Though he needs a second high-maintenance, multi-million dollar compound in Los Angles about as much as a squid needs a nubby woolen sweater, word on the Los Angeles celebrity real estate street is brainy stand-up comedian, actor, producer and entrepreneurial podcaster Chris Hardwick is about to close escrow on “The Chateau,” a grandiose if faded estate in the unlikely Eagle Rock area of Los Angeles, Calif., listed at $5.595 million. Though the big deal has yet to be completed or recorded, the purchase was confirmed by Hardwick’s mother, Kobeissi Properties real estate agent Sharon Hills, who told Curbed the comedian stepped up to the real estate plate because he was concerned the 2.86-acre spread might be redeveloped or insensitively altered and, thus, “’bought this property to preserve it.’”
Should the Nerdist Industries founder and two-time Emmy winning host of the recently scuttled late night game show “@midnight with Chris Hardwick” close the deal anywhere near the not quite $5.6 million asking price, the transaction will obliterate the record for the highest recorded home sale in the still somewhat gritty but rapidly gentrifying community that was set in the fall of 2017 with the $2.115 million sale of a sleekly and expensively remodeled but otherwise unremarkable mid-century modern residence.
Prominently positioned on a high knoll, the green-roofed, vaguely Craftsman-meets-English-Tudor manor house was commissioned and built in the mid-1920s by Martin Bekins, co-founder of the Bekins Van & Storage Company, who lived there until his death in 1933. The property was subsequently sold to oil executive Willfred “Bill” Lane who owned it until 1965 when it was acquired by Slovakian immigrants Emanuel and Maria Kvassay whose family has owned the property ever since. In 2016, pop superstar Katy Perry made a failed attempt to purchase the property on behalf of the Los Angeles Archdiocese in order to provide a religious retreat for Catholic priests and, presumably, to further facilitate her then stymied but since cleared purchase of the 7.2-acre Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary convent in Los Feliz.
With four bedrooms and four full and two half bathrooms in 5,942-square-feet, the haphazardly decorated three-story main residence has been clumsily updated and remodeled over the years yet retains welcomed bits and bobs of its original period charm and architectural details such as gleaming hardwood floors, elegant crown moldings, mahogany trimmed sash windows, built-in window seats, leaded glass windows and a handful of fireplaces. An ample, step-down formal living room, which opens to a pair of sun rooms, and a dining room capable of seating a couple of dozen diners flank the foyer; the spacious, updated kitchen includes a breakfast nook with built-in banquette seating; and a sprawling lower level entertaining area encompasses a walk-in wet bar and two massive stone fireplaces. In addition to the main house, the property includes three self-contained guesthouses that combined span 2,954-square-feet and all together the compound offers nine bedrooms and eight full and four half bathrooms.
The somewhat shabbily maintained and just shy of three-acre park-like grounds include an over-sized swimming pool and spa set into a colossal concrete terrace with an over-the-rooftops city view, a fully fitted and kitted “bistro café” that opens to a tree-shaded dining terrace, a lighted croquet court with viewing pavilion, a small potting shed and a huge, wood-slatted greenhouse, several fire pits and fountains and off-street parking for more than forty cars.
Although certainly possible, it seems unlikely Hardwick and his wife, media heiress, model and budding actress Lydia Hearst, will move to “The Chateau” anytime soon as they already own an even larger, more opulent and spectacularly restored Spanish Colonial Revival-style villa with a trio of satellite offices and guesthouses in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles that they snapped up in the fall of 2015, almost a year before they were married, for a neighborhood record-setting price of $11 million.
UPDATE (01-10-18): According to a reliably trustworthy source, Hardwick sealed the deal at $5.25 million, three-quarters of a million dollars more than a limited liability company tied to Katy Perry nearly purchased the property for The Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Listing photos: Partner’s Trust