Reagan 'Fund-Raiser House' on Market

Times Staff Writer

President Reagan may soon have to hunt for another estate in Santa Barbara where he can star in GOP fund-raisers.

The 31-acre one that has hosted several of these bashes is on the market now for $14 million.

Known as "Few Oaks," the sprawling Hope Ranch property is owned by Los Angeles industrialist Barney Klinger, who has held many charitable parties there besides the political ones since he bought it in 1976.

He remodeled the 21,000-square-foot house, designed by Reginald Johnson, who also planned the prestigious Biltmore Hotel in Montecito. The property also has two guest houses, a poolhouse with a dance floor, a building for conferences, a swimming pool, tennis court, an estimated 400 oak trees, manicured lawns and enough parking for about 400 cars.

Since the property was quietly put on the market in April after Klinger's wife died, Brooks Barton of Previews, which has the listing, has received "quite a few offers," he said, and actor Silvester Stallone, who has been searching from coast to coast for a place to put his private polo field, considered buying it. "He was thinking of putting one or two polo fields on the grass," Barton said.

The $120-million Grand Champions, Indian Wells resort, which opened in January, was so crowded with guests on Memorial Day weekend that the posh place ran out of lawn chairs, and the concierge and valets went shopping for more in local hardware stores.

That's good news for the Coachella Valley, where a glut of new hotels appears to leave some guest rooms empty.

Johnson & Higgins is the latest of Century City's lessees to play "Can-You-Top-This?"

The huge New York-headquartered insurance brokerage firm has signed the latest, largest lease in Century City's 25-year history: 5 1/2 floors of one of the twin 44-story Century Plaza Towers--the one at 2029 Century Park East.

Johnson & Higgins renewed its lease of about four floors and expanded into 30,000 square feet more for a total of nearly 137,000 square feet. The 10-year lease has a value of about $35 million, said June Walkup, vice president, leasing for Century City Realty Co., a subsidiary of JMB, which owns the building with Prudential Insurance Co. of America.

Walkup signed the papers to complete the transaction last week. Gary Storer and Wade Lamming of the Royce Co. represented both parties.

Before Johnson & Higgins, Orion Pictures held Century City's "largest lessee" title with its signing last December of a 15-year lease for 80,000 square feet of the Eighteen Eighty Eight Building on Century Park East. Industry sources estimated the value of that lease at $29 million.

Merv Griffin is building something magnificent on the three-acre Beverly Hills estate he bought last July for $5 million in cash, and some say it's a mansion in front of the mansion that has been on the property since about 1940.

That house, a 10,000-square-foot Georgian-colonial, was formerly owned by the late Liliore G. Rains, a daughter of Beverly Hills co-founder Burton Green. From one account, the former talk-show host-turned TV producer rebuilt the 1940-vintage mansion and is constructing a huge pavilion between the tennis court and pool. Other observers say the pavilion is a house for Griffin's son. For the moment, Griffin isn't talking.

Up the street from Merv . . . oilman Marvin Davis is said to have spent a hefty amount--as much as $10 million--redoing The Knoll, which he bought in 1984 for $20.5 million from singer Kenny Rogers, and now he's putting in a fence--cinder blocks covered with flagstone--that is so long and impressive that it's being jokingly likened to the Great Wall of China.

A nosy neighbor found out that Davis imported six or seven British stone masons, and one estimated that the wall, which hides the 12-acre estate, will take three months to build. "They're working their tails off, from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. almost every day," the ne1768384610home should be one of the showplaces of the world.

Speaking of showplaces, Aaron Spelling's Holmby Hills dream home is progressing on the old Bing Crosby estate, but so far, the TV producer's new house is still more fiction than fact.

Nobody involved with the project is saying anything, and--although the foundation has been poured, and a construction crew is there nearly every day--rumors persist.

The latest: Spelling's wife, Candy, will have a 4,500-square-foot dressing room; Disney designers are working on some robots for the playroom; several miniature houses are being built for Candy's doll collection, and the house will be 55,000 square feet.

That would make the Spelling house the biggest in town. The Knoll is 35,000 square feet, and developer David Murdock's Bel-Air mansion, formerly owned by the late hotelier Conrad Hilton, is about the same. Even the 55-room Greystone, the old Doheny house now owned by the City of Beverly Hills, is only 46,054 square feet.

A Spelling spokesman recently denied that the Holmby Hills house will have a zoo or an indoor ice skating rink. Those ideas started circulating when the house was in the earliest stages of design.

Spelling bought the 4.5-acre property, which housed the old Bing Crosby mansion, about three years ago for $10.5 million in cash from Patrick J. Frawley, president and chairman of Schick Laboratories. Spelling demolished the Crosby house, and Frawley purchased two houses across the street and is rehabbing them.

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