Local residents are angry at the idea of an 85,000 square foot mega compound being built in their neighborhood. The proposed compound would be located on a 5.2-acre lot on Tower Lane in the ritzy Benedict Canyon section of Los Angeles, CA. The plans call for a 42,681 square foot main house, a 27,000 square foot  double-winged “son’s villa”, a 4,400 square foot guest house, a 5,300 square foot staff quarters and a 2,700 square foot gatehouse. Those and other proposed structures would occupy a combined area larger than Griffith Observatory. City planning documents list Mansour Fustok of London as the president of Tower Lane Properties, Inc., which is the company that purchased the 3 adjoining lots, in which the mega compound will be built on if approved, for $12 million.

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  • Chance

    It’s overkill of course, but it’s not really an 85,000 sq.ft “house” per se, just 85,000 sq.ft of buildings. We’ll see I guess.




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  • Jayson

    85,000 sq.ft compound. That is crazy. What is with the son’s villa? Why the hell does somebody need so much damn room?

    eh, I guess it’s just a kick back to days gone by – when powerful families built huge compounds to display their wealth.

    We wouldn’t have the cottages of Newport, the mansions of NYC, nor the chateaus of Frances if not for projects like this.

    I just hope its tasteful.




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  • Daniel

    I’m probably on the other side of the fence with this, but as long as its ONE structure with ONE guest house, I think it will be fantastic. If its a compound of more than 2 buildings, then I’ll hate it. Square-footage is an irrelevant number to me, it is how you use it. Not to beat a dead horse, but compare Sydell Miller’s La Reverie (85,000 sq ft) to James Clark’s Il Palmetto (68,000 sq ft). Her house is much bigger, but it feels so much more livable because it is one structure. Il Palmetto on the other hand is spread over a main house, service wing, beachfront guest house, boat house and a pool house. Both are stunning without a doubt, but if I had the choice, I would always take the one structure versus the multiple. And for new(er) readers who don’t know what I’m talking about:

    La Reverie: 1415 S. Ocean Blvd, Palm Beach FL

    http://www.petermarinoarchitect.com/www/#/archive/name/107

    Il Palmetto: 1500 S. Ocean Blvd, Palm Beach FL

    bridgesmarsharchitects.com/project_details.php?CategoryID=1&ProjectID=1

    Same thing with Ira Rennert’s house. Yes, its 110,000 square feet, but look how spread out it is. It seems so unfriendly, almost as if you need a Segway to get around the place.




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    • AR

      Or to make this more CA (even Beverly Hills) relevant, take two Beverly Park estates:

      Take Steven Hazy’s estate (or Gretzky’s former one next door) at 67 Beverly Park Cir
      (Gretzky’s at 60 Beverly Park), both more of a compound than a home.

      Same neighborhood, Alec Gores’ at 49 Beverly Park is a single home, with partially-attached guesthouse. Though massive, it has more of a home-y feel..can be seen at http://www.finton.com and landrydesigngroup




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  • Al Robinson

    I’m guessing it won’t get built. Not the current plan anyway. If celebrities are going to complain alongside the other non-famous residents, the city will listen, and make the land owner go back to the drawing board, and come up with something significantly scaled back.

    Right now the largest Mansion in the Los Angeles area is “The Manor” owned by Candy Spelling. I’m guessing that when Aaron Spelling was alive, he had more leeway in using his celebrity. This mystery landowner I’m guessing won’t.




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  • Stewie

    I have long wondered what will come at this site. It is a huge site, massive. And it’s location is AMAZING. It has views of Downtown Los Angeles, Century City and most likely all the way down to the Ocean. It’s truly the best lot in LA in my humble opinion. It’s fantastic, the ground is mostly flat, it has amazing views, this plot truly deserves only the finest and most amazing house. I was fantasizing that if I had the money, I would want to build my dream house RIGHT THERE. And I 100% agree with Dan, it’s all about HOW those 85,000 sq ft are used. Sydell Miller’s place is massive, but also incredibly tasteful and just absolutely beautiful. If this place is done right it could look absolutely amazing. Anyway, I hope the city will allow the construction. For the one part, that’s a LOT of jobs for people to fill, which is always great. This house will be amazing I’m sure, it deserves to be. Thanks for this post Kenny, please keep us updated on this one I HAVE to know how it turns out. I give this project a green light and a 10/10 – I hope the mansion will be spectacular, befitting it’s amazing location.




