Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Stan Greene
Observer Staff Writer 

Playboy Mansion Escrow Closes; Daren Metropoulous is the New Owner

Rumor has it, Metropoulos intends to found a small liberal arts college in his name.

 

August 20, 2016

No article about the Playboy Mansion would be complete without .... wait for it ... Playboy bunnies! The 2005 Playmates at Play at the Playboy Mansion swimsuit calendar was shot on the grounds of the Mansion in 2004. Playmates Hiromi Oshima, Lauren Michelle Hill, Carmella DeCesare, Sandra Hubby, Irina Voronina, Cara Wakelin, Karen McDougal, Christina Santiago, Pennelope Jimenez, Marketa Janska, Krista Kelly and Teri Marie Harrison appeared in the calendar.

Daren Metropoulos has closed escrow on the Playboy Mansion. The home of Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner, 85, was held up in escrow because Hugh wants to continue to live there. Ultimately, the sale price went down from $107 million to $100 million, and

Located in LA's Holmby Hills, the "Beverly Hills adjacent" mansion became famous during the 1970s through media reports of Hefner's lavish parties.

The mansion is also used for various corporate activities and serves as a valuable location for television production, magazine photography and for online, advertising and sales events. It also hosts various charitable events and civic functions.

Why did Daren Metropoulos want the place? Well, the heir to the Pabst Blue Ribbon fortune already owns the neighboring house. He now has almost 8 acres of the world's choicest residential property. Rumor has it, Metropoulos intends to found a small liberal arts college in his name.

In January 2016, it was reported that the mansion is up for sale for $200 million, with the only added clause being Hefner can stay there until his death. The unique mansion ultimately sold for half that sum. Apparently $7 million came off the original $107 million price Hef & Metro agreed to when the property entered escrow, because Hefner gets to live there for the rest of his life, in exchange for $1,000,000 a year in annual rent. At 88, 7 years is a good guess on the old goat's life expectancy (my wife refers to Hefner as "That Old Goat." My brothers and I just call him "Lucky").

You've no doubt seen the Playboy Mansion in movies and TV shows, too many for us to list. In the 1987 Eddie Murphy movie Beverly Hills Cop II, his character, Detroit police detective Axel Foley, crashes a party at the mansion. In 2007, the Mansion appeared in an episode of the sixth season of The Apprentice as the site of a pool party held for the winning team. In February 2007, boxing returned to the Mansion with Fox Best Damn Fight Night promoted by Goosen Tutor in association with Sycuan Ringside and George Chung Productions. Guests included Shia LaBeouf, Chuck Liddell and Brian McKnight.

The 21,987-square-foot house is described as in the "Gothic-Tudor" style by Forbes magazine, and sits on 5.3 acres. It was designed by Arthur R. Kelly in 1927 for Arthur Letts, Jr., son of the Broadway department store founder Arthur Letts and acquired by Playboy from Louis D. Statham (1908–1983), an engineer, inventor and chess aficionado, in 1971 for $1.1 million.

In early 2011, it was valued at $54 million.[2] It sits close to the northwestern corner of the Los Angeles Country Club, near University of California, Los Angeles and the Bel-Air Country Club. $15 million has been invested in renovation and expansion.

In January 2016, it was reported that the mansion is up for sale for $200 million, with the only added clause being Hefner can stay there until his death. The unique mansion ultimately sold for half that sum.

The mansion has 22 rooms including a wine cellar (with a Prohibition-era secret door), a screening room with built-in pipe organ, a game room, three zoo/aviary buildings (and related pet cemetery), a tennis/basketball court, a waterfall and a swimming pool area (including a patio and barbecue area, a grotto, a basement gym with sauna below the bathhouse). Landscaping includes a large koi pond with artificial stream, a small citrus orchard and two well-established forests of tree ferns and redwoods.

The west wing (originally servants wing) houses the Editorial offices of Playboy. The main Aviary building is the original greenhouse, with four guestrooms adjoining. The Master's suite occupies several rooms on the second and third floors, and is the most heavily renovated area of the Mansion proper, with an extensive carved-oak decor dating to the 1970s.

Otherwise, the Mansion proper is maintained in its original Gothic-revival furnishings for the most part. The pipe organ was extensively restored in the last decade. There is also an outdoor kitchen to serve party events. These features and others have been shown on television.

 

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