Mel Gibson and Eartha Kitt have been doing their share to fuel the still-hot California real estate market.
Gibson--whose star status took him away more than once from his wife and children (who now number five!) in Australia--has leased a $5-million compound in Malibu, large enough for his whole family, while he's in Burbank making Warner Bros.' "Lethal Weapon II," which starts shooting in November. The compound has a tennis court, pool and beach cottage.
The actor's lease is one of several deals completed in the past 30 days by Stephen Shapiro of Stan Herman & Associates, Beverly Hills. (And did you know . . . that once a Los Angeles area home goes on the market, it sells, on an average, in 30 days? That, according to a poll just taken by Kansas-based ERA Real Estate.)
"I also leased a place to Al Teller," Shapiro said. Teller, president of MCA Records and former president of CBS Records Group, leased a luxury condo in the Wilshire Corridor. He was living in New York.
And--lest anyone think the for-sale housing market has cooled off--Shapiro was quick to add that he and Johanna Falduto, of the same office, have sold Eartha Kitt's 1.9-acre home on the border of West Hollywood and Beverly Hills for its $1.25-million asking price. The actress/singer owned the place for about 20 years but moved to the East Coast about a year ago, when the property was leased.
It has a 4-bedroom main house, 2-bedroom guest cottage, swimming pool and aviary. "I'm told that the main house, which is all brick, was originally a stable for the old Doheny estate," Shapiro said.
He also sold a completely remodeled house in the flats of Beverly Hills for Columbia Savings "in less than one week for close to its asking price," which was $3.3 million.
Shapiro believes in buying real estate himself, by the way: He is purchasing four, 1,500-2,000-square-foot town houses in Santa Fe, N.M., which he expects to rent out for a tidy $250 to $300 a day--but that includes furnishings and maid service.
"A record listing price for a single-family home in Orange County:"
That's how the $14.5-million tag on an 18,000-square-foot house, which is being built on Harbor Island, is being described, though we were reminded recently--with the New York home that was listed at $52 million but sold for $22 million: You can ask anything, but can you get it?
Bill Cote, who has the $14.5-million listing at his Cote Realty & Investment Co. Inc. in Newport Beach, is optimistic. Prices are up, and it will be five years in November since the current record sale closed--at $10.5 million.
The $10.5-million sale was for the Ahmanson estate, once owned by violinist Jascha Heifetz. The house--also on Harbor Island--was demolished, the lot was split, one house was built on part of the site, and Cote's listing is being built on the rest.
Cote's listing has nine bedrooms--including a 3,000-square-foot master suite; 12 baths, subterranean parking for 8 cars, 300 feet of water frontage, a main-channel view, and a dock large enough for a 160-foot-long boat.
It is a poured-in-place concrete structure designed, he said, to withstand an earthquake greater than any that could be registered on the Richter scale.
Yet, even Cote concedes that there are only so many big-buck buyers. Referring to the famous oilman/tycoon, Cote remarked, "We need a Marvin Davis down here." Or a Japanese billionaire?
Actually, by Forbes magazine's estimate released last Tuesday, Orange County has the second richest man in California as a resident: developer Donald Bren, chairman of the Irvine Co. Marvin Davis, who lives in Beverly Hills, ranked third.
Speaking of the Japanese and Marvin Davis . . . A Japanese golf club might not have the yen to buy the water-oriented Newport Beach house but reportedly expressed interest in Bing Crosby's former home in Pebble Beach, which has a golf-course view and was listed at $6.5 million. The Japanese club sells memberships for as much as $1 million each and has been known to throw in a trip to Scotland.
But you can get a taste of Scotland on the Monterey Peninsula. The Inn and Links at Spanish Bay, developed and owned by the Pebble Beach Co. (Marvin Davis and partners), has a Scottish style golf course and a bagpipe player who strolls the links, in kilts, each afternoon.
Whether or not inquiring minds want to know . . . the National Enquirer opened its first L.A. office last week (despite the death Oct. 2 of the publication's multimillionaire owner, Generoso Pope Jr.) at 8730 Sunset Blvd., just a few steps away from such celebrity watering holes as Nicky Blair's, Le Dome and Spago. The five-year, $270,000 lease, for the 2,000-square-foot space, was negotiated by Don Ferris and Susan Loranger of L.J. Hooker International.