Miracle Mile Will Get Touch of Hollywood

Times Staff Writer

Hollywood is coming to the Miracle Mile!

New Visions Pictures, flush with the success of "La Bamba," has agreed to lease the penthouse of the west building of the new, two-building Wilshire Courtyard, across the street from the L.A. County Museum of Art. The west building is at 5750 Wilshire Blvd.

"They're taking the penthouse, because Taylor thought it would be conducive to being a creative environment for film makers, and Stuart thought it is a good location between Hollywood and Beverly Hills--between other production companies and entertainment lawyers," said Les Small of Cushman & Wakefield, who represented New Visions.

Taylor Hackford is New Visions chairman, and Stuart Benjamin is the production company's president. Hackford directed "An Officer and a Gentleman" as well as "Against All Odds" and "White Nights," which he also co-produced.

Cliff Goldstein represented the Wilshire Courtyard, where New Visions will move in August from Hollywood, and New Century Entertainment will relocate from Beverly Hills. (New Visions is a joint venture of New Century Entertainment and Cineplex Odeon.)

The 10-year lease, valued at $7 million, will be for about 25,000 square feet, including editing facilities and a 20-seat screening room.


The St. James's Club opened in February at 8358 Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood, but the building--a restoration and expansion of the Art Deco Sunset Tower apartments--is already being sold.

Not to worry, says a spokeswoman for the London-based club, which counts Dudley Moore, Liza Minnelli and Joan Collins among its 5,000 worldwide members. "Nothing will change operationally. It will remain a St. James's Club, under St. James's Club management."

Even so, Norfolk Capital Group PLC has agreed to buy the real estate for a maximum of $34.5 million in cash. When it opened, the project was estimated to have cost $40 million.

"I don't think there was any profit," David Lawrence Gray, the project architect, said, "but based on my conversations with (owner) Peter de Savary, he's happy, and (because of the sale), he's going ahead with other projects of a similar nature."

De Savary, a multimillionaire Englishman known nearly as much for his interest in yachting as for his St. James's Club facilities (also in London, Paris and Antigua) and other business ventures, has been looking for a site in New York City and Milan, Italy, but had not chosen one by press time.

Gray, who says he spent about three years and every cent he had to acquire the deteriorating Sunset Strip landmark before he interested De Savary in buying it, isn't worried about the impending sale.

"The St. James's Club will continue to manage the place and do just fine, while Peter's money will be spent well redoing another old building. He should get big accolades for his contribution toward restoring old buildings in three countries now."

Norfolk Capital, a large United Kingdom-headquartered hotel and restaurant group, was granted an option to acquire the West Hollywood club last July, when it agreed to buy the St. James's Clubs in London and Paris.

Norfolk announced that it will acquire outstanding shares of capital stock in St. James's Club California Inc., which owns the Sunset Strip property, and will finance the total purchase price through bank borrowings.


Speaking of the St. James's Club, World Access Television (WAT) was announced last week at a luncheon there. WAT is a cable TV show that will air for the first time Monday at 8 a.m. on the Tempo network (Century Cable, Channel 10), and from what we hear, a number of people in real estate have bought time to show properties that are for sale. Promoters say the program will be transmitted by satellite to an estimated 15 million to 20 million homes nationwide. Eventually, it will appear in foreign countries as well.


Reno's 41-year-old Mapes Hotel Casino--which had such headliners as Gypsy Rose Lee, Mae West and Milton Berle (it's been awhile since the Mapes was on a roll)--will be auctioned Saturday by First Interstate Bank.

The 238-room hotel has been closed since 1982, when it was in bankruptcy. "We have no set price in mind, but a minimum bid will be established the day of the auction," Graham McKenney of First Interstate in Reno said.


Two items from last week are back in the news, because the American Cancer Society found a Westside mansion for its fund-raiser June 12, and that home is the $10-million one built on spec by Stephen Ball and Bill Mayer with their Eastern partner, investor Gary Rosenberg. More on that later.

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