Jasper Venture Group Makes the Unbuildable Buildable

Ilio Mavlyanov assembled a team of top-notch professionals for another west coast project for Jasper Venture Group. The project strategy called for a ‘“horizontal development” phase. In this case, it referred to obtaining permits and adding infrastructure to ready a particular plot of land for vertical construction. This phase in modern home development is also consistently referred to as horizontal improvements. It includes zoning changes, mapping, ground clearing activities, cutting roads, installing utilities, and paving roads, sidewalks, and gutters.

These tasks were exactly what Ilio Mavlyanov and Jasper Venture Group were able to successfully bring to this Encino, CA hillside property to get the development across the finish line. Using these tactics, they were able to complete the infrastructure build, find it a proper place on the market, and sell it.

The Home Perfect for a Sloping Hillside in Encino

At the time Ilio Mavlyanov acquired the Encino property already in progress, Jasper Venture Group neared the completion of a 15,000 square foot hillside entertaining hideaway off of Mulholland Drive above Beverly Hills.  The Encino project was another interesting, yet understandable investment for Mavlyanov and the Jasper team given their overall mission to develop and/or redevelop unique properties that will enhance and diversify its neighborhood appeal.

The land had already been stripped by previous developers to create the most durable foundation possible. This property was basically a vertical hillside in the beginning and Ilio Mavlyanov and his colleagues decided VEA Architects were up to the task of creating a beautiful, solid, livable structure that would assist this property in squeezing into the hillside with basically no ground underneath with which to brace itself.

How Many Engineers Does it Take to…?

More importantly, Ilio Mavlyanov uncovered and brought together a slate of engineering service teams that would work in tandem with VEA to address the issues faced by the structure of the land. The multiple companies Mavlyanov hired supported specific niches within the professional engineering landscape and each perfectly co-existed to support the structural enhancements for the home that had already started its build. Each team also did its part to reframe the home’s physical natural dwelling place which was hanging off the side of an intensely vertical sloping hill in Encino.

As stated above, Jasper Venture Group took the lead in the development of the Encino property. Entitlements, unattainable by previous developing ownership, needed to be obtained to finish this specific hillside construction. Without hesitation, the developers began to create the bureaucratic roadmap they needed to methodically gather all of the correct entitlements and approvals for the property. A feat endeavored on three separate occasions by previous owners, the Jasper team completed all tasks successfully without pause. Changing city ordinances and laws was tricky to manage and pull off, but more on those challenges below.

With a pathway to the property’s finish line drawn, Sassan Geosciences came on board as the geotechnical engineering squad to helm the design while other civil engineers and structural engineers (NVZ Engineering) were hired to complete the team needed to make this hillside property come to life.

How Mavlyanov and Team Finally Landed Unattainable Entitlements

A hill, by all reasonable definitions, is not flat land. A sloping property provides many costly moments to developers. Three times, the previous owners of this particular lot had failed to gather the proper approvals needed to build on the sloping hillside.

Jasper Venture Group’s dynamite team of architects and engineers collaborated to gather all needed approvals for the property in order to finalize and finish all infrastructure development and ultimately prepare the house to hit the marketplace.

Under the new ordinances, the previous developers were limited in the amount of excavated soil they could remove from the property site which kept it from reaching its full potential. However, Ilio Mavlyanov was able to gather approvals under the old ordinances to gain more freedom with the infrastructure built for the house.

In the following year and many miles from Encino, Mavlyanov and his team would again experience successfully maneuvering through these final horizontal development phases of a project when they would seek to change rezoning laws for an abandoned hospital redevelopment site in Forest Hills, Queens. Encino gave them the experience they would need when asked to do the impossible for the Parkway Hospital in NYC.

What are the Major Challenges to Building on a Hillside?

Other inherent issues faced by any team developing a home on sharply vertically-sloping land include:

  • A slower pace of work and therefore elongated work schedules,
  • Higher costs for the time spent and additional foundation work,
  • Creating a sewage and drainage system to deal with water during the build and beyond,
  • Setting aside storage space nearby for fill soil, or creating staging areas for vehicles that might be trucking in new soil if needed.
  • Access to the house
  • Replenishing the construction site as normal worker wear and tear will erode,
  • finding specific soil types,
  • landscaping needs.

All of these issues are to be attended to in a specific time frame, but above all, the developer needs all parties to stay within budget while doing so.

So why did Jasper Venture Group choose to build this house on this sloping hillside property in Encino with all of these incredibly costly challenges that could have been anticipated from the beginning?

Jasper Venture Group’s Aggressive Redevelopment Strategies Made Encino Ideal

Jasper Venture Group CEO Ilio Mavlyanov was based on the east coast in NYC, but Jasper was not a stranger to sloped property designs in the hills of Southern California. Mavlyanov and his team were in the process of building a mammoth hillside fortress in Beverly Hills.  With one hillside success almost under his belt, Ilio Mavlyanov jumped into this project with excited confidence.

The Jasper Team understood that a true sloped property build would be more complicated, but the team knew there were so many benefits to this type of property. Houses built on hillsides guaranteed a few amazing benefits when all was said and done. Those benefits include:

  • Landscaping
  • Extra Space
  • Seclusion
  • Natural Lighting

This hillside property had all of the above plus the final home offered multiple elevated decks, an elevated pool, and an elevated carport for the new owners. While there are many drawbacks and hoops to jump through in order to obtain the right to build in such aggressively inclined areas, the final masterpiece was a true knockout for the developers at Jasper Venture Group and the team of talented architects and engineers that collaborated on the hillside house in Encino

How Did Ilio Mavlyanov’s Team Successfully Root the Encino Home to the land?

Sloped Homes use two definitive methods of support in order to create a foundation that will support the entire structure. Developers either utilize stilts or the cut and fill process to level out the foundation where the property will go up.

Cut and Fill Leveling Process

The term ‘cut and fill’ refers to adding or removing soil or both to level the ground for the foundation. Bringing in the soil to fill the plot can level it, or removing soil from the slope can be both taken away in trucks or used to finish retaining walls for the home. Cut and fill can make construction significantly more expensive than that of a house on a flat lot, depending on the grade, soil conditions, and more.


Stabilizing a house on stilts rather than cutting into the slope involves using a crane to hoist it onto supporting columns made of wood or steel. Compared with cut and fill, this is a much more economical method as well as opens up new possibilities for home placement.

The team brought together by Ilio Mavlyanov to successfully wade through the horizontal development needs of the Encino home made the choice to give the home an intensely solid infrastructure and foundation with the cut and fill leveling method on the land prior to building. By using this method to construct its foundation, the

developers left the architects with so many more design choices for the home in the end. 

Jasper Venture Group’s Encino hillside house was sold to new developers, by high-end broker Stephen Apelian from Coldwell Banker, to complete the vertical development phase. With the structural work done by Ilio Mavlyanov and his team, the property was given the chance to become a true masterpiece and the perfect place to call home.

Project renderings displayed above were designed by VEA Architects.