The futuristic—and somewhat infamous—Los Angeles mansion built in the 1970s for late NBA star Wilt Chamberlain is back on the market for $11.995 million.
According to the home’s listing agent Bobby Syed of Coldwell Banker Realty, the five-bedroom, eight-bathroom mansion relisted this week with a price reduction from the “very ambitious” $18.999 million price tag it was listed with in mid-2018.
Mr. Syed has witnessed the home’s evolution from a racy party house custom designed for the basketball player to a modernised family home with fruit trees and a vegetable garden over the years. According to property records, he was involved in the home’s most recent sale, when screenwriters George Meyer (of “The Simpsons” fame) and Maria Semple (who’s won accolades for the series “Mad About You” and “Arrested Development,” among others), sold it to the current owners in 2008 for $6.555 million.
The basketball Hall of Famer, who played for 14 years from the late 1950s to the early 1970s before passing away in 1999 at the age of 63, commissioned architect David Rich to design the geometric, modernist-style residence made of steel, wood, and stone.
As a former missile silo, the underlying property in Bel Air originally belonged to the United States government. According to Mr. Syed, Chamberlain was in a helicopter when he observed the lonely point from above and decided he wanted to build a residence on it.
The steeply pitched, asymmetrical facade of the property accommodates a spectacular main living space that reaches four to five stories high—so lofty that the current owners need “very high-end equipment” to replace the heating and cooling systems, according to Mr. Syed.
Chamberlain was over 7 feet tall, and one of the most practical improvements he made after taking over was to lower all of the bathroom and kitchen worktops to normal height.
“The bathroom sinks, the kitchen counters—all of those were super high,” recalled Mr Syed. “The countertops would come down to a normal person’s chest.”
“Now it’s all modernised,” he continued. Mr. Syed said the sellers, a couple of young business professionals, have steadily reduced the price over the years and are now serious about selling the property, which they’ve spent more than a decade refurbishing from Chamberlain’s initial crazy playhouse.
According to him, the owners also elevated the bottom of an exceptionally deep pool and hot tub.
The basketball player was well-known both on and off the court, and he frequently boasted about his sexual experiences. Whether his stories were true or not, Chamberlain designed the house to entertain. A stairway leading directly from the garage to the bedroom was removed by the owners, as was an underwater passthrough from the extremely big pool right into what is now the dining room.
“You could swim right under and into the house,” Mr. Syed explained.
They also removed the primary suite’s large retractable sunroof and hot tub, as well as a bedroom encased by one-way glass that Chamberlain jokingly dubbed the “boom boom room.”
In contrast, the owners have built out a route through the woods and added far more mundane amenities such as a vegetable garden and fruit trees.
“It’s all changed now,” remarked Mr. Syed.
The building, influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright, remains mostly intact, as does the quiet, hilltop setting. Mr. Syed said he could see all the way to SoFi stadium in Englewood, some 17 miles away, on a clear day this week.
He claims that the new price is far more in line with the current Los Angeles market. According to Mr. Syed, the seller is also willing to provide finance to the buyer on the correct terms.
“They were at a very ambitious price at first,” he explained. “I’ve positioned the price right in line with the marketplace.”