Talk-show host Mike Douglas, is moving at the end of this month from Beverly Hills to Bel-Air.
That's the word from Steve Moore of Jon Douglas Co., who represented Mrs. Sachiko T. Bower in the purchase of the entertainer's enormous--about 12,000-square-feet--Beverly Hills house, once owned by Harry Cohn, president of Columbia Pictures before he died in 1958. The house was built in 1927.
Douglas is moving to a smaller pad overlooking the Bel Air Country Club. His old house, on 2 1/2 acres with some guest houses, was sold, furnished, by June Scott & Associates. Selling price? Public records reveal that it was $6.5 million.
Why would Mrs. Bower, a businesswoman with interests in real estate investments, want such a big house just for herself? Moore shrugged. "Guess she's like Cher."
Cher built a house in Benedict Canyon about four years ago for herself with about 10,000 square feet of floor space, six bedrooms (each with a bath and a fireplace), separate guest quarters, a reflection pond along 1 1/2 sides of the house, a two-story atrium with a motorized roof, gymnasium, and some details--like fluted columns and an Egyptian statue--that led some locals to dub the house, despite its generally modern look, an "Egyptian palace."
Now the singer/actress is renting at Malibu. "I put her in one of the prettiest little homes there," Jack Ging, with Fred Sands Realtors, said. "It's quaint and tucked away, but it's on the beach."
Moore indicated that Cher-- "who's owned a lot of houses over the years, and I don't know that she's stayed in any very long because she likes change"--is renting at the beach for two months "probably to test it out."
Meanwhile, her Benedict Canyon home is for sale through him, Kevin Malone and John Aaroe at the Jon Douglas firm at a bargain price of $4.7 million. (It was reduced from $5.9 million.)
Never mind the periodic landslides, sandbags and highway closings. The sun-kissed beaches and bluffs of Malibu that have lured surfers and stars for years are still drawing them, judging by a survey compiled by Dick Lowe of Jon Douglas Co.'s Malibu office with the help of other brokerage firms.
The survey shows that real estate activity in Malibu was up in 1984 (except in "several isolated segments of the marketplace that are experiencing land movement") with a total sales volume of about $192 million in contrast with just under $139 million in 1983.
Beachfront properties soared in sales--from 39 in 1983 to 58 in 1984--but the average selling price increased less than 2%. However, other residential properties--which also jumped in sales (from 134 in 1983 to 154 in 1984), showed an estimated 19% gain in average selling price--from $455,000 to $540,000.
The increase was significantly affected by "the move of two entertainment industry celebrities who relocated from elegant but relatively small beachfront homes in Malibu to larger, estate-type residences with outstanding ocean views but no direct beach access," according to the survey, which also reported that these "purchases substantially exceeded the previous record highs paid for comparable properties in Malibu."
Johnny Carson was one of these celebrities. The talk-show host's purchase of a house listed at $9.5 million was first reported last November in this column. But who was the other?
Public records show that it was impressionist/comedian Rich Little. He and his wife bought a two-story house with separate guest quarters, a swimming pool and a tennis court. Listing price: $5 million.
Anyone have $15.85 million to spend on a house? That's the asking price of the primary residence of Bob and Susan Whittaker (of the Westwood-based Whittaker Corp.).
"It's the highest priced home on the market that I know of on the west side of town," James P. Retz, executive vice president of Sotheby's International Realty, which has the listing, said.
The one-story contemporary house, with expansive glass walls, an Oriental garden with a free-form swimming pool, and lighted tennis court with adjoining tennis pavilion featuring a tile roof made in Kyoto, Japan, is in the Truesdale area of Beverly Hills. The Whittakers are selling it because it's too large for their current needs, said Retz.
They've owned the 12-room house on 4.5 acres since it was built in 1979. "Bob built the house to complement the tennis court and a mural he had carved in the Far East," Retz elaborated.
The 61-foot-long, 13-foot-high wall mural, hand-carved in Hong Kong of Burmese teak, is featured in an 18-foot-high sky-lit gallery. And guess what? The mural is included in the purchase price!