Ted Field, a TV producer and an heir of Chicago department-store magnate Marshall Field, plans to move Monday into the mansion owned for 43 years by silent screen star Harold Lloyd, who died in 1971.
By taking occupancy, Field might be putting an end to those rumors that were circulating last November that he planned to sell the 36,000-square-foot home he bought a year ago this month for what many in the community thought was a great deal: $6.5 million. Since he bought the property, Field has been living in Malibu, and the mansion has been undergoing major refurbishing.
John Picard, who oversaw extensive work done last year at oilman Marvin Davis' home, The Knoll, has been orchestrating the work at Greenacres, the former Lloyd estate, which is partially in Beverly Hills, partially in Los Angeles.
Between calls over his cordless phone at The Ivy, a trendy West Hollywood restaurant, Picard described what is being done at Greenacres and introduced Susan Bollman, who has been decorating the house with her friend Laura Williams through Bari Interiors, which Bollman owns. (Bari is her middle name.)
A quick tour then showed new landscaping in the front, a freshly planted rose garden at the side, and inside--on the first floor--newly purchased tapestries and 15th-to-17th Century antiques; a dining room table for 20, carved for the room; refinished woodwork, floors and beveled-glass windows, and new kitchen tile, appliances and electrical systems. "There are 450 light bulbs in this house, and we've scheduled it so all will be changed at the same time," Picard said.
Picard, who is something of a computer wizard, prides himself on scheduling. He finished the first floor in time for a party Field gave in April for Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), who is expected to join the legion of presidential candidates, and Field even thanked Picard for finishing the floor in time, with a dinner for 50 in Picard's honor, also at Greenacres.
Last week, there was a flurry of activity at Greenacres, getting ready for Field to move in. The whole house was being air conditioned, the curve in the driveway leading up to the house was being changed--"so limos can get up there," Picard explained; new outdoor lights were being hooked up in the trees and in the eaves and new tile and fixtures were being installed in some of the baths. All 44 rooms got a working-over. Only the decorative ceiling and wall paintings the former owners carefully restored remained untouched.
Even after Monday, the work at Greenacres will go on. Picard is supervising work on a 70-seat screening room that is being built in a theater building near the tennis courts, and a racquetball court may also be constructed. "Ted is sparing no expense in restoring the house so that it might be what Harold Lloyd had in mind from its inception," Picard said.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held Monday at the Los Angeles Stock Exchange Building on Spring Street in downtown Los Angeles, but no tenants have been signed yet, we hear, and there is still much to do on the inside of the building to make it usable for the nightclub, restaurant and offices that are planned to open as early as August.
Besides the ribbon-cutting, the latest news is that the building has been purchased by a real estate investment firm called Direct Capital Corp., headed by Brian L. Potashnik, who was seeking limited partners last summer.
The building is a Los Angeles landmark, built just before the Crash of 1929. It was used by the Pacific Stock Exchange until last year.
The Screen Actors Guild is gearing up to use five parking floors in a building that is just being completed next door to the Guild's new headquarters on Hollywood Boulevard, and Mark Locher of the Guild says, "We'd love to get a snazzy restaurant in that building's ground floor for our actors to use."
Scott Milano of L. J. Hooker International, exclusive leasing agent for the new building, just signed leases for 12,000 square feet of offices in the building--on two floors--so there is only one floor of offices and the first-floor, 6,000-square-foot restaurant space remaining, he said, adding, "We're talking to several restaurants and want a quality one." The actors are expected to be able to park in the building this week, and the office users are due to move in July 15.
While Locher was in New York recently, he heard a rumor that NBC might move to New Jersey from Rockefeller Center.
By phone from New York, M. S. Rukeyser Jr., NBC's executive vice president of corporate communications, said, "We have a long-term lease that expires in the late 1990s, but we're looking around for possibilities that we might do before that."
Among NBC's options, he said, are staying where they are; moving to Donald Trump's planned TV City, which Trump hopes to build on an immense piece of land in Manhattan, or relocate to some Hartz Mountain property in New Jersey.
"We're looking at the options and will make a major announcement in a few weeks," Rukeyser said.