Last month, city leaders rushed to start vetting the Los Angeles home of late entertainer Bob Hope for possible local landmark designation, a process they initiated in an effort to freeze demolition of the legendary Toluca Lake estate.
As it turns out, that effort might have been unnecessary, as the threat of demolition was overblown.
The Hollywood Reporter says the people trying to buy the house, which was put up for sale three years ago, were just trying to tear down a few smaller buildings—not the massive main residence. (Demolition notices filed with the city show confirm that). According to THR:
Those documents, which were submitted on Aug. 16, only specify the demolition of a garage building, a pool house and a “production building.” Both [the listing agent Craig] Strong and [area representative, Councilman David] Ryu’s office confirmed that no plans to demolish the main house were ever in play.
THR says the landmarking effort “botched” the sale, and that the buyer had been preservation-minded. Strong tells THR: “The closing was just two weeks away and the city didn’t ask what was going on — they just acted.” The Hopes’ daughter Linda, who was planning to donate the proceeds from the sale to the Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation, is now paying to maintain the house as it continues to be shown to potential buyers.
Hope’s 5.16-acre spread includes two pools, gardens, a two-bedroom guesthouse, and a one-hole, three-par golf course. The Hopes moved there in 1939, and it’s been added onto and expanded many times in the years since. The approximately 15,000-square-foot main house was designed by Robert Finkelhor and updated in the 1950s by John Elgin Woolf.