Super Bowl star Joe Montana and his bride, Jennifer Wallace, will return from their honeymoon in about two weeks to their new home near Lunada Bay on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
The San Francisco '49ers quarterback and his actress/model wife are buying the Mediterranean-style house overlooking the Pacific from Jerry Indvik, who built the home about five years ago. Indvik is a well-known area builder who also built one of the most expensive houses currently on the Palos Verdes market--one priced at $2.9 million.
No selling price was given for Montana's house, which is still in escrow, but a local broker who requested anonymity and was not associated with the sale said the asking price was $765,000--modest enough considering that Montana, 28, has five years remaining on a contract that paid him, according to published accounts, $1.1 million with bonuses this season.
The 4,000-square-foot house has a gated courtyard, four bedrooms, a den, family room, swimming pool, spa and "lots of windows so you can see the sunsets, and on a clear day, Catalina," Jean Steubs in the Palos Verdes Estates office of Very Important Properties said. Steubs represented the Montanas.
But isn't it a long commute from Palos Verdes to San Francisco? Sure is, Steubs says, "but one reason they bought here is that a lot of Joe's endorsement (commercials) work comes from here. Another reason is a lot of Jennifer's work is here too."
Montana, one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the National Football League, met his tall, blond wife while filming a TV commercial. As the story goes, she was attracted to him because he took all day to work up the courage to ask her to dinner. Montana was married before but has said that this is, finally, true love.
"You can't call yourself Lord so-and-so or belong to the House of Lords," David Parry of Bernard Thorpe & Partners said by phone from London last week, but you could be "Lord of the Manor in Hoo" or "Lord of the Manor at Worminghall" if you buy either Lordship of Manor at an auction in London on Tuesday.
Billed as "the largest known auction sale of Lordships of Manors," the auction of 52 Lordships of Manor will be held by Parry's firm at the Merchant Taylors' Hall, 30 Threadneedle St., at 2:15 p.m., and the sponsors expect strong interest by American buyers "due to their interest in the English heritage, and the strength of the dollar," according to a printed notice about the auction.
"Americans like this because it's a link to England," Parry said. However, the purchase entitles the buyer to little more than a parchment scroll and perhaps a coat of arms and some documents that go back a few centuries but must be kept in local record offices.
The purchase does not include land but may give the buyer the right to remove sand and gravel "if the owner of the land agrees," Parry said, "but really, you're buying into history. It's a bit of fun."
It's a hefty price for "a bit of fun." Parry's firm anticipates getting 5,000 to 12,000 for each Lordship of Manor. Last week, the exchange rate was about $1.07 to the pound.
Price didn't seem to bother 400 people who showed up last year at an auction of manorial lordships given by another company, though. During the 80-minute event, 47 titles were sold, netting the equivalent of $435,000 with the least expensive title going for $4,350 and the most costly selling for $20,445 to an Englishman whose farm was in the district of the lordship title that he acquired.
If owning an entire town has any appeal, Johnsondale--that tiny Sierra community that was a logger's camp and sawmill for 42 years before the mill officially shut down in 1979--is on the market again.
It was sold about two years ago. "But that fell through," Rolling Hills Estates real estate broker R. L. (Dick) Burns, who has the listing now, said. The owners, Sierra Forest Products of Porterville, are asking $3.75 million.
The 750-acre property, 25 miles north of Kernville and about 65 miles northeast of Bakersfield, includes 80 cabins, a general store, a post office, a community hall with a stage, and a school, said Burns, who figures that it would be "great for a church group or corporate retreat." However, the town is a fixer-upper. At best, Johnsondale was a clapboard collection of simple structures for the workers and their families with unpaved roads extended five miles beyond Roads End, which is where the road ended before Walter S. Johnson and four partners established a logging operation in the area in 1937.
Even so, at the 4,000-foot elevation, the town has pristine air, some redwood stands and a backdrop of snow-covered mountains. It looks, Burns says, "like Big Bear without people." In its heyday, it had a population of 750, he said, but now there are "just a caretaker and a few mill employees who the Forest Service lets pull out some trees that have fallen down and rework them."