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Manhattan 'Emperor' Tackles L.A.

February 14, 1988|RUTH RYON | Times Staff Writer

A major New York owner/developer is becoming a major player in L. A. real estate, but it's not Donald Trump--yet!

It's Stephen Meringoff, who owns an estimated 2 million square feet of commercial space in New York. That amounts to 20-odd buildings, office and retail--most in Manhattan but some in the boroughs.

"In the past 10 years, he literally built an empire in Manhattan, mostly with high-rise office buildings," said Howard Schickler, Meringoff's L. A. partner.

Schickler, a former New Yorker who moved to L. A. about 15 years ago, and Meringoff plan to acquire up to 2 million square feet of commercial space in Los Angeles this year! Since quietly teaming up three years ago, they bought several properties in Greater L. A. Among them: 1052 and 2801 W. 6th St., 8455 Beverly Blvd., Hollywood and Vine Plaza and the Taft Building in Hollywood, 523, 525 and 535 S. Broadway, the Town Square Shopping Center in Riverside, and--two weeks ago--Marina Plaza, a shopping center/office complex at 4720 Lincoln Blvd., Marina del Rey.

"We're using the same philosophy my partner used in New York," Schickler said, "and that is to buy well-located buildings we feel are under-performing."

Known as Schickler Meringoff Properties, the partners buy and fix up the buildings, which are then kept in the company's portfolio.

Citing the fine weather and continuing influx of foreign and East Coast capital, he said, "We're bullish on L. A. for the next 10 years."

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Dustin Hoffman has sold his Malibu home and moved into another, which he built on a beach lot to accommodate his expanding family. The acclaimed actor has four kids, and one was born after the holidays.

Betty Graham, manager of the Jon Douglas Co.'s two Malibu offices, and Ania Patterson of Kerry Real Estate in Santa Monica shared the just-under-$1-million listing on the house Hoffman sold to a businessman and his wife.

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Villa Casablanca, that Malibu mansion Graham and Mary Lu Tuthill had co-listed at Christmastime for $11.5 million, has been reduced to $9.5 million. What's $2 million!?

And . . . the house will be featured tonight at 8--as a Valentine to its owners?--on Channel 5's "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous." Be still my heart.

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A Stone Canyon hacienda shared by Quincy Jones and his third wife before they started divorce proceedings was just sold to a businessman represented by Joyce Rey of Rodeo Realty. The asking price was $3.75 million.

The composer/arranger/producer bought a house for close to $3 million in Bel-Air in December, 1986, after he and his wife were separated.

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Liz Taylor's romantic Puerto Vallarta home is still for sale at $1 million, says listing broker Elaine Young of Alvarez, Hyland & Young, who learned last week from the manager of the 52-room Hotel Oceano, a 30-year Puerto Vallarta landmark, that it will close in April to be remodeled and turned into condominiums.

Taylor bought her seven-bedroom, two-house compound in the Mexican town while filming "Night of the Iguana" there with the late Richard Burton, whom she married twice. Young shares the listing with Arlene Carol.

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Just before press time . . . a report from a New York columnist that Sly Stallone bought Kirk Kerkorian's Beverly Hills-area mansion on just over 23 acres for $25 million was denied by a spokesman for Kerkorian, who was out of the country.

Since the actor sold his Pacific Palisades house last November and started dating socialite Cornelia Guest, though, Stallone has been looking again in earnest for a place with a polo field, and if he did buy the financier's property, it would be large enough, though real estate sources say that $25 million "sounds high." Kerkorian's "hideaway," also known as his "think tank," is on Oak Pass Road off Benedict Canyon.

A few years ago, Kerkorian sold the property to entertainer Sonny Bono, bought it back, purchased a new house next door, and then acquired another adjacent house, which was owned by actress Yvette Mimieux, so he could build a driveway that has been likened to a freeway on-ramp.

This isn't Kerkorian's only home on the Westside, by the way. He also has a house in Bel-Air, across the street from actress Zsa Zsa Gabor's and next door to entertainer Art Linkletter's.

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