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Troubled Oakland Spec House Finally Sells After 7 Years: $2.5 Million

Long an opulent albatross, house in the hills finally goes to Miami buyers

Even seven-figure homes have rags-to-riches stories. The luxury pad at 13383 Campus Drive in Oakland, for example, has been a prodigy, an orphan, a derelict, a reform story, and now finally it’s achieved its seven-year dream of being a sale – to the tune of $2.5 million.

That’s nearly half a million less than the most recent offer, and a full million less than the original list. But for a house that, only two years ago, looked like the site of a Saw movie, it’s nothing to sneeze at.

The six bed, 6.5 bath, 7,000-plus square foot house in the Oakland hills dates back to 2009. A spec home, the developers ran out of cash, couldn’t manage to sell it unfinished, and eventually had to foreclose. Local hooligans observed that it was a half-acre property in one of the most secluded corners of Oakland with no one minding it, and nature took its course.

"There were holes in the walls, graffiti everywhere, just a major party house," says Roh Habibi (of Million Dollar Listing: San Francisco fame).

Oakland’s troublemakers did a number on the property but a huge favor for the new developers, who bought the damaged goods for a meager $800,000 and then poured $1.5 million into it, bringing in San Francisco's AE3 Partners to design the remodel.

The result was the "monstrous, beautiful" home (as Habibi dubs it) featured on the show, with stone floors, folding glass doors, glass-encased balconies, 10-foot fireplaces, a 16-foot marble island in the kitchen and an exterior spiral staircase. The Campus Drive house went from hole in the ground to whole hog.

It was also a bit of an albatross, because who do you even sell a house like this to in Oakland? Compared to San Francisco, the town is not a place where wealthy buyers shop for status symbol homes, even in the hills. And although Campus Drive is beautiful, it’s also as close to the middle of nowhere as you get and still be considered Oakland.

Habibi tried floating it to Chinese investors, but they all passed in favor of homes near good schools. His next trick was to call Bay Area sports agents and dangle the property as a potential "bachelor pad turned family pad," and then, later, to cast a net for entertainment industry types who would see its remoteness as an asset.

But that listing eventually expired, and Oakland's Richelle de Vera took over. The anonymous buyer is moving from Miami and liked the "Miami feel" of the house, she said. It actually sold back in February, but for technical reasons the sale didn't officially register until yesterday.

And so the seven-year saga of the giant house on Campus Drive concludes with it becoming the one thing it's never been before: somebody’s actual home.