For the last few months, preservation-minded members of the Beverly Hills community have been stressed out, to put it mildly. That’s because an unofficial city landmark is reportedly slated for an appointment with the wrecking ball, and time has nearly run out.
Landmark? In a sense, yes. While most large Beverly Hills estates lie hidden from public view behind huge walls and gates, the big mansion on the northwest corner of North Roxbury Drive and Lexington Road has long been a friendly exception. Framed by vast lawns and gorgeous sycamore trees, the Regency-style structure has watched over the neighborhood for decades. Previous owners of the home embraced its visibility, annually delighting passersby with Halloween decorations and spectacular Christmas lights.
It certainly helps that the house is both stylish and historic. Originally designed by noted architect Carleton Burgess in the late 1930s and completed in 1942, the place benefited from a subsequent remodel by John Elgin Woolf. In the 2000s, architect Mark Rios redesigned the interiors and grounds, and the sophisticated spread now oozes Old Hollywood glamour.
But none of that appears to matter much to the property’s current owner. In 2020, the nearly 10,000-square-foot house was sold for $39.1 million to Eric Baker, CEO and cofounder of StubHub; at the time, Baker’s plans for the house were not publicly known. But earlier this year, he applied for a certificiate of ineligibility for historic designation, meaning the house cannot be landmarked for at least seven years, and a clear indication he plans to radically alter or remove the current structure in order to build something on the premises.