The new tenant, owner of Hostess Brands, will acquire the zoo, the grotto, and a silk-pajama-wearing resident
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JIM BARTSCH
Posted August 16, 2016
The Playboy Mansion has a new owner. The storied property sold for $100 million—just half of the $200 million listing price, which made it the most expensive estate in Los Angeles at the time. The new owner is Daren Metropoulos of the private equity firm Metropoulos & Co., which owns dessertmaker Hostess Brands. Metropoulos also owns the house next door, having bought the adjacent property for $18 million in 2009, according to The Wall Street Journal. One of the world’s most famous (or infamous) properties, the Playboy Mansion occupies five acres in L.A.’s prestigious Holmby Hills enclave bordering the Los Angeles Country Club. It’s also the home of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, who will have a life estate according to the terms of the sale, meaning that he can stay there until he dies. (Considering he’s the man who made the mansion and its parties the stuff of legend after Playboy Enterprises purchased the home for $1.05 million in 1971, that doesn’t seem entirely unreasonable.)
“Aside from it being the Playboy Mansion, it’s also one of the finest estate properties in the country,” says Gary Gold, executive vice president of real-estate firm Hilton & Hyland, who is one of the listing agents, along with Drew Fenton of Hilton & Hyland and Mauricio Umansky of the Agency. “It’s literally the best of the best of the best. Properties like this don’t come up for sale.”
Construction of the Tudor Revival mansion began in 1927, and the main house has six bedrooms, six baths, and two powder rooms. The estate also includes a four-bedroom guesthouse and a two-bedroom games house.
“To me, quite honestly, the biggest highlight is the architecture itself—the house is absolutely stunning,” says Umansky, CEO of the Agency. “We don’t have a lot of 1920s architecture here in L.A.” He adds that the interior will need some refurbishing, “but you’re starting off with a piece of art.” And the new owner agrees. Metropoulos said in a statement that he is less interested in the home’s wild past and more interested in preserving its architectural significance.
The grotto might be the most talked-about feature of the grounds, but other highlights include the zoo (the home is one of the few private residences in L.A. with such a license), the lagoon-style pool, the tennis court, and the rolling lawns.
“The grounds are absolutely breathtaking,” Gold says. There’s also a koi pond, a small citrus orchard, and two well-established forests of tree ferns and redwoods. After Hefner’s reign comes to an end, Metropoulos plans to combine his two properties into one that will span 7.3 acres.