President and Mrs. Reagan could pay $15,000 or more a month for the Bel-Air property they plan to call home after he leaves office next January.
Terms of the lease the Reagans signed are still a secret, but the going rate for an unfurnished 6,500-square-foot house in that neighborhood is "in the $15,000 range," said Stephen Shapiro of Stan Herman & Associates.
When asked how much the Reagans will pay in rent, Elaine Crispen, Mrs. Reagan's press secretary, told me last week, "They will pay fair market value. That's all I know."
Or will they? The lease the Reagans signed gives them an option to purchase the house from the friends who bought it for them in 1986, and there is some speculation that after the President leaves office, he might exercise that option and buy the property for as little as a dollar.
Such a deal! But even if he reimbursed his friends the $2.5-million they paid (about $138,000 from each member of the President's Kitchen Cabinet), the Reagans would still wind up with a bargain.
As Jeff Hyland, another Beverly Hills broker who lives two blocks up the street, observed, "They bought it for land value, because a good acre in Bel-Air is worth $3 million."
And the Reagan house is on a good acre with a nice view between the Kirkeby Estate, which sold in 1986 for $13.5 million, and the Alexander Haagen (Budd Holden) house, which sold, furnished, in late March for $14.75 million.
What do the Reagans like about the property? "I think the fact that it's close to familiar places and friends," Crispen said. "It's not far from the Pacific Palisades house they owned before, and it's the same kind of house--on one level, ranch style, with a pool and space for gardens and flowers.
"Mrs. Reagan loves flowers, and I'm sure she'll be out there with her sun block on, of course."
First, the Sultan of Brunei bought the Beverly Hills Hotel. Now, his representative and close friend has purchased three large Beverly Hills homes as tear-downs, to create one major estate.
For the sultan? Apparently not. I'm told that the estate will be for the unnamed emissary who is overseeing the hotel.
But this should be some estate. The house that will be built might even be bigger than producer Aaron Spelling's, which is looking more and more like a hotel as its 55,000 square feet take shape on the Holmby Hills-Mapleton Drive site once occupied by Bing Crosby's 10,000-square-foot home.
The three homes that will be razed now aren't exactly shacks, either. One is a Moorish-style, 40-room villa on a 1.8-acre knoll along Tower Road that was once owned by James Coburn but was sold for $5 million by the actor's ex-wife Beverly.
Another, next door, was the late architect William Pereira's estate, on 1.5 acres. The third, next to the Pereira property, was the late screenwriter Nunnally Johnson's estate, on an acre.
The three properties sold for an estimated total of $10 million, and each of the homes was owned by a woman living alone.
But the deal took several realtors: Bruce Nelson of Asher Dann & Associates, who represented the buyer, and listing agents Steve Levine of the same office (the Coburn property), Deidre Daniels of the Jon Douglas Co. (Pereira), and Trisha Boot of Alvarez, Hyland & Young, (Johnson).
The first dog guests have checked into Carmel's historic Cypress Inn, thanks to Doris Day, who initiated a policy changing the inn's 60-year-old regulation excluding pets after she became a partner in the 34-unit property.
The popular actress and her son, Terry Melcher, joined innkeeper Dennis LeVett as partners in January, and now, although the inn doesn't have a full kitchen for its regular guests, the hotel is serving food for the pets, which even get special beds. This shouldn't be too surprising, as Day is founder and president of the Washington, D.C.-based Doris Day Animal League, which is working on animal rights legislation.
Vanna White bought, now she's selling. With the close of escrow on the TV game show hostess' new $1-million-plus home in the Hollywood Hills, she's put her former abode on the market with Jana Jones of Alvarez, Hyland & Young for $659,000, furnished.
The firm also has a $3.95-million listing on the Holmby Hills home built in 1936 for actress Claudette Colbert. The 2-story gated house, originally on 2.5 acres, is now on an acre.
The other 1.5 acres were owned at one time by ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and then by actress Tina Sinatra. Richard Cohen, actress Linda Evans' fiance, bought the home Bergen built and expanded it into an 18,000-square-foot mansion worth today about $20 million. The Colbert house, owned by socialite Zina Hoffman and her husband, Rusty, is listed with agents September Kimble and Bobbie McCall.