Meet the developer who built – and sold – the world s most expensive home Emad Khashoggi made a killing with his $300M Chateau Louis XIV
From left: Emad Khashoggi, the Chateau Louis XIV and Mohammad bin Salman (Credit: LinkedIn and Getty Images)
In 2011, three weeks before construction of the Chateau Louis XIV would finish, celebrity real estate broker Jeff Hyland spent half a day touring Emad Khashoggi’s magnum opus on the outskirts of Paris. He came away impressed by the development’s splendor and attention to detail, but also a little baffled.
Sitting on a 57-acre park a short drive from Versailles, the mansion is built in the style of a 17th-century palace: gold-plated water fountains and marble statues outside, grand staircases and elaborate chandeliers inside. Also included: a nightclub, a movie theater, a moat doubling as an aquarium and two downstairs lounges. As Hyland understood it, one lounge was for men and the other for women. The design didn’t seem like it would appeal to his rich American clients.
“I was racking my brain. Who could I have for it?” the Los Angeles-based broker recalled. In hindsight, he said, the answer was obvious: “[Khashoggi] must have known up front that he’d be selling it to a Middle Easterner.”
“The guy just for lack of a better term has huge balls and put them on the table.
Four years later, in December 2015, the property sold to an unnamed buyer for around $300 million. It was reportedly the most expensive home sale in modern history. Last month, the New York Times reported that the mystery buyer was Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. It was a terribly embarrassing revelation for the crown prince, who s leading a so-called anti-corruption campaign against the elites of Saudi Arabia and was also recently outed as the buyer of a record-breaking $450 million Leonardo da Vinci painting.
Almost a century after the Treaty of Versailles, a French palace is a conversation topic in diplomatic circles again. Its developer, who happens to be Dodi Fayed’s cousin and the nephew of the world’s most infamous arms dealer, is receiving much less attention. While other builders of luxury homes, such as the Candy brothers, are masters of self-promotion, Khashoggi is a bit of an enigma.
“His brand is nonexistent other than this anomaly,” said Cody Vichinsky, co-founder of the luxury brokerage Bespoke Real Estate. “This sale put him on the global map.”
Real estate royalty
Khashoggi was born in Lebanon into an illustrious Saudi family of Turkish descent. His grandfather served as the first Saudi king Ibn Saud’s court doctor. His father, Adil, made a name for himself in the early 1970s as one of the owners of Triad along with his brothers Essam and Adnan. The holding company had interests in meat canning, oil, real estate and marketing ventures around the globe, according to Peter Hobday’s book “Saudi Arabia Today.” Eventually Adnan bought out his brothers, who each held 20 percent stakes, according to Ronald Kessler’s “The Richest Man in the World.”
Adil became a real estate developer. Adnan’s life took a very different turn: he became a billionaire selling American-made weapons to Middle Eastern countries. At the height of his wealth, he owned a 282-foot yacht (which made a cameo in a Bond film and later sold to Donald Trump) and 12 properties (including a 180,000-acre ranch in 爱上海同城手机版