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Golden Mile Rust Turns to Gold

February 21, 1988|RUTH RYON | Times Staff Writer

First the Sunset Tower. Now the Evian. This must be the week for Cinderella stories.

Like the tower, which will open as the St. James's Club, the Evian, now known as Blair House, was one of the biggest eyesores in L. A. when the 28-story condo building sat rusting for eight years on Wilshire's Golden Mile.

Now, in another rare instance in which a developer can be depicted as a White Knight, the $90-million Evian, er Blair House, is being rescued.

Culver City-based Breslow Development Co., an affiliate of Goldrich & Kest Industries, has begun work on the steel structure at 10490 Wilshire Blvd., and completion is projected in mid-1989. It is planned to have 134 two- to four-bedroom condos, ranging from 1,700 to 6,500 square feet in size and from $500,000 to $3 million in price.

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On a smaller scale, an English-style, Beverly Hills residence designed by the late architect Paul Williams and called home for years by Russian composer/conductor/pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff until he died in 1943, was saved by the Mat West Co., a real estate development and investment company.

Maj. Gen. Orrin Matthews (USAF ret.), chairman of Mat West, learned that the house, directly across the street from his own, was to be demolished, and persuaded Mat West to buy it and put $500,000 into refurbishing. The house recently sold for just under $2 million.

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A house once owned by actress Barbara Stanwyck and, at another time, by hair-care expert Vidal Sassoon is for sale, furnished, at $9.5 million.

It's owned now by a wealthy woman who wants to sell to buy a horse farm in New York.

English country-style when built in 1937, the remodeled place now looks like a villa with skylights and high ceilings.

The walled and gated home on two acres behind the Beverly Hills Hotel has four main bedrooms, four servants rooms, a two-room guest apartment, a tennis court, swimming pool, steam showers, a spa, gym, sauna and closet that has a conveyor like those at dry cleaners. "It brings your clothes around to you," explained listing broker Joyce Rey of Rodeo Realty.

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Madelyn Fio Rito, who recently opened a gallery in Palm Springs as exclusive West Coast representative for sculptor Victor Salmones, and Fio Rito's husband, Gerald Jones (Fio Rito formerly was married to Big Band leader Ted Fio Rito), have purchased a 2.2-acre estate in Rancho Mirage to showcase their own fine collection of art.

The couple, who also maintain a residence in Beverly Hills, bought the Thunderbird Heights-area property--with 6,800-square-foot main house, two-bedroom guest house and tennis court--for close to the $1.95-million asking price from the Alta Woods Voss Estate, represented by Sylvia Miller Realty Inc.

(Charles Cord Jr., grandson of the inventor of the Cord car, is a trustee for the estate. Alta Woods Voss was a well-known desert socialite who died about three years ago.)

Sylvia Miller's firm also sold the former Tamarisk Country Club estate of the late producer Hal Wallis a few weeks ago for about $900,000 to a local businessman who plans to restore the 30-year-old house and build on an adjoining lot. The Hal Wallis house is just across the fairway from Frank Sinatra's compound.

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The Hotel del Coronado started its yearlong centennial Friday in the midst of a $10-million renovation, but you can tour the Victorian eye-catcher today for a $10 donation to the Coronado Historical Society.

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Fifty Cornerstone members of the Los Angeles Conservancy will pay $1,000 a couple to sip tea at the Tuesday St. James's Club dedication, which will benefit the Conservancy, says publicist Karen Gee. But if you want a look-see for free, or maybe a look-now and pay-later, pop by the Sunset Strip club starting Thursday, when it will be open for potential members as well as for those who already belong.

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