YOUR MAMA’S NOTES: Buckle your high-end real estate britches, butter beans, because according to celebrity gossip juggernaut TMZ the much publicized $100+ million deal for the Playboy Mansion been nixed, cancelled, iced, flushed down the gold-plated toilet of real estate history. Or was it? (See update below.)
One of the more unusual stipulations of any sale of the illustrious estate is that Mister Hefner, now in his late 80s, would remain in residence until his death and the deal breaker, so the story goes, was that the buyer, 32-year old businessman J. Daren Metropoulos, silver-spooned son of billionaire C. Dean Metropoulos who is best known for turning around a number of tired but beloved food and beverage brands such as Bumble Bee Tuna, Hostess, and Pabst Blue Ribbon, “demanded access to the mansion that would disrupt Hugh Hefner’s life.” Mister Metropoulos, who already owns the 7,318-square-foot Country English manor house next door that was scooped up in 2009 for $18 million from Hugh Hefner — it’s the estate where the soft core porn pioneer’s second ex-wife lived and raised their two, now adult children — sought access to the property so that he could begin restoring, updating and expanding the mansion. Representatives of the buyer and seller reportedly tried for weeks to sort out the issues but, alas, the big deal was officially scuttled Thursday night.
The fabled estate, actually owned by Playboy Enterprises and not Mister Hefner, was officially put up for sale on the open market in January (2016) with a hair-raising and unquestionably sanguine asking price of $200 million and, although we heard through the Platinum Triangle real estate gossip grapevine the agreed upon sale price was in the neighborhood of $120 million, TMZ says they were told by an unnamed source the deal with Mister Metropoulos was for around $110 million. Interestingly enough, Jeff Hyland, co-founder of the Hilton & Hyland brokerage, told the New York Times in a report published just last week that Mister Metropoulos quietly attempted to buy the estate six years ago for about $75 million.
The estate, situated on five fully landscaped acres in the insanely posh Holmby Hills neighborhood, is anchored by an elegantly dour 29-room Gothic Tudor mansion that listing details indicate spans nearly 20,000 square feet. The compound-like estate, which a New York Times reporter, who was given a daytime tour of the property a couple of years ago, recently described as “gross,” also features a four-bedroom guesthouse and separate games house along with vast, water-guzzling lawns, picturesque groomed gardens that include a small redwood grove, commercial catering kitchen, tennis court, and a free-form swimming pool with waterfall and the world famous grotto where for decades scores randy men, including untold numbers of Hollywood heavyweights, ogled and cavorted with scads of scantily clad young women. The estate, one of only a few private homes in Los Angeles to have a zoo license, includes several aviaries and exotic animal pens and is the only residence’s in all of Los Angeles to have a permanent, year-round pyrotechnics permit.
The Playboy Mansion will officially go back on the market next week with listing agents Gary Gold and Drew Fenton, all with Hilton & Hyland.
UPDATE (08-05-16): A spokesperson for Daren Metropoulos got in touch to let us know that the “purchase of the Playboy Mansion is moving forward as planned” and that “Gossip reports suggesting the deal has fallen apart are simply untrue.”
Listing photos: Hilton & Hyland