Nearly 1,000 feet above desert land, a sprawling mansion is built on a mountainside overlooking Palm Desert. The Coachella Valley-designed home by architect Guy Dreyer includes three pools, seven bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, six kitchens, and a plethora of high-end amenities.
The property is up for sale for $49.5 million following the death of its creator and former owner, publishing and resorts giant Duane Haggadon, earlier this year. That high price will buy you what Coldwell Banker Realty agent Steve Frankel describes as “your own resort,” with a shark aquarium, waterfalls, pickle playground, and private office straight out of the James Bond movie.
“I call it, ‘The Office of Power of All Time,'” Frankel said.
Haggadon, an Idaho native, 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 hometown of Idaho into a premier vacation destination.
The millionaire bought Palm Desert land and built the mansion inside Bighorn Golf Club about 15 years ago, according to property records. The process involved a massive amount of planning, including a year’s worth of wind study by a Colorado-based company that had previously helped design facilities for the Beijing Olympics, according to Frankel.
“The company built a model of the house that plugged in 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 were open and channeled fresh air under any windy conditions, according to the listing agent.
There are no doorknobs in most of the mansion, according to Frankel, because the entrances are operated through the Crestron smart home system — although some hand knobs in “workspaces” leave hired employees to do things the old-fashioned way.
There are hardly any right angles on the property, a design feature that Frankel said was intended to make it “look natural on the hilltop.”
The mansion’s main house can be accessed via a garage for six to 10 cars (depending on the size of the vehicles in your group) and an outdoor elevator. This building includes several public areas, the main wing of the palace, a huge guest wing, and the staff quarters. The entrance to the dining room is surrounded by an aquarium on three sides with separate tanks for exotic fish and sharks on top.
Frankel asserted decisively that the sharks come with the property, assuming the new owner wants them.
The main building is connected to a second structure that includes four ‘mega’ sleeping suites with titanium fireplaces as well as its own sitting area and kitchen. The space between these two apartment buildings is extended by three nested pools, two of which feature infinity edge edges, as well as more lounge areas, fire pits, and an outdoor kitchen.
The large lawn next to the property leads to another lounge area and pickle ball court. Frankel said this area has hosted large fundraising events in the past and would be ideally suited for similar uses by a wealthy philanthropist in the future.
The third building – James Bond’s private office – is located a flight of stairs at the other edge of the property. Most of it is covered in original rock, although Frankl said the stone above the structure was faux due to weight considerations.
Despite the exorbitant price tag of $49.5 million, Frankel said he considered the figure simply “replacement value” for the efforts put into the property.
“I call it replacement value because by the time you find a site or buy it and build what they’ve built here, you’ll be involved in as much as we ask,” Frankel said.
“For me, it’s the perfect opportunity to own your own resort,” he added. “Once you enter those gates, you are in this fantasy land.”
As for who would buy the extravagant mountaintop mansion, Frankl said it was “obviously an individual or a family of great fortune” looking for a unique desert playground.
“It’s someone who will come and realize this is the most amazing property ever built in the desert,” Frankel said. “They want the best and they can have it now.”
James P. Cochin covers business in the Coachella Valley. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.