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  • Stewie

    Oh and all those residents who are sticking their noses into this, it’s NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. This mansion will be on PRIVATE PROPERTY, and you won’t even be able to see it from the street, so stay out of it! I am expecting this to be fabulous, I hope hope hope this gets the go ahead and that the mansion will be incredible! I believe this could well be the greatest house in all of LA and California if it gets constructed




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    • Barney

      See now Stewie, I categorically disagree with you & Daniel, but that’s nothing new as far as he & I are concerned. He thinks that 20 to 30 times the livable square footage that could EVER possibly be legitimately used by anyone is fantastic. I’m sure you agree. However, the one-structure argument Dan states above also holds no water with me and as far as I’m concerned, it’s an intractable fact the homes of these size are literally nothing more than ego, materialism, BAD taste (and YES, no matter how well decorated/designed or art-filled they are) and greed run HOPELESSLY amok. Unlimited & continuous shows of wealth, no matter how charitable someone might be are seriously low-class to me. Don’t get me wrong, I love all things that are truly beautiful, well made, historically important, genuinely great works of art, etc., etc., etc., but in the eternally ALL IMPORTANT CORRECT PROPORTION,

      I totally sympathize with the residents of this area, and there is NO sane reason what so ever that ANY human being on earth NEEDS to live in ANY “house” the size of a WALMART, period.




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      • NOVA Ben

        Wow, I’m so with you here, couldn’t have said it better myself. Whenever I see articles and news items about homes/complexes of this magnitude, I get this nagging feeling that sometime in the future, possibly long after we’re all dead, projects like this are going to be looked at as either: a) hilariously stupid, b) ridiculously selfish, or c) completely tasteless
        probably all three. I realize that many people already see it this way, but I guess I mean it will be to the extent that people won’t dare do it anymore.

        I don’t want to start some rant that goes beyond the scope of this blog, but it just seems to me that as time goes on, projects like this that recklessly disregard the concepts of moderation, sustainability and taste will become more scarce, or at least we can all hope so.




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        • George

          You two guys must be democrats. I would be happy beyond belief if the house was built near me, it would increase the value of my home.




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          • Barney

            LOL….guess what George…..there are Republicans with good, proportional taste too! We are not alone 🙂




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          • Venom

            That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard.
            I am a Democrat and I live in a 10,000 total sq.ft home.
            I love you Republican pompousness and delusion that has you believing that you are the the only people with money.

            I 100 % agree with Barney with regard to this house.

            You also clearly know nothing about real estate as there is no guarantee that if someone builds a much more expensive home in your neighborhood that somehow all the other property values go up.

            If you have a neighborhood with 50 homes that cost between $300,000 to $400,000 and someone builds a million dollar home, guess what, the other 50 homes are still worth their original price. If anything these monstrosities are bad for an area because when they can’t sell, they run the risk of falling into disrepair or just making the neighborhood look bad in general if they just linger on the market.




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        • Barney

          TOUCHE’, Ben…….VERY well put. I mean, I’m ALL FOR a couple, or a family of three/four/five or more having their own suites, and more than enough luxuries, and enough space to house a few short or long-term guests if need be. Also plenty of space to entertain/have charity fundraisers’ OFTEN enough to have a home that will comfortably entertain 50 to at most 100 people. BUT, AFTER THAT…..it’s ALL utterly useless, greedy & materialistic.




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          • NOVA Ben

            It’s interesting to compare our attitudes and behaviors (in America) concerning materialism and conspicuous consumption to those of other countries, especially European ones. I’m not saying there aren’t massive estates and complexes and over-the-top spending over there too, because I know there are, but I’m referring more to general concepts and trends when it comes to material things and real estate and so-forth…Many European countries (and I assume elsewhere too) seem to be wholeheartedly adopting a general trend towards downsizing, reduced spending and reduced consumption. While the current worldwide economic recession can certainly take a big chunk of the credit for this, I think people are slowly waking up to the reality that we just can’t keep going in this whole balls-to-the-wall spending spree and consumptive behavior that is a hallmark of a booming economy. To me, it seems that America is simply significantly slower in waking up to these realities than some other places. As we as a society become more aware of these realities, I think it will become less and less socially acceptable to build properties like this one.

            Wow, I’ve REALLY overstepped the scope of this blog but sometimes I start to type and just get a huge flow of thoughts out almost without realizing it. All that being said, I love this site and am by no means bashing anything about it; I too have an obsessive interest in beautiful, luxurious real estate and probably always will…I just realize that there are more acceptable ways to create that luxury.




