Buy the House of Spelling for a cool $150 mil

April 09, 2009|By KEVIN COWHERD

Attention, prospective home-buyers: looking for a killer deal with the real estate market up in flames?

Is all this recession, recession, recession talk getting you down?

For a measly $150 million, you can buy Aaron Spelling's place, a 57,000-square-foot L.A. estate called "The Manor" that has a gym, bowling alley, tasting room, gift-wrapping room, humidity-controlled silver-storage room and beauty salon.

There's also a screening room where the screen rises out of the floor like a gleaming silver altar. Shades automatically cover the windows, and paintings move aside to reveal the projector.

Naturally, there are the usual fountains, pools, tennis courts, etc.

And if you get bored with all that, you could always wander over to the nearby Playboy Mansion to see what Hef and his girls are up to.

Spelling, of course, was the big-shot TV producer responsible for hit shows like Charlie's Angels, Dynasty and Beverly Hills 90210.

He died a few years ago at 83 and left his poor widow, Candy, rattling around the big house, which is said to be the most expensive home for sale in the country.

Candy Spelling, 63, says the French chateau-style mansion is so big, she's not really sure how many rooms it has.

(Does that ever happen to you? Ever find yourself thinking: "Gee, how many bathrooms do we have? Two? Three? Someday, I really must find out ...")

She plans to downsize to a $47 million condo, which was probably the pool boy's quarters when the Spellings were living large and Candy was barking at the architect: "You! Another 30-foot ceiling over here!"

Now maybe you're thinking: "Wow, $150 mil for a house, that's a lot of dough. In this economy, that could be a tough sell."

But, of course, you'd be wrong.

"While it's still early, we do have interest from both local and international buyers, who see it as a lifetime opportunity," the listing agent, Sally Forster Jones of Coldwell Bankers Preview International, told me the other day in an e-mail. "A property of this caliber rarely comes on the market.

"Quite simply, The Manor's grand scale, luxury and privacy cannot be rivaled anywhere else."

Also, Spelling's attorney, Stephen Goldberg, told The Wall Street Journal that $150 million "is not a lot."

So you better hurry if you want to get your bid in.

By the way, Spelling has a rather unusual way of selecting real estate agents.

And when I say "rather unusual," I mean really weird.

She told the Associated Press that each time she interviewed an agent, she had her dog, Madison, a Wheaten terrier, brought into the room.

The dog would give the agent the once-over. Depending on how the dog reacted, Spelling would give the agent the thumbs-up or thumbs-down.

I wanted to ask Jones how the whole interview with Madison went, and whether she was a nervous wreck when the mutt was sniffing around and eyeballing her.

Me, I'd be churning out a pool of flop sweat the size of Lake Erie.

But when I got Jones on her cell phone, she said she couldn't talk and told me to call a PR firm for more details on The Manor's sale.

This is the beauty of life in Los Angeles: Even real estate agents have publicists.

But the good news is that Madison won't be screening potential buyers, Spelling told the AP.

Apparently, the most important thing is whether your check is good, or whether it'll bounce like a SuperBall.

So unless Madison also has a banking background and is able to run credit checks, he won't be involved in any further deliberations.

Of course, there's always a chance that Madison would be brought back for the closing.

I envision a stately boardroom, with solemn-looking men and women poring over the final contract. Suddenly, Spelling pipes up, "Sorry, folks, Madison doesn't like the way this is going down. The deal's off."

But that's a bridge potential buyers will have to cross when they come to it.

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