The angular structure with massive viewing decks and private access to Franklin Canyon Trails is reportedly now owned by the French film director Luc Besson.
Heston, an Academy Award winner who became known in his later years as a conservative political activist, lived in the regal residence until he died at age 84 in 2008, and it remained in his family for another seven years. He had it custom-built by the modernist architect William S. Beckett shortly after “Ben-Hur” wrapped in 1959, and sometimes referred to it as “the house that ‘Ben-Hur’ built.”
In 2015, the early 1960s time capsule landed on the market for $12.3 million, changing hands in 2016 for the first time ever, for $12,212,000. At the time, it was noted as being in need of “a loving restoration.”
The renovation process began, but eventually stalled out. Current listing photos show the home partway through a renovation, with the main house mainly gutted.
According to Variety, an expansion of the property was planned, but not completed. For reasons that are not known, Besson has decided to let it go in an unfinished state.
The multistructure property of 2.97 acres is reached by a long, gated drive. Located on a private promontory, the compound features a five-bedroom main house, three-story studio/guesthouse with a screening room, two bedrooms, and an elevator.
Additionally, the grounds include a tennis court, pool, spa, and clubhouse. Plans have been approved for an expansion of the property to an estimated 14,600 square feet.
A deep-pocketed buyer could potentially pick up where Besson left off, or simply tear down the house and start over. The listing description calls out the “rare, incredible development opportunity.”
While Besson had plans to direct a massive home improvement project, he’s now busy with big-screen projects. Plans have been announced for a “Lucy 2,” and Besson is well-known for sci-fi fantasy and action thrillers, such as “The Fifth Element,” “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” and “La Femme Nikita.”
Brett Lawyer with Hilton & Hyland holds the listing.