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Wrigley Mansion Conversion Starts

April 14, 1985|RUTH RYON | Times Staff Writer

Chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr.'s mansion on Santa Catalina Island is on its way to becoming a bed-and-breakfast inn.

Restoration and conversion work on the 64-year-old main house--with six bedrooms, dining and living rooms, kitchen, pantry, billiards room, sun porch and study--has begun and is expected to be completed by mid-June. However, reservations probably won't be accepted until August--still months before the start of Phase 2.

"The investors want to go through a season so they'll know what to do with the servants' quarters," a spokesman for the architect, Warkentin Cox of Costa Mesa, explained. Before they're done, the investors anticipate spending $500,000 on the conversion, including more than $200,000 in furnishings. The house cost $250,000 to build.

The investors, a group of island residents, are leasing the property from USC, which received it in 1978 as a gift from the Santa Catalina Island Co., a corporation controlled by the descendants of William Wrigley, who bought the island sight unseen in 1919. The 17-room, 6,600-square-foot main house, carriage house and 10-room, 2,800-square-foot servants' quarters were given to the Santa Catalina Island Co. after Ada Wrigley, the chewing gum executive's wife, died in 1958. He died in 1932.

His suite overlooks Avalon Bay's picturesque harbor as well as the estate's courtyard, lawns and gardens. From the sleeping porch, there is a view of the practice field once used for spring training by the Chicago Cubs, the baseball team he owned. There is also a view of the dance casino, which he built.

And what will it cost to rent this suite per night? A healthy $275. A single room will go for $85. The place will be known as The Inn at Mt. Ada.

Actor James Brolin, that handsome manager in the TV weekly program "Hotel," is building a new house next to his Montecito estate.

"He wanted a smaller house because his children are no longer at home--Jess, 13, is away at school, and Josh, 17, is about to star in Steven Spielberg's new movie, 'Goonies,' (to be released in June)," Joyce Painter of Sears Realty in Santa Barbara said. Painter and Stephen Black share the $2-million listing of Brolin's old house, a 14-room, 10,000-square-foot mansion built in the 1920s on five acres for the Swift (meat company) family from Chicago, she added.

Easter '85 is gone but not forgotten in Orange County, where a gala opening of the first annual Century 21/Easter Seals International Design House at Nellie Gail Ranch in Laguna Hills will be held this Friday.

And what a Design House! The new 7,600-square-foot home even has a tile inlay of the Easter Seals symbol--the lily--at the bottom of its swimming pool.

Each of its 14 rooms will fit the decor of a specific country. Items to note: an English chintz-covered sofa; hand-carved, solid oak lions; Chinese antiques, Scottish bagpipes, and drapes copied from some in an Irish castle.

Foreign and local dignitaries will kick off the fund raiser with a party on Friday, followed by a public showing through May 18 and an auction of the furnishings on May 19. Admittance to the $2-million house, owned by Suzanne and Cody Morrow, is $5 at any Century 21 office or $8 at the door (26191 Bridlewood).

"On a scale comparable to Boston's Fanueil Hall, New York's South Street Seaport and Baltimore's Harborplace."

That's how the Pasadena Marketplace, a 500,000-square-foot downtown redevelopment project that will get under way with much fanfare on Thursday, is described.

Promoters also claim that it will be "the largest commercial, historical restoration west of the Mississippi."

John P. Wilson--who moved millions of dollars worth of architectural antique furnishings in the early '70s and millions of dollars worth of real estate during the late '70s at the Kennedy-Wilson auctions, Bob Morris and Al Ehringer are behind the development, bounded by Raymond Avenue and Union, Green and De Lacy streets and including such fine old buildings as Pasadena's original City Hall and Ritz Hotel. The Pasadena Marketplace will have the Irvine Ranch Market, a multi-plex theater, 30,000-square-foot food hall, two major restaurants, half a dozen specialty cafes, alleyways filled with food carts and flowers, and red and gold trolleys that will transport people through the area.

The Thursday ground-breaking party will begin at 5 p.m. at City Hall with a parade down Garfield Avenue. Afterward, the Rajin Cajun Food Festival and Green Grocery, with food and dancing, will be held at 39 N. Raymond St. to benefit local charities. Admittance is $30 a head.

Oops!--Seems we got a bum steer on a Katz. The Joel Katz who is involved with Tom Selleck, Richard Pryor and other investors in the ownership of a Pasadena office building is not the Joel Katz who is the executive in charge of production for the 10-hour NBC miniseries "Peter the Great." Investor Joel Katz is president and general manager of CPR Associates of Los Angeles, a real estate investment firm.

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