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Hot Property

Central California Town on the Market

February 02, 1986|RUTH RYON | Times Staff Writer

Want to buy a town? Harmony, between Morro Bay and San Simeon, is for sale at $1.2 million, $360,000 down and $9,008 a month.

Not much for an entire town, but in the long run, it will cost more.

Jim and Kay Lawrence of Cambria bought the unincorporated hamlet (population: 18) four years ago and spent a bunch to make it artsy instead of hokey, but the place still needs work.

As Jeff Edwards, who represents the Lawrences through his J.H. Edwards Co. in Los Osos, put it: "It's not for someone who wants to put down $350,000 and expects a positive cash flow right away. It needs someone to come in and realize the development potential, and it will take a good marketer. Traffic is substantial because it is right on Highway (California) 1, on the way to Hearst Castle."

Harmony has discouraged more than one owner. There have been four in the last 15 years.

Still, it's a curious little place, about a block long with artists' shops, a wine shop, wedding chapel (that has had about two weddings each weekend for the past eight months), a residence, blacksmith's building, post office, barn and storage; altogether, 12,125 square feet of buildings that trace their roots back to 1869, when the town was founded around a dairy.

Those were the days, my friend, when feuding among farmers caused a shooting death that prompted a truce. All agreed to live in harmony. That's how the town got its name.

Wasn't long before Harmony was thriving, with a general store, livery and stable, blacksmith, feed store, post office, schoolhouse, and a large residence and bunkhouses for the dairy, that produced some of the finest butter and cheese in the state.

William Randolph Hearst stopped off at Harmony for fresh dairy products on his way to his castle in San Simeon, and film heartthrobs Rudolph Valentino and Pola Negri were also known to stop there en route to visit Hearst.

Harmony began to decline in the '50s when the dairy closed.

Pickfair, the honeymoon house of actor Douglas Fairbanks and actress Mary Pickford, is not on the market, but sale of the home "is being discussed."

That from its current owner, Jerry Buss, through his spokesman, Bob Steiner.

Buss--L. A. Laker, King and Forum owner, not to mention real estate tycoon--recently bought a home outside Los Angeles and spends considerable time there. One of his sons just bought a house. One of his daughters just bought a condo. And another daughter is away at college.

"So he only has one child living there," Steiner said. That is a son in his 20s.

Buss bought the 42-room Beverly Hills mansion for $5.4 million in 1980 in a probate sale after the movie queen died. He has since spent a lot on refurbishing.

Good news for Hollywood actors!

A couple of sites just one block off Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood have been targeted for construction next year of 900 apartments for people in the entertainment industry and others seeking affordable housing.

Can't say the exact address, but Tom Harnsberger and Dick Darling of Tandam Realty Group Inc. of Hollywood are planning to develop the project on a site that is in the process of being acquired, with Peter Kamnitzer of Kamnitzer & Cotton Inc. as principal architect.

Jim Wood, chairman of the Community Redevelopment Agency and labor federation official, has joined Councilmen Michael Woo and Joel Wachs in supporting the project.

Also: the AEA-AFTRA-SAG (Actors Equity Assn.-American Federation of Television & Radio Artists-Screen Actors Guild) Housing Committee has three new members: the Directors' Guild of America, American Federation of Musicians and the Writers' Guild. The Housing Committee is working on getting even more industry unions to sign up.

The committee is dedicated to developing and maintaining a pool of affordable housing within a mixed-use developement. The union consortium has a five-year plan to see that a total of 2,000 units are developed on various sites in Hollywood and North Hollywood.

In other news, AEA and SAG joined AFTRA and approved a loan of $8,000 each for the salary of Pam Portillo as the committee's project director.

Remember Wally Cleaver in "Leave It to Beaver"? (If you don't, you might when Universal's "Wally and the Beaver" is in the cans.) Tony Dow--who played Wally in the popular TV program that ran weekly from October, 1957, to September, 1963, and is currently in production on the Universal movie--and his wife, Lauren, just bought a rambling country home on 3.5 acres in Topanga.

Public records show that the selling price was $337,500--not humongous--and get this: Dow is drafting his remodeling plans between takes and plans to do most of the finish carpentry work himself. How refreshing!

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