Valley Girl on Top of the Hill


Pop music star PAULA ABDUL has purchased a newly built, Mediterranean-style home behind gates off Mulholland Drive in the Beverly Hills Post Office area.

Abdul, a former Lakers cheerleader and choreographer, paid about $3 million for the house, which has four bedrooms, maid's quarters and 5 1/2 baths in an estimated 6,500 square feet.

The house is in a community known as Mulholland Estates, which overlooks the San Fernando Valley. Abdul, 28, was born in the Valley and formerly lived in Studio City.

Mulholland Estates is a 188-acre development of about 85 homes, many of which are still being planned or built, including one for jockey CHRIS McCARRON, which is in the framing stage. McCarron and his wife, Judy, bought the lot in late 1989 for slightly more than $1 million.

Abdul's house was built on spec by a builder who had bought the lot from Kenneth Kai Chang, developer of the community, represented by Joe Babajian and Judy Cycon of Fred Sands Estates. Gary Gold of Alvarez, Hyland & Young represented Abdul, and he co-listed the house with Randall Marcos, with Sands. None of the realtors was available for comment.

New Wave music mogul MILES COPELAND III, who manages rock star Sting, and his Los Angeles-based film production company, IRS Media, have bought a castle in France for $4.5 million to turn into a movie studio.

Known as Chateau Marouatte, the castle was built from the 13th through 15th centuries on the site of an ancient Roman fort, 30 miles east of Bordeaux. Its former owner, an English lord, turned the castle into a 21-bedroom, modern retreat with a swimming pool and tennis court.

The 280-acre grounds also have an 80-acre compound for hunting wild boar and deer. And there are several farmhouses on the property that may be converted to guest houses, according to Paul Colichman, president of IRS Media.

"We plan to do a lot of film productions there," he said. "We will make it the center of our European operations, and it will be a full studio with two or three sound stages by the time we're completed."

IRS Media released "The Decline of Western Civilization, Part 2: The Metal Years" in 1988 and made 10 other features in the past two years, most to be released this year, Colichman said.

"We'll also make the castle available to other film companies as a location, and we'll lease it out as a corporate retreat, for $10,000 a week, from May through August."

Colichman expects IRS Media to make its first film there in September or October.

ELIZABETH TAYLOR's former Puerto Vallarta hacienda, known as Casa Kimberly, is now open for business as a bed-and-breakfast, with nightly rates until May of $100 a room or $800 for the entire villa.

The actress owned the two-house compound from the early 1960s until last May, when she sold it to Frank and Toy Holstein, a La Costa couple who paid about $100,000 more than its $350,000 asking price, sources said at the time.

Some of Taylor's furnishings remain, but the Holsteins redecorated the villa and its eight suites, giving each a name from such Taylor movies as "Cleopatra."

The Holsteins' daughter, Kathleen, is the manager, and the staff includes two maids, a bartender, gardener, poolman and the same cook who was there when Taylor owned the property.

Taylor still owns a four-bedroom penthouse nearby, which has been reduced from $250,000 to $200,000, said Elaine Dannenberg, who has the listing with Fred Sands' Beverly Hills office.

Sealed bids will be opened next Sunday for the Bel-Air house that became a controversial symbol of extravagance contributing to the forced resignation last spring of California State University's chancellor, W. ANN REYNOLDS.

The minimum acceptable bid is $3 million in cash for the 4,400-square-foot home on about 1.5 acres. The terraced property has a four-bedroom main house, a one-bedroom guest house, swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts and parking for about 50 cars.

The home, which was built 38 years ago, was a gift to the university in 1973. It subsequently served as the residence of the university's chief executives--Glenn S. Dumke, then his successor, Reynolds, who was ousted in a dispute over secret pay raises.

Soon after bank executive James H. Gray was appointed as a university trustee last March, he asked why the residence was in Bel-Air when the chancellor's offices were in Long Beach. By raising the question, he said, he was made chairman of the committee that ultimately decided to sell the house.

"The gift could revert to the donor unless proceeds (from the sale) are used for another house that would be the official residence of the chancellor," Gray said. "We're contemplating going to the Los Angeles city side of the Palos Verdes area (to buy another house). That would be an appropriate location."

Henry Kusaba and Elizabeth Steller of the Department of General Services, Office of Real Estate and Design Services, in Sacramento are handling the bids.

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