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Six-story mansion is five stories underground

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Click on photo to see even more images. (Photo by Mark Singer Photography)

Click on photo to see even more images. (Photo by Mark Singer Photography)

What is a millionaire to do when he wants a huge mansion, but local laws only let him build one level?

Build underground, of course.

John Z. Blazevich, chief executive of shrimp importer Viva Food Group, followed the letter of the law when he built his enormous 50,000 square-foot, Spanish-style home. Only one level is above ground, and rest of the massive Rolling Hills, Calif. residence extends five stories into the earth.

One of two wooden ceilings in the house that are fitted together, in the above-ground portion of the estate. (Photo by Mark Singer Photography)

One of two wooden ceilings in the house that are fitted together, in the above-ground portion of the estate. (Photo …

Blazevich’s home recently hit the market with a whopping $53 million price tag and a long list of unique amenities that give the term “the works” an entirely new meaning. (Click here or on a photo to go to a slideshow, with pictures of the home’s above- and below-ground features.)

The 8-acre estate, fondly called Hacienda de la Paz, includes a guest house, nine bedrooms with patios and 25 bathrooms, most of which are underground. It also includes a 10,000-square-foot hammam (a Turkish bath spa room), reflecting pool, secret passages, an indoor tennis court, elevators, fully-stocked wine cellar, massage shower, ballroom and balconies, all located underground. The outdoor property also includes an swimming pool, bocce court, stables and olive trees.

Above ground, there are clear views of the Los Angeles basin, San Gabriel Mountains and Santa Monica Bay.

Jeff Burbank, marketing analyst for Christie’s International Real Estate, who works with Hacienda de la Paz’s listing agent, Marcie Hartley, of Hilton and Hyland/Christie’s, said the price reflects the property’s details and amenities.

A masterpiece that took 17 years to complete, the home provides an authentic quality of design and extreme attention to detail, which all contribute to the value of the home, Burbank said. (Click here or on a photo to go to a slideshow, with pictures of the home’s above- and below-ground features.)

“The investment in the property meets or exceeds the asking price,” he said. “The estate’s size alone is a major factor. And the property, as well as the site preparation, was a significant expense in itself.”

The attention to detail is obvious. The driveway leading up to Hacienda de la Paz, roughly translated to “the house of peace,” is lined with 70-year-old carob trees. Small accents, such as decorative nails, line the entry door. The home’s flooring is made from 300-year-old submerged timbers, and custom hardware and stonework crafted by European artisans are featured throughout the property.

The impressive abode is located in an exclusive gated community that was ranked as the fourth-richest community in the U.S., with a population of a little more than 1,000 people who are active in the equestrian community, Burbank said.

As for its ideal buyer, the home’s subterranean levels and space is perfect for someone who values security and privacy; someone who needs to be in Los Angeles but values the more laid-back coastal lifestyle.

The security and privacy is no joke: the home has back-up generators, a system that turns the indoor pool water into oxygen, thermal generated power and a state-of-the-art security system.

The home also offers exceptional entertaining facilities, including a ballroom with an overhead balcony, columns and hand-painted murals—not to mention enough space for 350 people plus a full orchestra. (You can also see many more pictures in our slideshow.)

Ultimately, Burbank said, the home’s unique offerings, fixtures and ability to surprise potential buyers with its magnificence and grandeur, makes it worth every penny—all 5.3 billion of them.

Ilyce Glink is an award-winning, nationally syndicated real estate columnist, blogger and radio talk show host, and managing editor of the Equifax Finance Blog. Follow her on Twitter @Glink.


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