The city snaps into action, nominating the home for landmark status
On Friday, as the LA Times reports, Linda Hope, daughter of Hollywood legend Bob Hope, received a demolition inspection permit for the comedian’s longtime residence in Toluca Lake. The permit would begin a process that could lead to the home’s eventual teardown in spite of it’s close association with the actor and comedian.
Moving with surprising speed, Councilmember David Ryu, who reps the Toluca Lake area, introduced a motion to the city council calling for the home to be taken up for consideration as a Historic-Cultural Monument. The council unanimously approved the motion, thereby halting demolition while the home’s application for landmark status is being reviewed.
“Today’s emergency legislation gives the City an opportunity to consider the Estate’s historic designation status before it is demolished,” Ryu said in a statement. “It’s important that the City’s historic-cultural resources are celebrated and rich architecture preserved for future generations.”
Hope purchased the Toluca Lake property in 1939, when it was just a humble walnut grove. Designed by Robert Finkelhor, the sprawling manor was updated in the 1950s by John Elgin Woolf. Hope and his wife Dolores added to the home over the years, also snapping up parcels of adjoining land. Eventually, the mansion swelled to a size of 14,876-square-feet on a roomy 5.16 acres.
Linda Hope originally put the home on the market back in 2013, two years after the death of Dolores Hope. The original asking price of $27.5 million eventually came down to $23 million in 2015, after the estate failed to find a buyer. Currently, it’s listed for just $12 million.
According to the LA Times, Dolores Hope, who masterminded many of the home’s additions over the years, hoped the house would find a preservation-minded buyer and included a clause in her will preventing the property from being subdivided until five years after her death. By our calculations, that particular restriction is set to expire as soon as Monday, casting the future of the property into further uncertainty.
The Cultural Heritage Commission will take up the home’s nomination for monument status within the next 90 days. If approved, it’s still possible the home could face demolition, but the city will be able to delay the process for up to six months to allow new options for preservation to emerge.
For a look around the property, check out the slideshow below.