LOS ANGELES — SELLER: Playboy Enterprises LOCATON: Los Angeles, CA PRICE: $200+ million SIZE: 5.02 acres
According to celebrity gossip juggernaut TMZ, the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles is soon to go up for sale and the owner — Playboy Enterprises and not Hugh Hefner — hopes for a brazenly quixotic and international publicity assuring sale price “somewhere north of $200 million.”
Given the highest price ever paid for a private residence in Los Angeles is somewhere around $100 million it seems improbable the estate will sell for anywhere near $200 million and TMZ’s unidentified sources went on to posit that the official listing price will probably be substantially lower and optimistically opine that the world renowned party palace will more likely fetch something in the neighborhood of $80 or $90 million.
So the story goes, prospective buyers who don’t pass out from the preposterously high price tag will be allowed peek and poke around the entire 29-room pile, except for Hugh Hefner’s private quarters that consist of a number of adjoining rooms on the mansion’s second and third floors, and should someone sign on the dotted line they will be required to accept a lifetime tenancy by Mister Hefner, now 89 years old and married since 2012 to 29-year-old former Playmate of the Month Crystal Harris. (We imagine those two have so much in common, don’t you? Anyways…)
The Gothic Tudor style pile, prominently set on just over five lushly landscaped and generously watered acres that border the high-toned Los Angeles Country Club in the Holmby Hills ‘hood, was designed by prolific architect Arthur Kelly and built in the mid-1920s for department store heir Arthur Letts, Junior. The estate was acquired by the pioneering soft-core pornographer and philanthropist in 1971 from entrepreneurial inventor and avid chess player Louis Statham for what was then a record-setting $1.05 million. A gated driveway sweeps through a petite redwood grove before it circles up around a huge fountain at the front of the imposing and somewhat dour main residence that the Los Angeles Tax Man shows measures in at 14,217-square-feet but some online resources suggest adds up to as much as 21,987-square-feet. In addition to the multi-winged main mansion the estate includes commercial and outdoor kitchens, several aviaries and exotic animal pens, vast lawns and extensive gardens, and a tennis court. A games house is filled with arcade games and includes a mirrored and mattress-floored room designed to look like the back of sexed up 1970s van conversion. Then, of course, there’s the world renown lagoon-style swimming pool and grotto where for the last 40-some years untold numbers of horny men — some of the biggest names in Hollywood, to be sure — have lustily cavorted with a veritable army of barely dressed and surgically enhanced young women. Frankly, you couldn’t pay this property gossip to swim in that pool without a full hazmat suit but, then again, we’ve never been invited to the Playboy Mansion and we don’t expect to be so that’s not really an issue, is it?
At one point Mister Hefner and/or Playboy Enterprises owned two other multi-acre estates in Holmby Hills. In 1996 Hef picked up the 2.28-acre property next door to the Playboy Mansion where his Playboy Playmate ex-wife Kimberley Conrad lived with their children in a 7,318 square foot residence with five bedrooms and six bathrooms. The estate was put up for sale in March 2009 at $27.995 million and sold in August 2009 for $18 million to its current owner, 30-something year old Pabst Blue Ribbon beer brand owner Daren Metropoulous, younger son of Greek-born billionaire businessman C. Dean Metropoulous. In June 2001 Mister Hefner — or, more correctly, a limited liability concern connected to Playboy — paid around $4.5 million for the so-called “Bunny House,” a 1.3-acre spread across the street and a few doors down from the Playboy Mansion’s service entrance on Mapleton Drive and that was used to house women who either were featured in or hoped to be featured in the magazine. The Bunny House was put up for sale in April 2013 at $11 million and sold six months later for $10 million to hedge fund honcho David Kaplan who, as it turns out, also owns the 15,000-plus-square-foot mansion next door.