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Merv Griffin Looking to Buy Mansion

July 13, 1986|RUTH RYON | Times Staff Writer

Merv Griffin has offered to buy a Beverly Hills mansion through probate for $5 million.

The matter is expected to be heard in court Monday.

The 10,000-square-foot house, built in 1940, was owned by Liliore G. Rains, a daughter of Beverly Hills co-founder Burton Green. Rains died last November.

She bought the Georgian-colonial home in 1966 when she was married to William Palmer, then vice president and manager of the Beverly Hills branch of California Bank.

The mansion, on about three acres north of Sunset Boulevard in what is known as the estate area of Beverly Hills, has five bedrooms, four baths, six fireplaces, servants' quarters, a library, gatehouse, swimming pool and a pine tree forest. It is listed with Jack Hupp & Associates for $6.5 million.

Talk-show host/TV producer Griffin already lives in Beverly Hills but in smaller quarters.

John DeLorean is back in real estate news this week with the listing--again--of his former estate in Pauma Valley in northern San Diego County.

It's been on and off the market for the last four years, starting at $4 million, according to Athan Vlahos whose Vlahos Properties in Escondido is trying to sell the place. "Then it went to $5.2 million so DeLorean could levy that against his bail," Vlahos said. "Then it went to $3.7 million, and now it's at $2.7 million.

"We 'sold' it three times, but we couldn't deliver clear title, so the buyers backed out." Yet, it's no longer owned by the former auto maker. It's owned by Howard Weitzman, DeLorean's attorney. "He received it in lieu of legal fees," Vlahos explained.

In March, a U. S. district judge approved transfer of the estate as payment for $2.5 million in legal fees for Weitzman's successful 1984 defense of DeLorean on criminal charges of cocaine trafficking. The trustee for the bankrupt DeLorean Motor Co. tried, but failed to block transfer of the property.

Known as La Cuesta de Camellia, the estate is on about 48.5 acres and has a 5,720-square-foot adobe main house, two guest houses and a five-room house for the ranch manager, who oversees the site's 17 acres of citrus groves.

The landmark Trader Vic's in Beverly Hills, which first opened in 1955, will reopen to the public Monday, following more than $1 million in remodeling and refurbishing, handled by Lun Chan of Lun Chan Associates, San Francisco.

Chan is also overseeing redesign of Trader Vic's in Chicago's Palmer House, due to reopen shortly, and design of the newest Trader Vic's, which is in Osaka, Japan. That restaurant, 19th in the worldwide chain started in Oakland in 1934 by Victor J. Bergeron (who died in 1984), is scheduled to open in September.

A new landmark in old London? Remember the 17th-Century, Christopher Wren church tower that was being marketed last summer as "a place to work, entertain and reside in the heart of London's international banking district?"

Blashfield & Peto, the young developers who converted the tower--on Wood Street near the Barbican Centre--from an empty shell with a spiral staircase to a pied-a-terre and office, sold it to a company called MEPC, which is planning to turn a nearby 1960s office tower into a new landmark. Savills represented the sellers, and Baker Harris Saunders acted for the buyers.

Speaking of Britain, here's a mouthful: British Rail has sold its 100-year-old railway station in the Welsh town of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndntysiliogogogoch to James Pringle of the wool manufacturers in Scotland for 165,000. Residents of the town had urged the government not to sell the station to foreigners who could ship it to the U. S., like the London Bridge, now at Lake Havasu, Ariz.

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