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Reagans Looking for Property in L.A.?

September 08, 1985|RUTH RYON | Times Staff Writer

Nancy Reagan is looking to buy some property in the Los Angeles area, judging from what some sources in the community say.

The word is that she is looking through her friends, particularly Marion Newbert Jorgensen of Santa Monica, whose husband, steel magnate Earle Jorgensen, serves as an informal adviser in Reagan's "Kitchen Cabinet."

One story is that the Reagans are considering buying the 11,000-square-foot, Bel-Air house once owned by comedian Jerry Lewis but now owned by his ex-wife, and would tear it down to build a new home there. Another story is that they might buy part of Bonita Granville (Bunny) Wrather's 2.5-acre Bel-Air estate, where they would also build.

Wrather, who succeeded her husband, Jack, as chairman of Beverly Hills-based Wrather Corp. (operator of the Disneyland Hotel, Queen Mary and Spruce Goose) after he died last November, lives in a two-story farmhouse that the couple built in 1951. Jack Wrather was also a member of Reagan's "Kitchen Cabinet," a group of wealthy industrialists who urged Reagan to run for political office in 1966.

Why buy now with more than three years in office to go? One guess is that it would take a couple of years to build, even though Reagan might get his permits in record time. Another is his recent encounter with cancer. If, and that's a big IF, he had to resign for health reasons, he would have a place to live.

Of course, he already has the ranch near Santa Barbara, but it is remote--too remote to live in on a regular basis, observers say.

In case you've passed by the Kenny Rogers Entertainment Center on Sunset Strip (at 8730 Sunset Blvd.) lately, you may have noticed a construction sign announcing work on Nicky Blair's, a 150-seat Continental restaurant.

If the restaurant name sounds familiar, it was an eatery--in fact, it was two eateries--before. There was one to the east and one to the west of the one that is being built. The other two were also on Sunset Boulevard.

The new one is due to open on Thanksgiving Day, and it like the others is named for Nicky Blair, general partner of the 25-member partnership that owns the new business.

Designed by Corporate Planning & Research to serve the entertainment industry, the new Nicky Blair's is being built in an 8,000-square-foot space previously occupied by Crocker Bank. The bank space is being turned into dining facilities at an estimated cost of $1 million.

Marble, oak, wall coverings and apricot-colored carpeting will highlight the piano bar, private banquet, restaurant and central bar facilities, and the old bank vault is being converted into a wine cooler and a freezer.

The restaurant will have a main entrance off Sunset Boulevard and an interior entrance for building tenants. (They're all in the entertainment business.)

Despite the increased value of the pound from just over $1 at the first of the year to $1.36 last week, American interest in buying homes in Great Britain has not dwindled.

That's the latest from William H. Yates of Knight Frank & Rutley in London, although he tells a story about an American who agreed to buy Stanton Court, a Jacobean manor house 90 miles from London and then "withdrew because he didn't have the money."

Stanton Court is priced at a healthy 850,000 (about $1.2 million by last week's exchange rate.) However, Yates said, Americans haven't been buying any more or any less than they did a year ago. Any blitz by American buyers has been, as he described it, "a media fantasy."

That doesn't mean that Americans aren't buying, he stressed. "It's just that they have been buying (at about the same rate--level) for some time."

And what are they buying? "Expensive houses and flats in London--$500,000 and up--and country houses." And castles? "We often have people from California who want castles, but I have no clear idea of what they have in mind." He chuckled. "Actually," Louise Fisher of the British firm added, "we do have a couple of castles on the Scottish market."

If you want to get a peek at the luxury condo complex known as the Park Wellington without driving to West Hollywood, just tune in this fall to TV's "Remington Steele."

A scene filmed at the Troy Investment Fund project (where units go from $135,000 to $350,000 and there are such services as maid, limo, laundry and dry-cleaning as well as 24-hour meal service) is scheduled to air "early season," probably sometime in October.

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