The publisher of a Japanese newspaper is under contract to buy the most expensive house built in Orange County during the last housing boom.
Toshiaki Ogasawara, publisher and chairman of The Japan Times Ltd., was last month’s winning bidder in the high-profile auction for 1 Pelican Hill Road North, the 16,600-square-foot mansion in Newport Coast formerly called Villa del Lago, according to recently-filed court documents.
Ogasawara is set to pay a total purchase price of nearly $19.4 million for the still-unfinished property, which includes a private lake, a horse stable and 17-car garage, among other amenities.
The $19.4 million price total includes the winning bid amount of $18.5 million plus a $925,000 premium paid to the auction company involved in the sale, Irvine-based Auction.com.
The all-cash deal is expected to close by the end of June, according to court documents.
The property went into bankruptcy last year after its initial development group, led by luxury home broker John McMonigle, ran into funding issues.
Creditors led by OneWest Bank were hoping for a minimum winning bid in excess of $19.2 million to cover their claims in full. Ogasawara's bid of $18.5 million falls short of that amount.
The 12.5-acre property, which has received national attention for its over-the-top features, hefty price-tag, and subsequent financial issues, was once listed for sale at $57 million.
Ogasawara runs The Japan Times, which is billed as the most widely read English-language newspaper in Japan.
He also counts numerous ties to the region, serving as a trustee for the University of Southern California, a director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Society, and a governor of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.