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'Tallest Building' Rising in New York

September 15, 1985|RUTH RYON | Times Staff Writer

"The tallest residential building in New York City" and "sixth tallest concrete structure in the world" are just two claims being made about Harry Macklowe's 716-foot-high Metropolitan Tower, which will be topped out later this month.

Just east of Carnegie Hall and the Russian Tea Room at 146 West 57th St. in the heart of Manhattan, the building is also close to CBS and ABC headquarters and the talent agencies. "So we've had a fair amount of interest from celebrities, producers and directors, even from California," developer Macklowe said by telephone last week.

Sales won't start for a week or so yet, but Michael Caine and George Segal have been named as among the "people who have registered interest."

The 248 one-to-five-bedroom condos will be what Macklowe called "very expensive." (Prices will be $500 to $1,200 a square foot, and units range from 1,000 to 4,000 square feet.)

But how many other buildings in New York have a garage with a chauffeurs' waiting room, a floor just for housekeeping quarters, and a private dining room, health facility (with swimming pool, massage room and eight-person whirlpool), and observation tower with a spectacular view--all just for the residents? ("You can't quite see California from the tower," Macklowe said, "but it comes close.")

Designed by Schuman, Lichtenstein & Claman, the condominiums are planned in a triangular tower that sits on a rectangular commercial base. There are 66 actual construction levels, which are, he explained, the equivalent in height of a 78-story residential building. By comparison, the Empire State Building, a commercial structure, has 102 stories and is 1,250 feet tall.

The 64-year-old Wrigley Mansion on Catalina Island has been converted to the Inn on Mt. Ada, and its bed-and-breakfast rooms are now open and functioning at nightly rates of $119 to $289.

$289? If that brings a gasp, just remember that chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. himself slept in that highest-priced suite, which is supposed to have the best view in Avalon.

It also has a bedroom, sitting room, living room and fireplace and was decorated just the way a wealthy family would have done it in the '20s except that it has no heavy draperies.

A spokesman for Warkentin Cox Architects of Costa Mesa described the suite as "bright and airy." The firm completed the $600,000 to $700,000 main-house rehab with the help of Davcon Inc. of Tustin (the general contractor) and Patricia Malone of Corona del Mar and Avalon (who designed the interior using period pieces and reproductions).

The Georgian-Colonial landmark was painted white for Presidents Coolidge and Harding, who used it as the Summer White House. Clark Chelsey, known in the San Francisco Bay area for his award-winning work repainting Victorian homes, restored the structure to its original gray, white and green.

The same firm expects to start work after the first of the year on conversion of the servants' quarters.

Islanders Susie and Wayne Griffin, Marlene McAdam and Suzie and Scott Wauben leased the property from USC (which had been given the estate in 1978) and started rejuvenating the house last February. A grand opening is planned in November, and an open house for the city is scheduled Oct. 17.

After the first of the year, the servants' quarters of Wrigley's old summer home are expected to be converted to bed-and-breakfast staff use.

Peter and Elsa Myers like Pacific Palisades so much that they just bought their third house in the area, this time two doors away on the same street.

Peter was a senior vice president at 20th Century Fox before he left recently to form his own feature-film distribution company, PSM Entertainment. Elsa and game-show host Monty Hall's wife, Marilyn, are producing a movie about a mythical creature. "We hope to start principal photography in November in Israel," she said of the film, which is being called "Smith's Gazelle."

The Myers' newest home is the smallest of the three that they have owned in Pacific Palisades during the past 10 years, but it has the best view, said Wilma J. Sullivan, who not only handled the sale of the Myers' second home with the help of Charlene Laraneta of Coldwell Banker but also sold the Myerses their newest home.

"They've gotten smaller homes as their four children have grown up, but they have a sensational--what we call 'the Queen's Necklace'--view," Sullivan said. "From their house, they can see the whole Santa Monica Bay wrap around Palos Verdes. At night, it looks like a queen's necklace."

Comedienne Joan Rivers is apparently enjoying her newly decorated home in Bel-Air, because she hasn't been looking to buy another house since her old Colonial was updated, industry sources say.

River's Bel-Air home is a two-story "traditional" on the Bel-Air Country Club golf course just inside the west gate.

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