Photo credit: brunosan
These last couple of months have been touch-and-go for the site of the iconic Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles, but now thanks to a generous donation from Hugh Hefner, the site has been saved! The Hollywood Sign sits on an area of 138 acres on Cahuenga Peak, and while the sign was protected as a landmark, the property was up for sale — a development company had slated the land for five luxury home sites that ran $40 million bucks a pop! Luckily however, people from around the world, plus some famous celebs kicked in enough dough to buy the property and preserve it forever.
Fox River Financial Resources Inc. bought the land back in 2002 at a low price from the Howard Hughes Estate (who originally wanted to build a love nest for Ginger Rogers on the site.) The development company was planning on selling the land off in parcels for multi-million dollar homes, and when the city found out about it, people were outraged. A campaign ensued to raise $12.5 million to buy the land for public use and preservation.
The State anted up $5.7 million from state and local funds earmarked for park land acquisition, while Tiffany & Co. Foundation and Aileen Getty donated $1 million each. Another $3.2 million came from Hollywood A-listers, and about $200,000 came from online donations from people around the world, partially through a strong Facebook campaign to save Cahuenga Peak. The Trust for Public Land, who was organizing the drive, was short about $1 million dollars. Hefner, who had helped save the sign back in 1978, stepped up to the plate and donated $900,000, and with the help of an additional $500,000 from Tiffany & Co and Aileen Getty, there was enough money to buy the site. Now the 138 acres will become part of the existing Griffith Park, which surrounds the Hollywood sign.
Now the site will remain in preserved for public use forever. It will remain unmarred with houses and development and be open to public use. More important, big developers were stopped from ruining a natural site. This is a big win for LA!