Lavish parties and a legendary owner are what originally put the Playboy mansion on the map, but the gated property in Holmby Hills could become a historic-cultural monument in a measure introduced at Tuesday night’s Los Angeles City Council meeting.
The motion, introduced by Councilman Paul Koretz and seconded by Councilman Bob Blumenfield, would limit the modifications that could be made to the estate and prevent the mansion from being demolished without city approval.
But the city’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee and Cultural Heritage Commission must agree the world-renown property located at 10236 Charing Cross Road is indeed a cultural artifact. The measure is now pending in the land-use committee.
The 22-room manor was built in 1927 by architect Arthur R. Kelly for the son of Broadway department store founder Arthur Letts, Arthur Letts, Jr.
Hugh Hefner purchased the property through Playboy Enterprises in 1971, ushering in a time period during which the property gained cult status as the epicenter of its owner’s extravagant and sexually liberal lifestyle.
In his motion, Koretz argues that the 21,987-square-foot expanse is also “an excellent example of a Gothic-Tudor architectural style residence in the city.”
“It is imperative that the City’s historic-cultural treasures be celebrated, and foremost, that its historical sites be preserved for future generations,” he said, noting it is also identified as an architectural resource in Los Angeles’ survey of historic sites.
Despite closing at half of Hefner’s original asking price, it was still the most expensive home ever sold in Los Angeles.
Its new owner, billionaire businessman Daren Metropoulos, lived next door until Hefner’s death and had previously said he intends to combine the two properties,
In a statement released by the Hostess Brands co-owner’s office following the sale, he claims that move would “ultimately (return) the combined 7.3-acre compound to the original vision executed by architect Arthur R. Kelly and its first owner, Arthur Letts Jr., the department store heir whose father conceived and developed Holmby Hills when it was the Wolfskill Ranch.” But a historic-cultural designation could complicate those plans.