Last year, Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch listed for $100 million. In January, another one of California’s most famous estates went on the market for twice the price. Currently the most expensive listing in the United States, the 20,000-square-foot, Tudor-style Charing Cross Road address is expensive, even for the exclusive Holmby Hills neighborhood in Los Angeles. Like Neverland, the Playboy Mansion comes with the kind of fame that its sellers hope will yield great fortune.
In the largest real-estate transaction in Los Angeles at the time, Playboy Enterprises bought the 12-bedroom home, which dates to the 1920s, for $1.1 million in 1971. Today, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner pays rent to live in the mansion, and whoever buys the home must agree to let the 89-year-old live there as long as he likes. Aside from the Hefner clause, the home boasts a laundry list of unique amenities. Its zoo license, for one, is extremely rare in Los Angeles County. Set across five acres, the estate boasts ample entertaining space, including a catering kitchen and the backyard pool with its infamous grotto. Corporate groups regularly rent the space for private parties, and Hefner continues to entertain there with his 29-year-old wife Crystal Hefner.
Cosmopolitan reported on one interested buyer: The Orlando-based Bunny Up has expressed wishes to purchase the mansion and eventually open it to the public as a museum. According to New York Daily News, Hustler’s Larry Flynt is also preparing a deal. Time and its eventual sale price will determine whether the mansion’s true value lies in its history, its location (similar Holmby Hills lots have sold for around $60 million), or its potential for future business ventures. (Inquiries: The Agency, Mauricio Umansky, 424.230.3701; theagencyre.com. Hilton & Hyland, Gary Gold, 310.858.5411; Drew Fenton, 310.858.5474; hiltonhyland.com)