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Hot Property

Bird Museum May Roost at Greystone

July 31, 1988|RUTH RYON | Times Staff Writer

You might say Greystone, the run-down but once-fabulous '20s-era mansion now owned by the city of Beverly Hills, will be for the birds!

That's what it will house if city and Los Angeles County officials agree in lease negotiations expected to conclude by the end of August.

A report just completed by Gensler & Associates/Architects of Los Angeles claims that the idea of turning the 55-room house into an annex of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History to house its ornithological collection is feasible.

Now it's mostly a question of whether enough dollars can be amassed when needed for the restoration, said Robert Grabski of JLH Consulting, which works for Beverly Hills on the city's properties.

He didn't say how much is needed, but it will be plenty. The 37,000-square-foot home, built for Edward Lawrence Doheny Jr., has been vacant since the American Film Institute moved out in 1981, and the interiors were a mess even then.

Grabski wouldn't divulge any dollar figures on the lease, either, but said it would run 35 years, with two 10-year options for a total of 55 years.

After the Film Institute relocated, the city looked for years for a tenant who would pay only $1 a year in rent in return for refurbishing the mansion and keeping it open to the public. Its grounds are already a public park.

Here's some good news for anyone concerned that a museum annex would draw too many cars to that posh neighborhood: Parking would be handled as it is at the Getty Museum in Malibu. That is, by reservation only.

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While former Philippines President Ferdinand E. Marcos was reportedly offering to give back $5 billion to the Philippines last week, his former 12-acre waterfront Long Island estate, known as "Lindenmere ," was being put on the market for a mere $4.5 million.

That's what the Republic of the Philippines will get if the place sells for the full price asked by Geri Henle at LandVest Inc. of New York. After lengthy court proceedings, the Philippines took title to the property in 1987, but only listed the estate a few days ago.

And if you want a peek, Land-Vest has scheduled a broker open house Tuesday, with showings to qualified buyers starting Wednesday!

"No shoes were left in the closet," Terrence Maitland of LandVest said. Ferdinand Marcos never even visited the estate, and his wife, shoe-loving Imelda, only slept there one night, though she hosted many parties there while vacationing in the United States during the summers of 1981-84.

She sent cooks, pastry chefs and waiters there from New York. Then she would be driven there in her limo, followed by her guests in a luxurious bus. Sometimes, they rented boats for the afternoon. (The property is in Center Moriches on Long Island's south shore.) Other times, they swam in her pool or played on her tennis court before dinner, returning to New York City after nightfall.

The main house, with 16 bedrooms and 18 baths, was converted into a private residence from a health spa by the former first lady, but it is still zoned commercial and has a 10-unit motel on its grounds. It was built in the early 1900s as a private home, and the main house was designed by Stanford White, a well-known East Coast architect.

And what will the Philippines do with the proceeds when the place sells? A government commission claims that the funds will be used in a land reform program.

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Meg Ryan, that cute young actress in such films as "Top Gun" and "Innerspace," just bought herself a three-level, late-'40s-era house on Wonderland Avenue in the Hollywood Hills, and reports are she's already refurbishing it. Public records show that the three-bedroom, one-bath house--with about 2,000 square feet--sold for $362,000--a tidy price for a starlet, huh? But a great investment! (Real estate usually is.)

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The real estate market is so hot . . . that Keith Malisoff broke his two-office, 8-year-old company earnings record for an individual during a 30-day period in June, closing $2.5 million in home sales. And he only works at real estate part time! The rest of the time, he's a waiter at a Venice cafe and an actor in TV commercials.

Malisoff works for S.J. Morris Associates, which has offices in West L.A. and Woodland Hills.

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For Nevada lovers . . . Harrahs', a Lake Tahoe landmark since its casino opened in 1956 and its hotel first received guests in '73, is getting a fresh look with the help of L.A.-based interior designers Yates-Silverman and about $2 million. Completion: early '88.

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