A Los Angeles city councilmember is backing out of plans to landmark the notorious Playboy Mansion, but says the sprawling Los Angeles residence will be well preserved by its new owner.
Councilmember Paul Koretz and investor Daren Metropoulos, who bought the house two years ago, announced this week that they had signed a covenant meant to permanently protect the residence from demolition. Metropoulos will also repair the facade of the Gothic-Tudor-style home, and plans to renovate its stately interiors.
In November, Koretz asked the city’s Cultural Heritage Commission to consider declaring the 91-year-old structure a city landmark, which would have subjected future alterations of the home to city review and empowered local officials to delay any efforts to demolish the property.
It’s not clear exactly how the newly signed covenant will work, but a statement from Metropoulos suggests that it will afford him a bit more leeway to tinker with the home’s design style.
“I plan to meticulously refurbish the property with the highest quality and standards in mind,” Metropoulos said, adding that he had worked with Koretz to “develop an understanding of my vision to restore the mansion while modernizing and replacing important mechanical systems in the structure.”
Built in 1927, the mansion was designed by Arthur R. Kelly, who also designed the Wilshire Country Club. It was built for Arthur Letts Jr., whose father founded the Broadway department store and later developed the community of Holmby Hills, where the home is located.
In 1971, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner moved in, beginning the home’s long association with both the magazine and its creator’s hedonistic lifestyle.
Metropoulos, who also owns the property next door, purchased the nearly 22,000-square-foot home in 2016, agreeing to let Hefner live out the rest of his life in the residence before moving in. Hefner died in September.
Despite the house’s famous ties to Playboy, Koretz seemed more concerned with its architectural pedigree when he proposed adding it to the city’s list of historic-cultural monuments last year. In a motion initiating the landmarking process, Koretz called the home “an excellent example of a Gothic-Tudor architectural style residence,” with nary a mention of its most well-known owner.
“We are pleased that Mr. Metropoulos shares our ... interest in protecting the architectural visionaries of the past,” said Koretz in a Tuesday statement. The councilmember expressed confidence that the covenant would ensure that the mansion “will permanently remain to benefit all lovers of Los Angeles history for years to come.”
Now free to begin renovating the home, Metropoulos plans to combine the estate with his other property next door, giving him a combined 7.3 acres of land to work with.