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          • Daniel

            Also Barney, I’d like to point to the Bugatti Royale as an example of why I vehemently disagree with you. That car was built during the depression, was unbelievably huge, unnecessarily powerful, cost a kings ransom and considered vulgar by many critics. The same with many Duesenbergs. Today, the Royale is considered to be one of the most beautiful, daring and valuable cars in the world. Was the car built out of pure greed and egotism, or was it because Ettore Bugatti wanted to create something the world had never seen? I think we should commend, not criticize people who commission these homes and the artists that create them. No one is going to remember a normal-scaled home, and why should they? What ground does it break?

            Careful Barney. The same estates you crucify today may be the ones you mourn tomorrow. All because someone thought that it was too big and not practical. Practicality is a stupid way to assess value and worth to something when you are talking about fulfilling a dream.




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      • Daniel

        50,000+ square-feet is fantastic! I love the imagination architects have. You need to be truly talented to create something aesthetically pleasing AND enormous.

        And I guess we should agree to disagree. I just don’t see how someone spending their OWN money on a PRIVATE residence can be greedy. I just can’t. Square-footage, just as age, is a number. I would HATE to live in some Utopian 1,000 square-foot pod, just because it is what I “need”. Maybe someone needs 85,000 square-feet. Try holding a charity event for 300 people in a 5,000 square-foot house. It’s not going to work!

        Oh Barney, when the day comes and it is my turn to build a Jeff Smith designed 75,000 square-foot behemoth with an air-conditioned 50 car garage, bowling alley, 25-seat two-story theater, ballroom and 100-foot long pool in the style of La Reverie, Rosecliff or Playa Riente, you’ll be the first one I invite. And then we can have a nice long debate how greedy, materialistic and egomaniacal I am. But I guarantee this: I will be a happy person with everything I could ever want 😀

        Money is no good if you don’t spend it! Why not spend it on something that will not only be enjoyed by you and your loved ones but maybe even a future blogger or someone with a passion in real estate/architecture/interior design? I actually want to THANK all the billionaire’s out there that have the same dreams I do…thank you for building spectacular residences that others only dream about. One day, I hope to be in your position.




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        • Barney

          Oh Dan, lol…..I most seriously hope that day DOES come for you, in this lifetime buddy! 🙂 As I’m sure you hope that someday I’ll be able to renovate a classic, 3500 square foot mid-century modern classic into a realistically-sized jewel box, and then I’ll invite you over and we can argue with each other ’til we pass out, and our household help drags our intractable asses to our respective beds! Our categorical difference simply lies in the fact that you permanently believe that more is ETERNALLY better, and I don’t.

          Maybe you’ll agree with me that the French have the PERFECTLY EXQUISITE saying that applies to both of us and our diametrically opposed views of life………….”VIVE A LA DIFFERENCE!”




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        • Chance

          IMO, there is no problem with anyone building any house of any size with there money. I one day hope to have a 30,000 sq.ft house designed by Guy Dreier or Steve Hermann. With that being said, anyone who builds a house of that size or bigger and doesn’t recognize the greed or egomania behind it is being delusional, any way you slice it. Noone on earth “needs” 30,000 or 50,000 or 80,000 sq.ft for anything at all. I’m a bit of an egomaniac myself so it doesn’t bother me, but people need to stop being so altruistic about these homes.




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  • Grrrowler

    Eh, it’s Beverly Hills. There are plenty of other huge mansions, so what’s one more? It could be a beautiful place, and the location is specular. Here is the listing for the property with some pics of the site: http://www.premierlaproperties.com/property-sold-properties/30/9941-Tower-Lane-Beverly-Hills-CA




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  • Someone Special

    Is there anymore close up pics of the renderings? Hope it gets builts its amazing!




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  • Oliver

    I mean as long as its done right i don’t see why it should matter to other residents. I understand the fact that these homes will likely be there long after we are but the way i see it is if i own the land im going to put whatever the hell i want on it. PERIOD. no if, and’s, or but’s about it. now there are limits to this such as if im planning to put a 300 ft tall neon tower on my property… then obviously thats not right. but as long as you cant see the house from the road and as long as its not too much of an eyesore for the neighbors then it shouldnt matter, DOESNT matter. Dont like it? you live in Beverly Hills, dont be a cheapass and by the lots nextdoor to block a future build. otherwise don’t complain. I do however agree with dan for the fact that i think too many outbuildings is dumb. A main house and a guest house is okay… you wanna throw some barns out there thats okay… but having a main house, a sons house, staff quarters, AND a guest house… thats just wayyy to many different housing buildings on the same property.. And on that note… im sorry but i don’t care how much money your dad has…. if you’re old enough to have a house of your own, get your BUM ASS the hell off your dads property and build a house elsewhere…. like seriously. and its not a little building but a 27,000sf “sons villa”???? like come on. if my dads going to build me a 27,000sf house im not going to put it right next to his, let alone on the same property. This is the rich equivalent of living in your parents basement.. Stupid.




