On the market in 2016 for $195 million, the legendary Beverly Hills property now known as the Hearst Estate is once again cutting its price.
It’s now available for a still stratospheric $69,950,000, which ranks it as one of the most expensive listings in the country.
Built in 1926, the 3.5-acre estate with a 29,000 square foot main house was once home to the publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst (recently portrayed in the movie “Mank”).
The property was previously known as the Beverly House, so-called because Hearst and the actress Marion Davies wanted to set it apart from Hearst Castle in San Simeon, CA.
The longtime owner, Leonard Ross, purchased the place in the 1970s. After making massive improvements to the estate in the 1990s, and living there for 40 years, he faced mounting debt on the home. Ross eventually put the property into bankruptcy and the saga of attempted sales efforts commenced.
After the initial, aspirational asking price, the mansion bounced back onto the market in 2018 for $135 million. About a year ago, the property had another $10 million slashed from the price.
No takers came forward, and in April, with new listing agents, and a new name, the residence came on the market for a significantly lower, yet still hefty price of $89.75 million. This week, the price has been cut by an additional 22%.
The agent, Anthony Marguleas of Amalfi Estates, who became involved with the listing after the bankruptcy court took ownership of the property this year, came up with the rebranding of the property, harking back to its tycoon days.
“I thought, ‘How are you going to sell one of the 10 most historically significant properties in L.A. calling it the Beverly House?’” he says. “It made no sense. It had no cachet. So we rebranded it Hearst Estate, and tied into the Hearst family, and tied in the historical significance.”
The bank also took advice from the team of listing agents and adjusted the price downward—again.
Described as “one of L.A.’s most iconic and legendary homes” in the listing, the grand mansion was built by Gordon Kaufmann, the architect of Hoover Dam, with landscape design by Paul Thiene.
According to press materials, Davies purchased the property in 1946 for Hearst, who moved there from San Simeon and lived there for the remainder of his life. He died there in 1951.
The glamorous estate later served as a honeymoon hideaway for John F. Kennedy and his wife, later to become Jacqueline Onassis.
Over the years, the estate has been rented out for events, music videos (Beyoncé’s “Black Is King” video) shindigs (Adele’s birthday bash) and film shoots (“The Godfather” trilogy and “The Bodyguard” both shot scenes there).
The mansion is in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, and the interiors are pure Old Hollywood mogul.
Ross expanded the home and added features such as a guesthouse, guardhouse, and staff quarters. A buyer is likely to want to pour in additional millions to modernize some of the infrastructure and update the interiors.
Whoever purchases the place will bag a trophy property with serious cachet.
The main house comes with nine bedrooms and 15 bathrooms, and features lavish living spaces. Parties on the property can easily host 1,000 guests.
A formal living room is set under a soaring, 22-foot, arched, and hand-painted ceiling. The space doubles as a projection screening room for movies.
The historic two-story, wood-paneled library features elaborate carvings and designs. There’s also a billiard-room with herringbone parquet floors, complete with an intricate ceiling fan, ceiling detailing, and a fireplace brought in from Hearst Castle. A family room can be converted into a screening room with a projector.
Added to the main house, the ancillary improvements include two staff or guest apartments, a poolhouse, a tennis pavilion, and a two-story, five-bedroom gatehouse. An art deco nightclub can be found on the lower level. Ross took art deco doors and a bar from a club that was closed down, and built the eye-catching waterhole.
All this is set on private grounds graced with terraces, manicured lawns, waterfalls, and an Olympic-sized pool.
“It’s just cool to see Hollywood at its heyday,” Marguleas says. “That’s the experience you have. It’s really, really special.”
Now, it’s even more specially priced. The listing’s most recent price reduction may finally grab a serious buyer’s interest.
“We’ve had three times the number of showings and requests,” since the rebranding launched, Marguleas notes. “Even though it’s been on the market for quite a long time. We had substantially more interest than the previous agents had.”
He says he expects that the significant price drop will lead to “several offers” on the property.
“If you want to own a historically significant property in L.A., we’re one of the only ones,” he says.