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Schwab's to Reopen on Sunset Strip

February 22, 1987|RUTH RYON | Times Staff Writer

The Sunset Strip corner that housed Schwab's, the famous soda fountain/film-industry hangout that closed in 1983 after 51 years, may soon have a Schwab's again.

"It's part of the contract that Schwab's will go back in the building," Caroline Lembeck said.

Lembeck, widow of actor/teacher Harvey Lembeck (creator of the Comedy Workshop, where Penny Marshall and Robin Williams studied) and a 20-year associate with Stan Herman's Beverly Hills realty firm, represented the sellers of the building at 8024 Sunset Blvd., where Schwab's drugstore was located, and a small shopping center next door. Sheldon Belousoff owned the building, and Peter Wald and a group of investors owned the center.

An entity called Laurel Inc. bought the property for about $6.5 million. Escrow lasted six years.

Six years? Lembeck sighed. "It was so long, I felt pregnant with it." That was a long pregnancy!

It was a long escrow for several reasons--among them, the fact that West Hollywood became a city in 1984, and nobody was sure for awhile what would be expected in the way of zoning and building requirements.

Now there will be a Schwab's in the vacated and vacant Schwab's space and, as Herman put it, "entertainment-oriented tenants (in the other spaces) to keep the Hollywood-nostalgic feeling going."

For the younger set or oldsters whose memories are fading: Schwab's is where Lana Turner supposedly was discovered, though she has said that it was at a malt shop across from Hollywood High. The family owned Schwab's was, however, a meeting place through the years for actors, agents and others in show biz.

It's not Bali Hai calling but Tahiti, nonetheless, to Harvey Kresky and his partner, Patrick Keegan, who are planning to build an 84-suite hotel in that South Pacific paradise.

"For most people, Tahiti is just a word, but Bob Hope just did a TV special filmed in Moorea that will air nationally Monday (on NBC at 8 p.m.), and that should give people a better idea of Tahiti," Kresky said.

Tahiti is the 130-island group where actor Marlon Brando has had a hideaway for years--"since he did 'Mutiny on the Bounty,"' Kresky said. "Mutiny on the Bounty" was filmed in 1960-61, with release in 1962.

Kresky and Keegan hope to break ground in June or July on their own little island in the Huahine group. They're putting together a partnership to develop the hotel with some construction financing provided by the French Polynesia government. Theirs is a $10-million project.

Neither Kresky nor Keegan is a stranger to real estate development. "I developed the Pacific Amphitheatre in Orange County," said Kresky, who was with the William Morris (talent) Agency before that.

Keegan was with the Lyman Family, one of the few '60s communes to survive the era, until three months ago. He headed the Family's Ford Hill Construction Co., which built homes and remodels for numerous celebrities.

Among those he listed as clients during the past few years: Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand, Steven Spielberg, Olivia Newton-John, Richard Chamberlain, Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager, Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley, Richard Dreyfuss, Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Fonda and Sally Field.

How soon we forget: It's been awhile since there was a disastrous flood, fire or rock slide in Malibu, and the demand for real estate there is up.

Dick Lowe, who opened Malibu Country Realty last fall, just surveyed the market for last year and concluded that the demand rose 27% from 1985, when there was a fire in the hills.

There were 532 transactions in '86, 419 in '85. Sales amounted to $234.7 million in '86, $184.8 million in '85.

There were 65 homes sold on or adjacent to the ocean front, which hasn't had major storm damage since 1983, when the last significant landslide also occurred.

Prices? They're still for the affluent. Lowe says the average selling price for ocean-front property rose 13.7% in 1986 to $1.14 million.

A half-acre of redwoods, those endangered California treasures, were preserved the other day when a forest in a narrow canyon adjacent to Mt. Tamalpais State Park and near Muir Woods National Monument in Marin County was purchased by the state Department of Parks and Recreation.

The department had a little financial help--$20,000 each--from the Save-the-Redwoods League and Tamalpais Conservation Club.

The parcel was once a weekend retreat for well-known California botanist James Roof, who bought it in 1936 and transferred it to his friends before his death in 1975.

Interesting note: Since it was founded in 1918, the Save-the-Redwoods League has donated more than $45 million to help buy and protect 255,000 acres of California redwood forest.

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