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    • Venom

      Don’t blame the son, you have to look at their ethnicity and values.
      Believe it or not most of the rest of the societies around the world don’t toss their parents into the garbage or nursing homes like white Americans do.

      The richest guy in my town who is Arab makes has both of his sons live on the same street as him. One of the sons is a surgeon, but he loves and respects his parents enough to still live near them at his father’s behest, so he bought a house on the street and gutted it and added on to it. His brother is about to do the same also.

      Most of the East Indian doctors build massive homes and have their parents live in them with them, and one of my friends who has an 11,000 sq.ft house that could easily house his mother instead bought her a 5,000 sq.ft house 6 houses down from his so that she could be near him but still have her privacy and independence and see the grandchildren.

      White Americans toss their children out the door at 18 without a care and then are surprised when the kids toss them into nursing homes when they get old and never look back and never come to visit them.




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      • Chance

        Didn’t you just complain about someone making generalizations not 2 posts back or so and now you’re doing it yet again. Don’t be too much of a hypocrite now, wouldn’t want you to hurt yourself.




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      • George

        Venom I totally agree with you. In my opinion you have just written the most insightful comment I have ever seen on this, or any blog.




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      • Kyle

        The average “white American” is not some wealthy Arab or Indian. The average American oftentimes expects their kids at 18 to at least get a job and begin contributing to the economy and household, or they can move out if they please (most kids want to move out so they can be independent). They don’t just “toss them out without a care.” How kids treat their parents depends on how they are raised.

        If people raise children, the children usually don’t want to continue living in the same home with the parents, and if the children get their own place, they don’t want to have to spend the extra $$$ to pay for something for their entire family to move into. If a man marries a woman, he doesn’t want to move in with her parents, her siblings, he siblings’ wives/husbands, her siblings children, and so forth.




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        • Teddi

          This won’t get read because it’s so late in coming, but I still had to say something. Maybe you need to stop using the term ‘most’. You don’t know what the ethnicity of these owners are, so you should stop lumping them into the ‘most’ category.

          America isn’t the same as 50 years ago. The demographics have changed. And since I’ve spent my entire life around people of different ethnicities I can say that all the wealthy Arabs, East Indian and even some West Indians I’ve met do exactly what Venom is saying. They either buy houses close together, or the patriarch builds a huge estate and the married children get their own wing or their own house on the estate.

          If you’re around it, it isn’t a culture shock, nor would you be so quick to dismiss it. My W.I. godfather built a 20,000 sf house, and on the same grounds built a 15,000 sf house for his daughter and her husband. Even though the daughter and her husband are wealthy and successful in their own right. I’ve seen that a lot.

          But I think why the typical American can’t wrap their heads around that concept is simply because the relationships between parent and child is different in the US. Here we want our kids to fly away from home, leave and start their own lives separate from the parents, while other cultures would want the exact opposite. So don’t fob everyone off in the category of ‘people raise children the children usually don’t want to continue living in the same home with the parents.’ I’m not sure who you’re speaking for, except for yourself and those who think like you. You aren’t speaking for a large number of others.

          The kids leave, get an education, start their careers but still stay close to (or in the) home. Plus, before it gets poo-pooed on, those families seem to do a whole lot better and are a whole lot more stable than the rest of ‘American’ society. Divorce rates are lower, children grow up with a strong, stable family unit of parents and grandparents. Even aunts and uncles. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it and don’t assume that people don’t actually enjoy living this way.




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      • Barney

        YIKES, Venom…..careful, please! I HAD to put my Mom in a VERY nice nursing home, just five minutes from where we lived for 30 years, due to her Parkinsons disease getting worse & worse. TRUST ME when I say I did NOT “toss” or “dump” her there, in any way, shape, or form. I was alone, not independently wealthy, HAD to work, and thus could not care for her. It was a gut-wrenching decision, one she hated (which will eternally break my heart) but I had NO other choice because BOTH of my WORTHLESS brothers DID NOT LIFT A F&CKING FINGER to help or support me in any way. So, you’d be doing yourself a HUGE favor by NOT generalizing all grown adults who MUST put their parents in a nursing home…..agreed??




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        • Kyle

          Wow Barney, you sound exactly like my mom, had to take care of her mom (my grandmom) because my mom’s two brothers never lifted a finger to help.




