Long before coronavirus became a reality, contractor Hal B. Hayes believed that chlorinated pool water would decontaminate just about anything—including nuclear fallout.
In response, he built a bomb shelter within his Hollywood Hills estate that was accessible via the pool. You had to dive in and swim through a short tunnel to reach it.
However, if you want to see whether the shelter still exists, you will need to open your wallet—wide. The home is on the market for $30 million.
Jason Oppenheim of the Oppenheim Group has the listing, along with his colleagues Mary Fitzgerald and Peter Cornell, and with Brian Stace of Pinnacle Estate Properties. Oppenheim told us that he hasn’t seen the tunnel or the shelter himself, but he believes they may still exist.
The quirky tunnel simply scratches the surface when it comes to the tall tales about this massive estate in the hills. Celebrities including Ted Field, executive producer of “Jumanji,” the actress Elizabeth Taylor, NBA All-Star Carlos Boozer, and musical genius Prince all lived here at one point.
First, we must rewind to the early 1950s. Hayes wanted to build a lavish home that would withstand a nuclear attack. For the exterior of the home, he settled on a fireproof gunite surface, intended to absorb atomic shock waves.
He added a number of other interesting features to the mansion, including the possible bomb shelter. One highlight was a car permanently installed on a ledge in the grounds, which looked as if it was driving off a cliff. It had a full bar in the trunk, so Hayes and his guests could enjoy an outdoor cocktail.
The car no longer sits perched on a hillside, and a number of other owners have passed through the gates since the mansion was finished in 1953.
In 2005, Boozer owned the place and rented it to Prince for $70,000 a month. The late musical legend reportedly gave performances in the home, which enthralled his fans.
However, Boozer was less than enthralled when he found that Prince had painted his signature symbol and purple stripes on a number of surfaces in the home. A lawsuit ensued, which was later dismissed.
Today, the estate includes the 10-bedroom, 13-bathroom, 18,410-square-foot original mansion, plus three other adjacent parcels of land. The current spread covers a whopping 2.15 acres.
The main mansion is filled with luxe features including a ballroom, wine room, and a pool with a swim-up bar and grotto.
One of the neighboring parcels included in the package also has a home sitting on it. The Tudor-style residence features 20-foot ceilings, a gourmet kitchen, bar and billiard room, as well as a pool and spa.
According to Oppenheim, the package deal offers a buyer a number of options. One popular idea is to tear down the Tudor and create another large estate on that lot and the lots behind it.
Alternatively, a buyer could build an enormous family estate with several luxury homes on the property. Oppenheim told us he has already had a Saudi family inquire about that possibility.
Using it as a rental could also be an option—several reality shows have been filmed on the premises. And depending on the zoning laws, the agent says an upscale rehab facility or a corporate retreat might be a good fit for the property.
Although he describes the interior of the main mansion as “a little tired and in need of love and attention,” Oppenheim says he doesn’t believe that the 1950s home will meet with the wrecking ball.
“It’s so grand, and has such impressive scale, it’s likely the new owner will do an extensive remodel,” he says, noting that the massive deck for entertaining that overlooks the city is unlike anything he’s seen in the area.
He also says that the private rooftop tennis court with views of the city is almost unheard of in the Hollywood Hills.
And Oppenheim knows the area. He starred in the Netflix reality series “Selling Sunset,” which documented his high-end real estate business.
As for this storied offering? “Nothing matches it,” says Oppenheim.