty divorced dads who dress too young for their age and prowl the building’s game room in search of company; energetic empty nesters looking for fun after selling their Brentwood mansions; and dog-loving dowagers who push their elderly pugs in Bugaboo strollers around the building’s one-acre private park.
“It’s surprisingly diverse,” says one tenant, “a very diverse group of very rich people.”
The apartments themselves, which come furnished or unfurnished, are also a varied bunch. They range from two-bedroom, 2½-bath residences with Bosch appliances for $10,000 a month to a $65,000, 4,000-square-foot penthouse with two terraces and a private deck. A dizzying array of building amenities are available to all residents. A complimentary breakfast is provided daily, and lunch and dinner are provided at an extra cost. There’s a mammoth gym that one particularly buff resident says “makes Equinox seem like 24 Hour Fitness” and not one but two pools: a 75-foot indoor one just for laps and an elaborate outdoor swimmer lined with cabanas. The house Rolls chauffeurs residents on shopping trips to Rodeo Drive or picks them up from a bar when they’re drunk. Tenants use an app-based valet service to have their own cars detailed or fueled before their feet touch the lobby’s gold-streaked Italian travertine floor or to request a macchiato be waiting for them when they get home. There are also indoor and outdoor movie theaters, a tennis court, a 2,000-square-foot dog run, a game room with a wet bar, and an elaborate, Eames-inspired kids’ studio. A staff of more than 80 sees to residents’ every wish, from dealing with dry cleaning to booking last-minute Botox appointments.
“We have created that large-home environment without the hassle of ownership and daily management,” says Monir.
And when human hands aren’t enough, there’s a robot named Charley, who resembles R2-D2 from Star Wars. It delivers meals, packages and suffers the occasional technical glitch. One tenant waiting on Charley to bring something to his place found the automaton “running repeatedly into a wall like some sad, busted Roomba.”
Security is, as one would expect, tight. There’s a 24-7 patrol, destination elevators that only go to floors you’re approved for, and back entrances for residents in need of more privacy. But, Monir says, rumors that they have Israeli intelligence officers on staff are untrue. “Ten Thousand is very secure. But no, no Mossad members to date,” she says with a laugh.
The sky-high luxe high-rise trend isn’t limited to L.A. Such buildings have been popular overseas for years, and Crescent Heights has built a 10K lookalike in Chicago called NEMA. The company is also developing similar properties in South Beach, Dallas, and New York.
And while Crescent Heights claims to have kicked off the caviar lease trend, Apartment Guide magazine’s managing director, Brian Carberry, says it won’t be the last. “Competitors are following suit in major metropolitan areas,” he says. “Seattle has an amenity-rich property called Kiara that recently opened with units renting as high as 18K.”
Developers are making a multibillion-dollar bet that rich people will be willing to fork over great sums of money for much less space and greater convenience.
“Time has become the world’s most valuable resource,” says Monir. “The amount of time you save living here is surreal.”
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