Real estate tycoon Avi Mayer buys Bob Hope estate for $26M
Deal for Toluca Lake property marks San Fernando Valley’s second highest-priced sale
Apartment real estate mogul Avi Mayer has some large shoes to fill, and plenty of new closets to put them in, at the Bob Hope estate in Toluca Lake he bought for $26 million.
Mayer bought the 5-acre estate made famous by the London-born comedian and his wife, Dolores, at 10346 Moorpark Street, Dirt.com reported. The home was first listed for $29 million.
The seller was Billionaire investor Ron Burkle, who restored the 15,000-square-foot compound – and saved it from demolition. He bought it from a Hope trust in 2018 for $15 million. Two years earlier, he paid $13 million for the Hopes’ John Lautner-designed home in Palm Springs and restored that, too.
The Mayer purchase ranks among the most expensive home buys in the San Fernando Valley, behind the sale of a 22,000-square-foot spec house in Calabasas in 2021 for $30 million.
Mayer, 35, founded Afton Properties, which owns and manages a $1.2 billion portfolio of apartment buildings across Southern California. He’d gone into business as a teenager through an unlikely friendship with billionaire investor Charlie Munger, according to Bloomberg.
Hope’s 10-bedroom, 15-bathroom home in Toluca Lake is where the comedian, actor and dancer known for his machine-gun quips, along with his singer wife, built a legacy in the southeast Valley.
Five years after Bob and Delores Hope married, they planted a stake in 1939 in Toluca Lake, then a rustic suburb for such celebrities as Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, W.C. Fields and Greta Garbo.
Over the years, the Hopes acquired more and more of the surrounding land. Today, the 5-acre property is among the largest single-home properties in Los Angeles.
The Hope house was designed in 1939 in an English traditional style by architect Richard Finkelhor, who also built homes for Barbara Stanwyck and Zeppo and Harpo Marx. Around 1960, the couple tapped architect John Elgin Woolf, father of the Hollywood Regency style, to redesign the house.
Bob Hope would drive his golf cart through the neighborhood to the Lakeside Golf Club, where he’d hold court with stars of the Toluca Lake colony. His wife Dolores would head down for daily Mass at St. Charles Borromeo Church.
Throughout the decades, their address became famous as a trick-or-treat destination on Halloween, where the couple would hand out full-size candy bars, silver dollars and even Frisbees stamped with the face of the funnyman.
Bob Hope, a real estate investor who amassed 10,000 acres in the Valley during his lifetime, died in 2003. His wife Dolores died at age 102 in 2011.
Their former estate has a main house with six bedrooms and walls of glass that looks out to the gardens. An open living area with a stone-clad fireplace leads to a formal dining room.
Highlights of the Hope House include a family room that leads into a gourmet kitchen, breakfast nook, catering kitchen, library, game room and wet bar, movie theater and gym with a steam and infrared sauna.
A winding staircase heads upstairs, where six bedrooms include a master retreat with seating area, as well as dual dressing areas and baths.
The grounds include a two-bedroom apartment above a four-car garage and staff quarters in the courtyard off the main house. Another restored building contains a tennis pavilion, commercial kitchen, security office, conference room and Hope’s personal office.
The property, surrounded by towering trees, contains a saltwater pool, outdoor barbecue kitchen and one-hole golf course designed by Hope himself.
— Dana Bartholomew
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