$49.5M California mansion equipped with shark tank is on the market

November 18, 2021
$49.5M California mansion equipped with shark tank is on the market
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PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — Nearly 1,000 feet above the desert floor, a sprawling mansion built into the mountainside overlooks Palm Desert, California.

The home, designed by Coachella Valley architect Guy Dreier, features three pools, seven bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, six kitchens, and a slew of over-the-top amenities for the ultrarich.

The property is up for sale for $49.5 million following the death of its builder and former owner, publishing and resort magnate Duane Hagadone, earlier this year. The sky-high price will buy you what listing agent Steve Frankel of Coldwell Banker Realty describes as “your own private resort,” complete with a shark tank, waterfalls, a pickleball court and a private office straight out of a “James Bond” movie.

“I call it, ‘The power office of all time,'” Frankel said.

Hagadone, a native of Idaho, built a fortune as a newspaper publisher and through investments in tourism-focused real estate. He was the founder of the Coeur d’Alene Resort, which is often credited with turning his sleepy Idaho hometown into a major vacation destination.

The multi-millionaire purchased the Palm Desert land and had the mansion built inside the Bighorn Golf Club roughly 15 years ago, according to property records. The process involved a massive amount of planning, including a yearlong wind study by a Colorado-based firm that had previously helped design facilities for the Beijing Olympics, according to Frankel.

“The firm built a model of the house connected to 135 sensors and subjected it to the rigors of a wind tunnel,” Frankel said. The results were used to design the structures in such a way that at least half of the facility’s windows could remain open and channel fresh air under any wind conditions, according to the listing agent.

There are no doorknobs in most of the mansion, according to Frankel, because entrances are operated through a Crestron smart home system — although a few manual handles in the “staff quarters” leave the hired help to do things the old-fashioned way.

There are barely any right angles on the property, a design feature Frankel said was intended to make it “feel organic to the hilltop.”

The mansion’s main house is accessed via a six- to 10-car garage (depending on the size of the vehicles in your collection) and an open-air elevator. That building includes several communal areas, the mansion’s master suite, a huge guest suite and the staff quarters. The hallway to the dining room is enclosed in an aquarium on three sides with separate tanks for exotic fish and sharks overhead. 

Crucially, Frankel confirmed that the sharks do come with the property, assuming the new owner wants them.

The main building is connected to a second structure, which includes four “enormous” bedroom suites with their own titanium fireplaces as well as its own lounge area and kitchen. The space between these two residential structures is spanned by three interlocking pools, two of which feature infinity edges, as well as more lounge areas, fire pits and an outdoor kitchen. 

A large lawn next to the property leads to another lounge area and a pickleball court. Frankel said this area has played host to large fundraising events in the past and would be ideally suited to similar uses by a well-heeled philanthropist in the future.

The third structure — the “James Bond” private office — lies up a flight of stairs at the other edge of the property. It is mostly encased in native rock, although Frankel said the stone atop the structure was faux due to weight considerations.

Despite the lofty $49.5 million price, Frankel said he considered the figure simply “replacement value” for the effort put into the property.

“I call it replacement value because by the time you would find or buy a site and build what they’ve built here, you would be into it for as much as we’re asking,” Frankel said.

“To me, it’s a perfect opportunity to own your own private resort,” he added. “Once you enter those gates, you’re in this fantasyland.”

As to who would likely buy the extravagant mountaintop mansion, Frankel said it was “clearly a high-net-worth individual or family” looking for a one-of-a-kind desert playground.

“It’s someone who will come in and realize this is the most spectacular estate built in the desert of all time,” Frankel said. “They want the best and they can have it now.”

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