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Hollywood Exposition Moving Ahead

November 09, 1986|RUTH RYON | Times Staff Writer

Hollywood is another step closer to getting its much desired $50-million to $60-million museum to house motion picture, TV, radio and recording memorabilia.

Cal Hollis, a principal with Keyser Marston Associates (real estate consultants specializing in predevelopment, evaluation services and transactions), announced last week:

"We are working with the Exposition on the site selection process, and we're putting together site and development qualifications. The RFQ (Request for Qualifications) will go out between Nov. 10 and 15."

Developers and major land owners in the Hollywood area will then have one month to contact Phyllis Holzman, executive director of the Hollywood Exposition, with their responses if they are interested. She can be reached at 555 Melrose Ave., Hollywood 90038.

"The Exposition has already been approached by two developers, and the purpose of the RFQ is to identify any other potential sites," Hollis explained. "The Exposition has targeted Hollywood Boulevard between La Brea and Gower as its first choice, but it will receive proposals as far north as Franklin, east as Bronson, south as De Longpre and west as La Brea.

"We expect people who respond might have mixed-use projects in mind that might want to incorporate the museum."

Developers who have already expressed interest in including the museum in their plans are Melvin Simon & Associates, for a site on the northwest corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue (adjacent to Mann's Chinese Theatre), and the James Nederlander Cos., which owns about seven acres on Hollywood Boulevard including the historic Pantages, which Holzman stressed "would remain a theater." (Built in 1929 as a movie theater, it was later converted for live productions.)

Hollis described the Simon firm's planned $150-million mixed-use project as an example of "the magnitude of any that would include a museum of the size we anticipate will attract 1 million visitors a year." The proposed mixed-use project is already making its way through the governmental-approval process. "It would include a museum but not necessarily the Hollywood Exposition," he said.

The Hollywood Exposition, a nonprofit corporation, was formed to promote the planned 150,000-square-foot Hollywood museum that will be funded through state legislation. "As of April 1, we started conducting business as the Hollywood Exposition," Holzman explained.

Since then, a number of consultants have been hired. Among them: Keyser Marston, the Karsten Co. (managerial specialists), Harrison Price Co. (economic consultants), Latham & Watkins (attorneys) and Deloitte, Haskins & Sells (accountants). There is also a site selection advisory commission consisting of volunteers.

After RFQs are received, RFPs (Requests for Proposals) may or may not be requested. If there is one outstanding group that has submitted an RFQ, the Hollywood Exposition may go with that group.

Hollis anticipates reaching an agreement on the site by next July, starting construction by the spring of 1988 and completing it by the spring of 1990.

Got a spare $22.5 million? That's all it will take to own what has been described as "the ultimate urban ranch." That's right. It's in the city--in Brentwood, just north of Sunset Boulevard.

And it was home for about 20 years to architect Cliff May, a leading exponent of the California ranch-house style, and his wife, Lisa Hunter May, who takes credit for the ranch's landscaping.

The ranch has about 10 acres of rolling lawns, tall sycamores, eucalyptus and oak trees, stables and corrals, said Jeff Hyland of Alvarez, Hyland & Young in Beverly Hills. Hyland shares the listing with Brooks Barton of Previews in Santa Barbara.

Barton estimated the size of the property at 52 acres. It was listed as "perhaps the largest estate in L.A." The estate includes a 10,000-square-foot house designed by May.

In his book "The Dream Houses of Los Angeles," Brendan Gill described May as "by far the most skillful practitioner of the California ranch-house style." During May's career, beginning in 1932, he designed ranch houses in hundreds of localities--"most in California," Gill wrote, "but some as far afield as Australia, Venezuela, Switzerland, Ireland, Italy and several islands in the Caribbean."

In the 1950s, May designed a low-cost ranch house, and Gill estimates that "no fewer than 18,000 were built and sold." May once guessed that he designed more than 1,000 individually designed ranch houses.

"A true ranch house of the 19th Century was the main structure in a cluster of buildings flung up any which way over a period of years," Gill wrote. "May perfected an apparent randomness of plan. . . . Rooms flow into one another and out onto terraces and enclosed patios. It is always an agreeable sensation to lose one's way not once but several times in getting from the front door of a May house to a distant bedroom."

Gill portrays May's own house like this on a grand scale. "It might be mistaken at first glance as a village with a scattering of gabled roofs of different heights. . . . The living room is 55 feet long, 35 feet wide and 15 feet high at the skylighted crest of its cathedral ceiling." Yet, Gill describes the room as "cozingly domestic."

Gill also recognizes another paradox: "Though within the city limits of Los Angeles, (the house) stands at the head of a canyon seemingly untouched by man."

This is the first time the property has gone on the market. Why are the Mays selling? Replied Barton: "I think they just simply want to do something else."

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