Friday, April 11, 2008

Developers circle site of iconic Hollywood sign

Go to Financial Times original
With its panoramic views of the Pacific ocean, downtown Los Angeles to the south and the San Fernando valley to the north, it is clear what attracted Howard Hughes to the land at Cahuenga Peak.

The reclusive aviation billionaire bought the 138 acres at the crest of the Hollywood hills in 1940 with the aim of building a house for his then girlfriend, Ginger Rogers. But he never developed the site, next to the iconic Hollywood sign, and over the next six decades the land was slowly forgotten.

Mortgage foreclosure rates are close to 2 per cent of all homes – about twice the national average – while the market downturn has also extended to wealthy areas such as Beverly Hills.

Yet despite the gloom, the proposed sale of Cahuenga Peak looks set to buck the downward trend, with several expressions of interest from buyers willing to pay the $22m asking price. The site was bought six years ago from the Hughes estate for a mere $1.6m by Fox River, a Chicago investment company.


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