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The difference is uncanny.
Above busy Sunset Boulevard and through one of Bel Air's three entrances lies another world. Six square miles of tranquility and privacy in the heart of one of the world's largest and fastest-paced cities. The peaceful silence is almost surreal.
As you wind your way up the hillside through LA's most exclusive neighborhood, towering ivy hedges line the streets, allowing only the occasional glimpse into the lifestyles of those lucky enough to call this place home. Though this absolute privacy is a disappointment to gawkers, it is treasured by every one of the neighborhood's 8,000 residents. It allows them the freedom to live and build their lives in an area free from restricted design rules or the discontent of their neighbors. With the county's lowest density rate, each owner can create a refuge on a large palette.
You won't find estates quite like these - with expansive lots, breathtaking views and complete design freedom - anywhere else in Los Angeles. That's why Bel Air, which has held onto its traditional look for nearly 100 years, is in the midst of a design revolution.
Rising up among the colonial mansions and Italian-style villas is the latest in sophisticated living: the modern compound. One of them is Skygarden, an expansive luxury development shaping up on the hillside off prestigious Stradella Court.
One of Mercer Vine's signature properties, Skygarden was meticulously designed to embrace all that is perfect about Bel Air. Its modern, open-air concept captures its unmatched panoramic views of Downtown, Culver City, the Pacific Ocean and Stone Canyon Reservoir.
Upon completion in 2018, the sleek "garden in the sky" will give its owner all the luxuries they could possibly want. It will be nothing short of utopic - an unrivaled living space in a nurturing family community, just minutes from world-class dining and shopping, acclaimed schools and a country club that is on par with the Augusta National Golf Club.
But most of us will never see it. Like so much of Bel Air, this modern marvel will remain hidden from the street, but a source of pride and joy to its future owner.