Wednesday, February 20, 2008


If you're like me, you were under the impression that the land around the famous HOLLYWOOD sign was owned by the city of Los Angeles. You must have also thought that the land was placed under the city's historic preservation overlay zone - aka - HPOZ. Guess what? It's not, and we were wrong. In fact, the area described as "the last private, undeveloped promontory ridge in Los Angeles" is for SALE!

Known formally as "CAHUENGA PEAK", the residentially zoned land located near the Hollywood sign was once owned by Howard Hughes. As the story goes, Hughes purchased the property in 1940 for his love interest Ginger Rogers. Upon her refusal, he kept it for himself, and it remained in his estate for many decades thereafter. In a 1991 television interview, Rogers mentioned Hughes' house plans as a reason she never married the eccentric tycoon.

"I knew what he wanted from me. He wanted to take me and lock me up in a hilltop house and never let me see anyone," Rogers said.

"That's exactly what he did to [actress] Jean Peters. He locked her up. I could tell how resentful he was of anyone coming close to us in conversation."

Hidden away for 70 years, a group of investors working through a partnership called Fox River Land Co., purchased Cahuenga Peak from Howard Hughes Properties Ltd. in 2002 for $1,675,000, according to Los Angeles County property records.

Today, the 138-acre property is zoned for five luxury homes, and sits atop the 1,820-foot Cahuenga Peak.

ASKING PRICE: $22,000,000!

*Personally, I don't know how I feel about the possible sale of Cahuenga Peak. On the one hand, any development will ruin the city's most famous postcard. It just goes to show you that nothing's sacred in L.A. real estate. Yet on the other hand, I find it humorously ironic. You see, the Hollywood sign was originally constructed as a huge advertisement. It was meant to stimulate development for the Hollywood Land subdivision. So in a sense, the sign worked!

I don't know what to think, but what I can say is that whoever ends up with the property will have the most stunning view of L.A.

I hope I get invited to that party!


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