Rockies Resort Has Beverly Hills Image

Times Staff Writer

“The Beverly Hills of the Rockies” is what some people call Beaver Creek, a relatively new ski resort 10 miles west of Vail.

It got the Beverly Hills nickname because of the well-known Southern Californians who live or play there. At last summer’s Jerry Ford Golf Invitational, for example, players included Bob Hope, Dinah Shore, Telly Savalas, Hal Linden and Glen Campbell.

During ski season, which is fast approaching now that the first day of fall is here, Clint Eastwood, Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford are frequent visitors. And former President Ford has a home there, complete with Secret Service guardhouses, front and back.

Beaver Creek is 4 years old, but there are some hot real estate stories coming from the Colorado resort.

Among them:

--A Latin American industrialist just finished a $7-million home there totaling 20,000 square feet. The house has marble floors and vaults for furs, silverware and jewelry;


--In the past 12 months, 16 homes valued at $1 million or more have been completed there;

--The 2-year-old Poste Montane Inn, which boasts the highest-priced time-share ownership units in America, is 90% sold out with one-week Christmas shares purchased for $49,000 each and two-week packages going for $85,000 apiece--all in cash;

--A $3-million golf clubhouse has just been completed and the Beaver Creek Mountain Club in a secluded 20-acre mountain meadow is nearing completion;

--There are still some single-family lots priced from $327,000 to $1.2 million, and Vail Associates is just beginning to build the elegant Park Plaza condominiums along fast-flowing Beaver Creek.

Oh, yes, one more item: The Gillett Group, one of the nation’s largest privately owned companies (headed by a fellow named George Gillett, based in Tennessee and owner of five network affiliated stations, 21 Ohio newspapers in the Sun Newspaper Group and three commercial printing companies in Ohio and Wisconsin), just purchased a controlling interest in Vail Associates, developer of Beaver Creek as well as Vail. The controlling interest was acquired from Goliad Oil & Gas Co. and three large stockholders.

Charlie Chaplin’s Beverly Hills home for 30 years, now owned by George Hamilton, is on the market for $6.5 million.

Hamilton acquired the house about four years ago, for $1.2 million. Since then, the dashing actor (who is about to appear in TV’s “Dynasty,” starting its new season on Wednesday) has spent a fortune on the house, creating a huge entertainment area overlooking the swimming pool.

“It is a house within a house,” June Scott, whose Beverly Hills firm has the listing, said. It has a bar with a kitchen, a video-media room, living room, two fireplaces, a sauna and a gym. Before Hamilton even started work on the house, it contained an estimated 13,000 square feet and had six bedrooms and three floors.

Chaplin had the house built in the ‘20s. Later, he remodeled it with the help of architect Wallace Neff. Originally on 12 acres, the property was whittled down to 1.1 acres after Chaplin sold the place to a man who subdivided it in the early ‘50s.

Hamilton was no stranger to big houses when he bought Chaplin’s. For about 11 years, he owned Gray Hall, known as the Spaulding house (because the owner was Silsby Spaulding of the sporting goods family) when Douglas Fairbanks rented it while awaiting completion of Pickfair. The mock-Tudor Gray Hall----which has 13 bedrooms, seven fireplaces, pool house and a 60-by-40-foot room theater--can be seen from the entry to the Chaplin house. Hamilton sold Gray Hall in 1971 to international financier Bernie Cornfeld.

Why is he selling the Chaplin house? Hamilton was so busy on the “Dynasty” set that he couldn’t respond, but a close friend said, “He always said he’d never have another big house.” Hamilton owns a plantation in Natchez, Miss., and an apartment in New York.

One of the newest historic-cultural monuments in Los Angeles, “the Magnolia,” will be open today between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to benefit cystic fibrosis research.

“The Magnolia,” Sherman Oaks home and satellite corporate office of Jerry Berns (head of a San Fernando Valley real estate brokerage firm bearing his name), was built by the flamboyant Theodore B. Hirschberg for $16,000 while the average home in the area was selling for about $5,000. That was before the Crash in 1929.

Hirschberg was a manufacturer and distributor of check-writing devices, and his company, the Paymaster Corp., is still in operation in Chicago. He was also noted for his extravagant parties, which many Hollywood stars attended. Some neighbors say Mae West and then P. T. Barnum lived in the 18-room mansion after Hirschberg.

Berns bought the Spanish-Revival, Art Deco house--which was in a sad state of disrepair--a few years ago and restored it to its former glory, complete with sleeping porches, frescoes and a doorman’s alcove in the dining room. The alcove dates back to the Prohibition era when doormen protected their employers by screening visitors.

Berns and his wife, Terri Jewel, are co-hosting the open house with the Westlake Patrons for Cystic Fibrosis Research. Tickets, at the door, are $10 each. The door is at 13242 Magnolia Blvd.

“One of the largest apartment sales in California:” That’s how the $31-million transaction involving the 390-unit Palos Verdes Apartments was described.

Both the buyer and the seller were syndicators, and they were all represented by Thad Doyka of the Beverly Hills office of Merrill Lynch Commercial Real Estate.