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  • richvanc

    Well, Oliver…I agree with you! But then again, if it’s incredibly beautiful when complete it might be esthetically pleasing. And, that’s the main thing when you’re talking about a project of this size. ho hum. 😉




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    • Oliver

      Exactly 🙂




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  • YoureAllDumb

    Anything built on this site is an improvement from the current condition.
    It’s got a subterranean garage for like twelve cars. A pool. Some patios and paths and a few patches of grass. A barn, hideous wall and the rest is just dirt.




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    • Kyle

      IMO, if the home won’t be seen from where it will be located, then it really should be none of the residents business what the person builds because it isn’t going to affect them. I can understand a middle-income neighborhood complaining about some oversized palace that ruins the view or something, but otherwise, if the place is hidden, let the owner build what they want.




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      • Kyle

        Whoops, I wasn’t replying directly to your post YoureAllDumb, I meant my post as a general reply to the topic.




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  • testie

    wow I cannot even begin to imagine the comments when I build my 300,000 SF plus palace in Florida. Such hatefulness and jealousy is amazing over a 70,000 SF house. A house that is private that is build from honest hardwork, why would someone be angry about it?




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  • daytrekker

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Saudi prince is the previously unidentified owner of a proposed mega-mansion site that has been the subject of gold-plated protest in the wealthy neighborhoods around Beverly Hills, the property’s previous owner said Friday.

    Prince Abdulaziz ibn Abdullah ibn Abdulaziz Al Saud — one of the sons of Saudi King Abdullah — in 2009 bought the three adjacent parcels with the famous 90210 zip code in Benedict Canyon, where the massive mansion on Tower Lane that is roughly the size of the famed Hearst Castle is set to be built, movie producer Jon Peters told the Los Angeles Times.

    The prince paid $12 million for the 5.2 acre hillside lot, set up a business, Tower Lane Properties Inc. in London, and made lawyers and contractors sign secrecy agreements to hide his identity.

    But the proposal to build a mega-mansion in Benedict Canyon has drawn the residents out from their gated mansions and onto the twisting streets of their stately canyon neighborhood in protest.

    They complained that the project— roughly the size of the famed Hearst Castle and located in the coveted 90210 ZIP code— is oversized for the narrow streets, that years of construction will destroy their quality of life, that the proposal would create mudslide and fire hazards and that the unidentified owner wasn’t acting neighborly.

    “Just because someone has millions of dollars doesn’t mean they have the right to stampede through the neighborhood,” said Nickie Miner, a retired neighbor and president of the Benedict Canyon Association.

    The neighborhood is home to Jay Leno, David Beckham, Bruce Springsteen, Lisa Kudrow and Michael Ovitz. Residents say the compound’s size — a 42,681-square-foot house, a 27,000-square-foot villa, a guest house, staff quarters and a gatehouse — doesn’t fit in with the neighborhood of stately mansions.

    “The pool house is bigger than my house,” Michael Eisenberg, a neighbor, said.

    When Martha Karsh first saw the plans to build 85,000 square feet of new buildings, she assumed there was a typo.

    “I thought, that can’t be right. It must be 8,500, not 85,000 square feet,” of new construction, she said. But as she dug deeper, the scale of the compound became clear, while the identity of the property’s future residents is still a mystery.

    Mansour Fustok — King Abdullah’s former brother-in-law and the uncle of one of the king’s sons, according to the Los Angeles Times — is listed on city planning documents as president of Tower Lane Properties. The documents list Rutter Hobbs & Davidoff Inc. as the law firm involved in the development; attorneys with the firm have previously represented companies owned by Saudi royal family members, the Times reported.

    A message left for Olivia Goodkin, a Rutter Hobbs attorney who was listed as the registered agent for Tower Lane Properties, was not returned Tuesday afternoon.

    “It’s not even going to be a summer home,” Eisenberg said. “We’re told it’ll be occupied only one month a year.”

    Eisenberg and Karsh formed a group called Save Benedict Canyon, put up a website and went door-to-door to let their neighbors know about the proposal. They say city planners need to put the project through a rigorous environmental review and plan to show up with their lawyers at the next planning commission meeting April 14.

    “They do horrible things on the ridgeline,” Karsh said, referring to outsize mansions built in the hills. “This is a chance for L.A. to say there’s a line, and past it is just too much.”

    At the press conference, residents were determined to sound like regular folks fighting for their quality of life.

    “On this street, there are three families with kids,” said stay-at-home mom MaryBeth Abdo, who moved into the neighborhood from Switzerland only eight months ago. “Many of these people have lived here for more than 10 years.”

    But their conversations didn’t sound like the average block party chit-chat, as they discussed where Springsteen and Kudrow live.

    “Springsteen has 24-hour security, when he’s here,” Eisenberg said. “But I’ve been in his house. It’s totally normal, modest even.”




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