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Diana Ross Sells Home in Beverly Hills

August 04, 1985|RUTH RYON | Times Staff Writer

Singer Diana Ross has sold her Beverly Hills house to James Burrows, director/producer of the hit TV comedy "Cheers." (Burrows is the son of the late Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway musical author Abe Burrows, who co-wrote the book for "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.")

Ross listed her 6,833-square-foot house with five bedrooms--and nine baths, yet!--for $2.5 million, but it sold--according to public records--for $1.75 million.

It was built 21 years ago by Donald Factor, grandson of cosmetic czar Max Factor Sr., to accommodate a collection of paintings. Because of its design, it became known as the "house with no windows."

Ross put it on the market some months ago when she moved back to the New York area.

Lenore von Hofe of Mike Silverman & Associates in Beverly Hills represented the buyer.

Looks like that Beverly Hills eyesore--the 68-year-old mansion that was gutted by fire five years ago after it was purchased and painted lime green by Saudi Arabian Sheik Mohammed al-Fassi (who also had the classic, white plaster nude statues on the front veranda painted in natural skin and hair tones)--will be demolished, starting on Aug. 19.

That's the word from Mary Douvan of Beverly Realty Enterprises, who noted: "Rodeo (Realty, a division of Merrill Lynch Realty) had the listing (on the sheik's house), and I had the client who bought it."

The client, Cesar Lopez Jr., plans to build two large homes, which he will sell through Douvan, in place of the 38-room house now on the northwest corner of Alpine Drive and Sunset Boulevard.

Of course, the mansion wasn't always an eyesore. It was constructed as a stately Italian-style residence for Beverly Hills founder M. H. Whittier and later was used for many fine parties and events when it was owned by Arden Farms founder Samuel Berch and his wife, Rose.

The demolition is cause for celebration, said Douvan, and there will be one with refreshments on Aug. 19 on the site.

Scandia, that Sunset Strip fine-dining fixture since it was opened by Teddy Hansen and her brother-in-law Kenneth Hansen in 1946, is for sale by Robert E. Petersen, who built and presides over a $250-million publishing empire, and his wife, Margie.

The Petersens bought the restaurant from Ken Hansen in 1978 but are selling it, they said, because their publishing business is "growing so quickly." Petersen Publishing Co. is a leading publisher of such special-interest consumer magazines as Hot Rod and Motor Trend and is headquartered just a few blocks from Scandia, which is at 9040 W. Sunset Blvd.

In a prepared statement, Robert Petersen said that his publishing business is "taking an increasingly large share of my time--so much so that I don't feel I can devote enough of my energy to run a world-class restaurant like Scandia." Margie Petersen, who has been managing director of the restaurant since 1981, will now work as director of Petersen Interiors and Design, overseeing design of Petersen real estate holdings. She also plans to devote more time to her duties as vice president of Petersen Publishing Co.

It will be with some regret that the Petersens sell the restaurant that was one of the few ever to have won the coveted Travel Holiday Award for more than 30 consecutive years. They are also selling the restaurant's wine cellar, which the Wine Spectator, a leading wine industry publication, rated among the top 13 in the world.

When the Petersens bought Scandia, Kenneth Hansen (who died in 1980) said, "I am pleased that Scandia will go to a fellow Dane, an old friend who has been a customer for most of the 31 years we have been here."

The current asking price has not been divulged, but the Petersens are rumored to be looking for $3 million to $4 million for the total package, not including the land. Heard on the street: There have already been a couple of bids from auction houses. The John Skoby Co. is handling the sale.

The Bryson, one of the most prestigious apartment houses in the West when its 88 units opened in 1913 at 2701 Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles, has been purchased and will be refurbished and converted into an office building by its new owners.

A limited partnership put together by Joe Brydon & Associates of Torrance bought the building from another limited partnership headed by Charles Kairys for $5.5 million. Actor Fred MacMurray was a previous owner.

Before the renovation is completed by the end of 1986, an estimated $5.7 million will be spent on the 96,000-square-foot, Italian Beaux Arts-style complex, originally designed by Frank Noonan and Charles Kysor and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Sotheby's, known until nine years ago only for its fine-arts auction house founded in 1744, is expanding its New York-headquartered realty subsidiary with the opening of an 11th regional branch office at 5 Corporate Plaza, Newport Beach.

Marion Buie has been named regional vice president of the office, which has taken its first listing, a bayfront home on Lido Isle priced at $3.75 million.

The opening marks part of a planned expansion throughout the United States and Europe.

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