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Homes may be built near 'Hollywood' sign

February 13, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
A mountaintop property located near the Hollywood sign and once owned by Howard Hughes is up for sale. The Chicago based firm officially put the property on the market Wednesday. The investment group says that the 138 acres are being offered for $22 million.

The announcement was made late Wednesday morning at a news conference right outside of the Kodak Theater.

Fox River Financial Resources acquired the mountaintop in 2002 from the estate of Howard Hughes for $1.675 million. The tycoon bought it in 1940 with plans to build a love nest for actress Ginger Rogers.

Fox River has listed the land with Teles Properties of Beverly Hills.

The property is zoned for five luxury homes that could be built right next to the Hollywood sign. The plan to sell the land is not going over well with city officials.

Council members say that the mountainside home to the iconic sign should be untouched and undeveloped. They say that the putting homes in the area would clutter the view that the Cahuenga Peak has become so famous for.

"The Hollywood sign is one of our most important monuments. Mount Lee and Cahuenga Peak are the most important mountains in all of Los Angeles. I think it is very crazy that anyone would think that they would want to build any property on that property up there. I am going to use all of my efforts to try to fight it," said Tom LaBonge, L.A. City Council.

"At the time of the purchase it was assumed by everyone that the property was landlocked. Even so we felt that the property was significantly more valuable than what we were paying," said Keith Dickson, Fox River Company.

Access to the property, whose highest point is 1,821 feet, is via an access and utility easement that grants the property owner the right to develop a roadway across a 100-foot-wide strip of land owned by the Department of Water and Power that connects to the northerly terminus of Wonderview Drive, according to Fox River.

The eastern property line is just west of Mount Lee Drive, and the property is contiguous to public land on all sides. The Hollywood sign is southeast of the property line at an elevation of about 1,600 feet.

The city says that the property is valued at $6 million and that is what they are willing to pay. Fox River is not budging on the $22 million asking price.

Eyewitness News reporter Lisa Hernandez and CNS contributed to this report.

 

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