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Scientologists Acquire Hollywood Landmark

Times Staff Writer

Hedda Hopper, Charlie Chaplin, Al Jolson and Cecil B. DeMille were all office tenants in a Hollywood landmark that sold a few days ago for about $5 million.

The Guaranty Building, on the northeast corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Ivar Avenue, was built in 1923, and was designed by John C. Austin, who also designed the Griffith Park Observatory and Shrine Auditorium.

The 12-story building, called “the first major high-rise built outside of downtown Los Angeles” in the Greater L. A. area, is 106,000 square feet in size, with 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail or office space.

Michael Solendar of Gribin Von Dyl Realtors in Sherman Oaks owned the building and represented himself in the deal. The new owner is the Church of Scientology, which is expected to use the place for offices.

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Speaking of celebrity office tenants, there is a 2-story, 9,000-square-foot building in Beverly Hills at 357-361 N. Canon Drive, which was built in 1947 for actor-singer Nelson Eddy and had such renters as Roy Rogers, producer Nick Vanoff and, most recently, Bill Cosby.

Now it’s for lease, through Michael Goodman or Martin Erck at the Jon Douglas Co., at $2.25 a square foot or about $20,000 a month.

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Actress Brigitte Nielsen, the ex-Mrs. Sylvester Stallone, isn’t letting any grass grow under her feet. She’s purchased a 10th-floor condo on Wilshire’s Golden Mile, and escrow on the $1-million-plus unit closed in a speedy 2 1/2 weeks.

“I’m a happy broker,” said Andrea Farber of Larry Alan & Associates’ Sunset Strip office, who represented Nielsen.

Farber has more in common than real estate with Nielsen. The realtor is also a songwriter who booked bands and rock stars for a dozen years. Nielsen just made an album in Germany and is now working on a movie in Rome.

Nielsen should be as happy as Farber, who describes the condo building as “the coolest place because of the security, gym, lounge area and help.” Marilyn Dunn with Merrill Lynch Realty was the listing broker.

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Vanna White has been looking for months to buy a house in the Hollywood Hills, and now she has, though the details are sketchy.

When I said, “Tell me about Vanna,” her real estate agent said, “No, this is Jana. Vanna? Vanna who?”

It was common knowledge that the celebrity hostess of the TV game show “Wheel of Fortune” was looking to spend part of her own fortune with the help of Jana--Jana Jones of Alvarez, Hyland & Young--but Jana was sworn to secrecy. I learned from other real estate sources, though, that White bought a newly finished home for about $1.7 million.

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Want your name on the Dance Gallery to be built next to MOCA on Bunker Hill?

Believed to be the first facility in the United States to be designed and built expressly for dance, the Gallery will be the subject of a press conference Monday at the Music Center, but the news is: There is no news yet on when construction will begin.

Ground was officially broken in 1986 for the $20-million, 100,000-square-foot facility, but a construction start is still waiting for the final $5-million donation.

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That’s all it would take to get your name on the complex. That should be enough to make someone like Donald Trump reach for his checkbook while doing a pirouette.

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Pickfair has closed escrow, and now celebrity Pia Zadora and her millionaire husband, Meshulam Riklis, can move in and start their renovations.

L. A. Lakers owner Jerry Buss sold the famous property, owned for nearly 60 years by film star Mary Pickford, for $6,675,000. Bruce Nelson of Asher Dann & Associates represented the buyers, and Marge Oswald of Rodeo Realty Lynch represented Buss.

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Forget Wall Street. Malibu had a good year for real estate anyway.

From figures just released by Dick Lowe of Malibu Country Realty, total sales in ’87 jumped to $307.9 million from $234.7 million in ’86.

Want to own a place on the beach? The bad news, for buyers, is that the average cost of property on or adjacent to the beach rose 18%, to just under $1.35 million. The good news is that even in this high-priced category, sales were up last year, with 75 deals having a value of $101.2 million. There were 65, worth $74.1 million in ’86.

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The strongest growth was, however, in condo and mobile-home activity, he said. And get this: The average sale price of a condo in Malibu but not on the beach was only $186,500--not bad, eh?


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