Neighbors thought Les Young was building a hotel or condominiums in his backyard. Instead, he has been creating what he affectionately calls his "castle," an expansion and remodeling of his 50-year-old, 2,500-square-foot home in a modest suburb of Los Angeles.
When completed in May, the 1 1/2-year-long project will have about 14,000 square feet of interior space on three levels with seven bedrooms, eight baths, five fireplaces, a 35-foot-high ceiling in the entryway, a library, game room, study, den and two balconies overlooking some ponds and a swimming pool, already built on the 3 1/2-acre property he bought 15 years ago from Hal Dickinson, who was one of the Modernaires with Glenn Miller's band.
"Not bad for an ex-truck driver living in Tarzana, eh?" Young asked.
Though he has already named the house "McAlby," which is an acronym representing every member of his family (daughter Melody, sons Cliff and Alan, and wife Beverly), Young and his wife plan to live in the house by themselves since their children are grown. Is he rebuilding the house to sell?" Said Young's son Cliff: "Absolutely not."
Conspicuous consumption? Nope, Young says. "I love a challenge. I love fine workmanship. I love my business. (He's president and owner of Lesspec--a Woodland Hills development firm.) And how many people have the chance to sculpt a house to fit a lot? This is a labor of love."
Virtually an entire square block in the Beverly Hills business district will be auctioned on March 29 at 11 a.m. in the offices of Sidney Landis, 9808 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 302, Beverly Hills.
Landis is a referee for the sale, ordered by the Los Angeles Superior Court.
The 65,000-square-foot property includes the 34-year-old Beverly Hills Medical Building at 133 S. Lasky Drive, "where you can just stand in the lobby and see celebrities coming and going," Landis said. "Walter Pidgeon was a patient there, and Steve Martin is in the building from time to time."
Most of the 11 lots to be auctioned on the block are now used as parking lots but zoning could present some obstacles in development. "You can't go high-rise, and you can't build a hotel," Landis explained. Even so, he doesn't expect minimum bids to go for less than $1 million a lot.
A footnote: One of the daughters of E. L. Cord, multimillionaire maker of the classic Cord automobile and an aviation pioneer who died in 1974, is supposed to be involved in the sale, which resulted from a partition suit between partners.
Remember the well-publicized "new Hancock Park estate" that Dodger slugger Pedro Guerrero bought recently?
Turns out that the English Tudor home with swimming pool and tennis court isn't so new after all.
Alice Buckley, the George Elkins Hancock Park office manager who represented the sellers, says that the house was built in 1917, but it seems that the former owners, tax attorney Art Generaux and his wife, Diane (who moved to Mission Viejo), took such good care of the place that it almost looks new. (The property was listed at $1,175,000.)
The house is somewhat of a celebrity itself, having appeared in TV's "Falcon Crest" as the abode of actor Cliff Robertson.
Former Los Angeles Dodger outfielder Rick Monday and David W. Quinn have formed a real estate development company known as Alliance Partners Inc. with offices in Upland.
"We met a long time ago," the 37-year-old Quinn said, chuckling. He and Monday, 39, are cousins. "I tell everybody that I taught him everything I know about baseball and that's why he's no longer with the Dodgers." The Dodgers released Monday--18 seasons a big leaguer and eight seasons a Dodger--last June.
Neither one is a newcomer to real estate development, though. For a few years, Monday co-owned a Phoenix development company, which he sold soon after joining the Dodgers, and Quinn was formerly vice president, marketing for Burton Development in Rancho Cucamonga.
Alliance's first project will be an apartment complex in Lancaster.