What is being built at 901 Strada Vecchia?
A colossal – and illegal – mega-mansion has been under construction at 901 Strada Vecchia Road since 2011. After Mohamed Hadid bought the site, he illegally graded the property and tore down the original home to clear the way for a grotesquely oversized mansion that ballooned to approximately 40,000 sq. feet and over 80 feet high. That’s more than nearly four times the permitted maximum size allowed under the Los Angeles Municipal Code – certainly something we as “ordinary” taxpayers would never get away with.
How has construction affected the hillside?
We have watched with increasing concern as this illegal over-building threatens our homes, destabilizing the delicate hillside location and triggering multiple landslides that send debris tumbling into our yards and public streets. The property’s downslope neighbors live in fear of mudslides or an earthquake that will put their homes in critical danger.
Who is building this mega-mansion?
Celebrity developer Mohamed Hadid is building this illegal mammoth mega-mansion apparently with plans to sell it for at least $100 million. Hadid is a globe-trotting self-promoter who has appeared in magazines and on reality television. Hadid has acknowledged breaking the law, pleading no contest to criminal charges stemming from this illegal mansion. Unrepentant, Hadid told Town & Country Magazine he will never demolish the house to bring it back to code. “This house will last forever. Bel-Air will fall before this will.”
How does 901 Strada Vecchia violate L.A.’s building code?
Allow us to count the ways…
- The house is nearly four times the permitted size, measuring approximately 40,000 sq. feet and over 80 feet tall.
- Approximately 17,000 cubic yards of grading has taken place without a single valid permit – that’s enough to fill approximately 1,700 dump trucks. Placed end to end, those dump trucks would stretch more than 7 miles in length.
- An illegal 70-seat IMAX movie theater was built under the driveway and hidden behind a secret wall.
- An entire underground level was built below the basement, including additional unpermitted bedrooms.
- There are multiple unpermitted retaining walls on the property, with one partially extending illegally onto neighboring properties.
- An unpermitted pool deck is connected to the house.
- And much, much more.
In total, more than 60 pages of violation notices have been issued for 901 Strada Vecchia.
How has the City of Los Angeles responded to these violations?
The Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety has ordered all work to stop on the house 13 times since 2011. Mohamed Hadid has ignored every “Order to Comply” and audaciously continues construction. He has tricked City inspectors by hiding construction behind fake walls, tarps and plants.
In 2015, the City ordered that all unauthorized construction be demolished immediately. Hadid ignored that order, too. In 2017, Hadid pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges. Superior Court Judge Eric Harmon sentenced Hadid to three years of probation, fines and community service. “Fix it, and fix it soon,” the Judge said. But so far, we are still waiting.
What’s happening now?
Disturbingly, the City seems to be giving up its will to protect the neighborhood and force Hadid to comply with the law. The L.A. Department of Building and Safety is allowing Hadid to continue massive grading on the property – all without underlying permits, a public hearing or environmental review. LADBS appears to be trying to “fix” Hadid’s mess for him by allowing him to cut corners that nobody else would get away with.
What are you asking the City of L.A. to do?
We have a simple answer – either require Hadid to bring this illegal mega-mansion into compliance through the necessary variances, public hearings, and environmental review, or else force him to tear it down. And if he won’t do it, the City needs to. It is time for City Hall to enforce its laws and regulations and stop enabling a criminal developer. Either Mohamed Hadid follows the same laws as everyone else, or he must face the consequences.
What can the City do to protect the neighborhood from this hazard?
The City has the power to resolve this long-running problem once and for all. The property can be declared a public nuisance by either the L.A. Department of Building and Safety or the L.A. City Attorney’s Office. Once that declaration is made, the City can order that the property either be brought into compliance – through variances, public hearings and environmental review – or that it be demolished.
The time has come to declare 901 Strada Vecchia a nuisance and order it to be torn down.
LADBS and the City Attorney’s office both have the power to make this declaration, and for the sake of the neighborhood it needs to happen soon. While Hadid has been boasting about his mega-mansion on Instagram and Twitter, neighbors have been coping with landslides and watching in fear as massive work on the site continues. The time is now to hold the developer accountable to the same rules the rest of Los Angeles must obey.