Construction has begun on One Beverly Hills, a nearly $5-billion condominium and hotel complex that promises to transform the Beverly Hills skyline and be a commanding presence on its western edge.
With tall greenery-laden towers standing over a sprawling garden, the complex set to open by early 2028 is expected to house some of the priciest condos and hotel suites in the country, as developers seek to capitalize on the city’s international reputation for luxury and celebrity.
Owners of the property at Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards ceremonially broke ground Thursday on what they call a 17.5-acre “urban resort” that will unify the neighboring Beverly Hilton and Waldorf Astoria hotels with condo high-rises, 8.5 acres of botanical gardens and the first ultra-deluxe Aman hotel on the West Coast.
The scope of the complex, which will have by far the two tallest towers in Beverly Hills, marks a departure from years past when the city made a point of keeping its commercial buildings small scale compared with next-door neighbors Los Angeles and West Hollywood.
“Candidly, I think it marks a new generation of Beverly Hills,” Mayor Julian Gold said. “Cities need to grow just like people grow. They can’t be stagnant, they cannot stay only the way they were.”
One Beverly Hills will be “new and fresh in a big way,” he said. “The investment is enormous. It will redefine luxury in Beverly Hills.”
The Beverly Hills City Council approved the project in 2021 over the objection of Councilmember John Mirisch, who called the proposed development “elitist, exclusive and exclusionary.”
“Without affordable housing, the project has turned into a castle-fortress of exclusion,” Mirisch told the other four council members.
Gold said tax revenue from One Beverly Hills will be used to fund affordable housing in other parts of the city. He estimated that the complex will generate tens of millions of dollars in annual taxes for the city.
The two towers — 26 and 32 stories — will have a combined total of fewer than 200 condos. The number is variable because people may buy more than one unit and combine them, developer Jonathan Goldstein, chief executive of Cain International, said.
Prices have not yet been set, but Beverly Hills is one of the most expensive housing markets in the country and units can be expected to cost tens of millions of dollars. Recent top-tier luxury condo listings in the Los Angeles area range from $20 million to $50 million.
The tower residences will be branded and serviced by Aman, a Swiss company owned by Russian-born real estate developer Vlad Doronin that was described by Forbes as “the world’s most preeminent resort brand” and attracts such affluent guests as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and George and Amal Clooney.
Aman is best known for its small resorts in tropical locales or historically significant properties such as a 16th century palazzo in Venice, but also has urban outposts in Tokyo and New York, where suites start at about $1,800 a night.
The Aman in Beverly Hills will have 75 suites in a 10-story building. It will also have a club that people can join for a price. Its New York club made news in 2022 by charging an initiation fee of as much as $200,000 while receiving mixed reviews in local publications. Residents of the Beverly Hills condos may receive Aman services such as housekeeping and room service.
The most public aspect of One Beverly Hills will be the gardens designed by Los Angeles architecture firm Rios, which also designed the 12-acre Gloria Molina Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles and created a new master plan for Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge.
Rios’ plan for One Beverly Hills calls for distinct sets of botanical gardens intended to reflect the diverse landscape of Southern California with mostly drought-resistant native plants living on recycled water. The gardens will have more than 200 species of plants and trees, including palms, oaks, sycamores, succulents and olives.
“I am really interested in pursuing what a botanical environment is for the 21st century,” firm founder Mark Rios said when the project was first announced. It will consume tons of carbon dioxide while “teaching people that drought-quality planting doesn’t mean cactus.”
About half the gardens will be for the exclusive use of residents, Aman club members and hotel guests. The rest of the gardens will be open to the public.
One Beverly Hills is “one of the biggest projects in North America,” with a total cost of $4 billion to $5 billion, Goldstein said. The London investment firm is overseeing the development with OKO Group, an international real estate development firm created by Doronin, who called Beverly Hills “the natural next step for Aman as we continue our strategic growth into the world’s finest urban centers.”
The development will produce more than 2,700 direct construction jobs, Cain International said. It estimated that One Beverly Hills will generate about $40 billion in total local spending over 30 years, $9 billion of which will be new.
One Beverly Hills was master planned by Foster + Partners, with Aman designs by KHA (Kerry Hill Architects) of Australia and Singapore. London-based Foster + Partners is led by Norman Foster, an English lord perhaps best known for designing a landmark lipstick-like skyscraper in London known as the Gherkin and the hoop-shaped Apple Inc. headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.
Significant upgrades and restorations to the historic Beverly Hilton will also take place as part of the project, Cain International said. The Beverly Hilton was hotelier Conrad Hilton’s most luxurious property when it opened in 1955 and has been the home of the annual Golden Globe Awards since 1961.
One Beverly Hills will include shops and restaurants intended to complement the city’s upscale retail areas, Goldstein said.
Most of the early interest in buying condos is from local residents looking to leave their large homes, he said, along with international buyers familiar with Aman hotels.
Although the neighborhood is dominated by single-family homes, Beverly Hills real estate agent Bret Parsons of Compass said interest in condos has grown in recent years.
“We have an aging population in Southern California who need to downsize, and we don’t have enough one-level homes for this affluent population to move to,” Parsons said. “Condos are very appealing for an older person because they can be very, very luxurious, on one level, and you get all the services you can imagine.”
The One Beverly Hills property includes vacant land formerly occupied by a famed Robinsons-May department store that sits west of the hotels. The site was considered one of the most desirable real estate development sites in the country but has lain fallow for years as previous plans to develop it failed to materialize. Cain International was able to secure control of the vacant land and existing hotel property and unite them in the new project designed by Foster.
Merv Griffin Way, which cuts between the two parcels, will be covered by a new level that supports the gardens but remain a pass-through between Santa Monica and Wilshire boulevards. The garden will also cover an underground garage for 1,800 vehicles.
“This is our western gateway,” the mayor said. “As you enter Beverly hills, it will be amazing.”